Support for trauma, relational wounds & loss
How Group Therapy Helps
What Group Therapy is Not
Let’s start with what group therapy is not. Group therapy is not a bunch of people, in a room, all up in your business.
It is not public speaking.
It is not unstructured chatting.
How Group Therapy Differs From Psychology Class
Discussion is facilitated by an experienced and licensed psychotherapist. One of the goals of group therapy is to help process and facilitate resolution of the very issues people work on in individual sessions.
Group therapy isn’t an alternative to individual therapy. It works well in conjunction with individual therapy.
With several years and specialized training in conducting groups, I can tell you that group therapy accelerates and enhances healing.
Key to successful group therapy is having facilitation by a trained professional who can hold space for group and individual healing with gentle guidance that can balance allowing authenticity and connection to flow in a way that is purposeful and relevant. Too much structure kills organic healing. Too little risks monopolization and meandering. It’s an art and a science. You need to do more than throw like minded people together with a list of enticing topics. You have to connect with deliberation and fluidity. You need to read cues, understand how symptoms manifest and be aware of meaning that lies in the subliminal.
Specific Benefits of Group Therapy
Group therapy helps normalize your issues and concerns and provides a frame of reference for what you are experiencing.
Growth and learning are facilitated as you identify similar issues in others, provide support, and also practice receiving.
There’s less feeling of judgment among peers which helps facilitate this process. Ever notice how it’s easier to spot your issues in others before you find them in yourself?
The give and take is an invaluable opportunity in terms of practice and growth in deeper understanding.
Humans learn better in relationships. It’s how we are wired to learn. Group therapy allows the opportunity for us to rewire according to this natural tendency. It also enhances the socialization and communication skills that are a part of many of the concerns that prompt people to seek treatment. You can thrive from the exposure to multiple points of view.
Why Group Work, Works
We heal in Relationships
When two or more regulated bodies attune to each other, they create a space that nurtures well-being and facilitates healing of trauma. And therein lies almost every reason people seek treatment. They want to communicate and connect with others. They don’t want to feel alone. They wish to trust, be seen and heard. They wish to be trusted. When we operate on this level, we not only feel better, but relational health becomes a part of our spiritual and physical environment where we live and where we connect with families, children, partners, colleagues and community. A well regulated and attuned soul radiates relational health that others receive.
So do you think group is all about talking? Do you fear it because you liken it to public speaking? So much happens in group that is not about speaking:
- Self-regulation (We synchronize)
- Eye contact
- Curiosity and understanding
Co-regulation is attunement on a level between people that involves an organic coordination of feelings, thoughts and intentions. Did you ever talk to someone and feel that deep connection where they “get” you and you can feel that energy flow back to you? When we are in this state, we are in a healing space. It’s what happens as we absorb and exchange emotional experience in the presence of support from another. It’s what happens when a child is in the grips of a meltdown but downregulates in the arms of a calm and responsive caregiver.
The co-regulation that occurs in the group setting helps facilitate your path back to secure attachment.
So you need a group?
Types of Groups
Two ongoing groups that are of interest to most clients are our Trauma Recovery Group and Co-Dependency Group.
Both groups are similar in that they help build body-centered skills based on neuroscience and somatic healing methods.
This includes psychoeducation, brainspotting, mindfulness practices and DBT skills to target self-regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness.
The group facilitator assists participants in processing trauma and encourages consistent practice of self-regulation skills out of session using daily scheduling for accountability to foster connection and centering to enable cognitive work and reduce symptoms.
Each group differs in its focus.
Codependency/Building Secure Attachment Group
A small group of about 3-5 individuals meet two Tuesdays on and one off starting at 12:00 pm.
Ready for Group?
Nuts & Bolts
Some FAQ about group:
- There’s no set curriculum because I prefer group always be relevant to the participants’ experiences, statement of mind, preferences and treatment plan goals.
- We process quite a bit, so it’s not an educational/lecture type of thing. It’s embodied and experiential.
- The over arching agenda is to facilitate long lasting changes in thinking, feeling and reactions.
- You need to have an initial individual assessment to assess your fit for group and develop and individualized treatment plan, among other things.
- The number, pacing and duration of individual sessions that accompany group therapy varies according to clinical need and preference.
- If you are already having individual sessions with another therapist, sessions can be paced accordingly and set in duration so that they are limited to your group work.
- Group therapy does require having some individual sessions so that there’s some continuity, accountability (for client and therapist) and growth.
- Groups tend to be relatively small so work gets done. The average has been about 5 -8 members. We want participants to be active and not passively observing.
- Groups are relatively closed meaning that we are not having different people in and out each week. That doesn’t tend to create the vulnerability/trust for individuals to get momentum to tackle their “stuff.”
- The preference is that people attend each session weekly, let’s say, 85% of the time. Life happens.
- There’s wiggle room for modifications to suit the people in the group. So, sometimes it’s six weeks in a row and other times only four. Then there’s a break. Currently we are meeting in some groups every other week.
- Group runs for 90 minutes. You can check the rates for group therapy here.