Group therapy is a wonderful “lab” for learning to relate. Group therapy is a powerful way to get helpful feedback in a safe environment.
Forget whatever you’ve heard about group therapy and people shouting each other down. Not in the groups I run! I create a safe, warm, supportive environment where you learn to let down your guard and be direct.
Group Therapy: A Powerful Addition to Individual Therapy
Group therapy is a powerful addition to individual therapy, because you get to see how you relate to others and how others relate to you in a way that doesn’t exist in everyday life. I get to see you in action and learn if your perceptions about how you handle yourself with other people are accurate. All of this is very helpful in moving your treatment along. It’s a low-cost way to increase the effectiveness of your treatment.
You also learn that your struggles and joys aren’t unique, and it’s great to know other people who are engaged in a growth process. While you’re not going to have the same life situations as your fellow group members, you see that you have similar reactions and develop empathy for each other and for yourself along the way. Group therapy enriches your overall treatment and growth experience, because you learn to be vulnerable and direct, which are two important qualities in a relationship.
Group Therapy NYC: What’s on Your Mind?
I don’t run groups dedicated to particular issues—a group for people with anxiety, a group for people with eating disorders, for instance. The groups are made up of people with all kinds of issues. People talk about what’s on their minds and a theme generally emerges in an organic way. A theme that emerged in one group session was that people’s words and actions don’t always match. This is what I call sentiment versus orientation. Sentiment is what you say: “I want to spend more time connecting with my spouse.” Orientation is what you do: You stay on your Crackberry during your dates. Group members looked at whether they’re living what they say or just mouthing the words. It was very powerful and lively.
Group therapy is an additional option for people in individual psychotherapy or counseling treatment with me.
Diane Spear, LCSW-R, owns a private practice in the Union Square/East Village area of Manhattan (New York City). She specializes in anxiety, depression, couples, and parenting treatment, and has been helping people find the joy in everyday life since 1995. She is accepting new patients. To learn more about Diane, click here.