19 Mar Group Therapy
This blog entry was written by our guest blogger, Dafi Shlanger, MA. Dafi Shlanger, MA, is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (IMF54831), supervised in Culver City by licensed therapist Doric George MA, MFT #MFC 38343. She is the author of, “Brain Surgeons Don’t Do Facelifts”. For more information, please visit www.DafiShlanger.com.
Please note that the opinions presented in the article are that of the author and not necessarily the opinions of RHN. RHN chooses to publish articles and share individual sites to evoke discussion and show all options, ideas and beliefs.
I was first introduced to group therapy some years back as a graduate psychology student. I remember stepping into my group meeting room with doubts and concerns. I was worried about what would be said, who will say what, how I’d be effected, and how I would benefit. In short, I worried about stepping into something unfamiliar, something out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.
Stepping into the unknown can be a scary experience for many of us. In many ways, groups reflect life; being in situations with people we don’t know and finding out new things about ourselves. Many of us have the tendency, the wish, and the need to know what tomorrow will bring for us. It comes out of our need to be in control because of our underlying fear.
It might not be easy to join a group, but I learned that being in a group can be very powerful. A group can give us the opportunity to practice many life skills in a supportive environment; developing effective communication by learning to express what we think and feel in a clear way. Trust in the ‘self’ increases as we practice those skills successfully. The group provides plenty of opportunities (just like life) to confront the things we are not very comfortable approaching. It challenges us, and once we overcome that challenge, we achieve emotional growth. Being in a group also teaches us that we are not alone, what happens to us might happen to others and vice versa. We get inspired from other people’s experiences and, we might be surprised to realize our own capacity to inspire others with our struggles and experiences. The group’s members reveal themselves through the process of discovery (again just like life), where they are able to express themselves in an environment of acceptance.
My interaction within the group experience had a very a positive impact on my life. I found meaningful friendships, a way to relate and connect to others, and a greater understanding of who I am; appreciating myself for what I am instead of what I am not.
Presently, I am a practicing psychotherapist, with many years of experience. Having been so thoroughly inspired by my group work, I decided to form a new group with a focus on women (and men); where they can be motivated, be supported, and get empowered in their relationships with themselves and others!