I understand that entering into therapy can feel like a huge thing, never mind joining a therapy group. This blog post is to highlight all the reasons you should push through the fear and join it anyway.
Here's why you should:
- It's a safe social situation - I always say to my clients, that the therapy room is a fantastic place to test all the changes that are happening in your thinking, feeling, and actions. Once you have settled in, the group will be the ideal place for you to start testing your thoughts and feelings. This may mean you check out what someone meant by what they said, instead of over-thinking and interpreting criticism. It could also be around asking for what you need, feeling held and validated whilst confronting the fantasy that you'll be laughed at.
- It's more affordable than 1:1 therapy - one of the main attractions to therapy groups is that you can more time for your money. When people are training in psychotherapy, they need to have a minimum of 4 years in therapy and so group therapy is often the path trainees choose. This group only lasts for 6 weeks, but affordability is one of the main reasons I set it up in the first place.
- Safety in numbers - quite often with social anxiety, people avoid being seen; at all costs. People with social anxiety aren't loud, don't like attention, don't like to be alone and will often withdraw. Whilst the group isn't about reinforcing those behaviours, you can take comfort in knowing that it won't all be about you - there isn't that pressure to perform solo; it's a group effort.
- My experience of social anxiety and working with anxious clients - whilst my social anxiety was predominantly experienced during performance type situations i.e. public speaking, I have worked with a lot of clients who experience social anxiety. Adult clients who have lived with it for many years, and young people who are struggling as social anxiety feels like it starting to take over.
- You want to change - you don't want to keep avoiding social situations, because you know it can feel good to be part of them. You're sick of the critical thinking and the worry that what you said or did has really offended someone.
- Fulfilment - life is too short. You know you're a good person and you know that your thoughts and fears are irrational; you want to stop using all this extra energy and invest it in places that fulfil your life.
- A new perspective - when you feel consumed by anxiety, it's so difficult to see beyond it. You can read and download all the free resources available on the internet, but unless you invest yourself in the process fully, you will never develop a new perspective that will fully serve you well.
- Self-care - this is a sticking point for a lot of clients, sometimes they push their self-care to show how they are really trying; but are you trying in the right areas? If you are stressed, a bath and chilled music will help and is considered self-care, but if you're not doing anything to address what's contributing to your stress, then you're likely to continue - it's like investing in a false economy. All bases needed to be covered. By joining the social anxiety process group you are directing your self-care, right at the source.
- Opportunities - you're missing out! Social anxiety has the power to thwart personal and professional growth. Work on your social anxiety and be prepared to take the opportunities, instead of them passing you by.
- Proactive problem solving - sometimes, anxiety is (subconsciously) used in place of action, when you are feeling helpless or overwhelmed. If a client wants to go out and meet new people, they might sit and be anxious about how to do it, about not having time to do it etc; stopping themselves from being proactive with the problem and creating a vicious circle. Joining the group would be you stepping out of that negative pattern.
You may also find this blog useful to determine if you have social anxiety
If you've got any questions about joining the group, you can get in touch with me here.