As I manage the inquiries around joining my new therapy group which starts early July, it made sense that I create a blog around them - to anticipate that there are more people out there with the same concerns...
As a follow-on to my earlier blog where I share 9 benefits of joining a therapy group, here are the concerns coming through from prospective members:
What if I know Someone in the Group?
As the therapist who facilitates and manages the group, I will do my best to make sure that the group is a safe space for every member. If there are some conflict of interests when the group is initially developed, these will be processed with the group until an agreement is reached around this. If there is availability for new members once the group is established, I will ask the prospective member permission to share their name with the group; the group will decide if they feel it is OK for the new member to join.
Will I get the time I need?
If we rephrase that question; will you take the time you need? It can be really tough to navigate the dynamics of a group, which is one of the beneficial reasons of joining because you get to do this in a safe environment with a therapist to help you process the difficulties. That being said, there is a limited amount of time each week to be shared among the group. What each member needs from their time is established at the beginning of the session when we set a 'sessional contract'. IF you're struggling to take time, we can process that together.
What if there's conflict in the group?
Conflict is possible as there will be different needs, ways of relating to people and difficulties and if the group feels safe enough to be autonomous, then these will be played out. This doesn't have to be as negative as what you may imagine; conflict doesn't have to be aggressive or cutting - it can be passionate and fruitful; I will facilitate this throughout. When you find that you start to make changes in the way you live, being the new you takes some practice and it's important that we give everyone permission to try and get it wrong along the way.
I don't feel confident talking in groups.
It's OK if you don't feel confident, it isn't a prerequisite to joining a therapy group, you can build confidence along the way. Many 1:1 clients also start by saying they're not very good talkers, but I can assure you that doesn't last long. It's natural in a group to bide your time and find your feet, trust is earned, not a given and your difficulties have been private for a long time; I don't expect you to just give them up. With a group, there are many other minds to try and second guess, it can feel exhausting but there is so much to gain from confronting that process and what it means for you. Feeling confident in groups isn't far away if you join a therapy group.
I'm put off at the thought of new members.
Once the group is established, of course a new group member will make you feel unsure all over again and it will be just as difficult for the person joining an already existing therapy group too. We can hold this awareness and explore what is happening for you at the time, what it stirs back up for you and what you need to do to reestablish stability.
What if get upset in front of people?
This may happen, depending on what aspects of yourself you bring to the group. If getting upset in front of people isn't something you do often, it may feel uncomfortable but the group is there to facilitate this. When we feel uncomfortable, it's often because we're imagining what we look like or what others are thinking of us - it's important to check this out in the group to challenge our beliefs. This group is for humans, those that think, feel and do, we'll work on you being able to give yourself permission to do just that.
If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via email or telephone.