Um… me? In a group?
Well, yes. But before you run away, let me make my pitch: group therapy is incredibly helpful. In fact, pretty close to 100% of the time, even the reluctant group therapy patients find it more helpful than their individual therapy.
But you’ve got some concerns:
If I call for therapy, will I go right into group therapy with you?
No. We’ll work together one-on-one for a while. Chances are you’re struggling with some things that require immediate focused attention. We’ll get to work helping you with that, and build our relationship along the way so that if we decide together that group therapy is for you, we’ll be able to make use of that relationship to help you thrive in a therapy group.
Won’t I get less attention in group therapy?
Sort of. You’ll get more of a different kind of attention—attention that’s not just about you. And that’s exactly what you need.
Individual therapy is about you, and only you. That’s as it should be, and it’s helpful—up to a point. But you’re not just an individual, you’re also a part of any number of groups: relationships, families, schools, jobs, clubs, teams. You live a great deal of your life as a member of all sorts of different groups. So it follows that getting better at living involves getting better at being in and building groups. And where’s the best place to do that?
OK, but will everyone in the group be like me?
Because everyone in life isn’t just like you. Conventional wisdom says that people with similar struggles or from a similar background should be placed in a group together. When we’re different, group is more challenging. But it’s exactly this difference that helps us grow. There’s more to learn from building with people who are different from you.