WHY WOULD I EVER JOIN A GROUP?
At Hamsa Healing Space, we offer a multitude of groups for a wide range of needs. We specialize in several areas that often require adjunct tools, such as group sessions.
“I’m better with one-on-one interactions; I’m really private and have a hard time opening up to others.” This is the most common response I receive from clients when asked to consider joining a group. Most of us prefer individual interactions because we assume that group settings will not allow for the same moments of clarity as achieved in individual appointments. This is inaccurate and further exacerbates the misinformation regarding group experiences.
Group experiences provide us an opportunity to hear our identical thoughts echoed back to us by others who struggle with similar challenges and painful life experiences. In groups, is the power of belonging, acknowledgment, validation, and removal of stigma. Suddenly, our distorted perceptions that we’ve lived by for decades, are challenged.
Groups contain an interesting dynamic that individual sessions cannot provide; the undertone of ‘sides’. It’s the facilitator speaking with the attendees. Each ‘side’ comes to the group with a different need and perspective. Both sides have the same goal; to confront the pain that has led them to consider attending group therapy. Group experiences are often encouraged as an addendum to individual therapy or hold the place of a grounding anchor for those who have completed intensive therapy and are ready to transition to a safe landing with another provider in the form of a group space.
Groups offer a unique experience to participants by learning the following skills:
-self regulation (emotional and impulse)
-distress tolerance (learning to sit with and embrace emotional discomfort)
-receive different perspectives while examining internal projections
-develop insight into internalized negative distortions
-develop the ability to provide internal validation (as opposed to seeking external approval)
Joining a group often requires individuals to practice a layer of vulnerability that cannot be reached in individual therapy. Group sessions allow individuals to examine themselves and take inventory of their interpersonal needs while working with others to challenge fears and unhelpful projected beliefs.
Some options to consider prior to joining group sessions:
1) Work with your individual Therapist to develop healthy coping mechanisms in between appointments
2) Develop awareness of triggers and warning signs.
3) Establish and maintain a healthy support system.
4) Read books on the group topic prior to joining.
5) Complete exercises out of workbooks on the group topic prior to joining.
6) Notify individuals in your support system of your plan to join support group.
7) Create support plan with your individual provider.
8) Notify group facilitator of your status (length of time) in individual therapy.
9) NORMALIZE discomfort, fear, and uncertainty surrounding joining a group!
********Of course you are nervous! This is COMPLETELY NORMAL and TO BE EXPECTED!! You are challenging yourself to an opportunity to evolve, grow, develop healthy tools, and express your feelings with others that have shared experiences with you.. I always say to every client: IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, YOU SOUND HUMAN!