Matt: A few years ago, we had a collective conversation about the benefits of working in a group therapy practice itself. Recently, I’ve continued to think about our group practice formulation and want to revisit the topic from a slightly different angle. What do you think are the benefits to our patients about the way our group practice is run? What is in our special group practice sauce?
Heather: Working in a group practice feels like a parallel process to the work we do with patients. A “practice what we preach,” of sorts. We believe, as a practice, that healing and growth is a relational process, one that is supported by our patients’ proximity to good, healthy people. Similarly, as therapists, we can’t reach our full growth in isolation. We need it to be a social, collective group experience, in which we can be supported and challenged by others.
Rachael: As people, we do not live in isolation, and I think it’s best we don’t. A group practice shows our patients that we work, create and collaborate in a community. Like Heather said, we practice what we preach. I like that we have continual conversations in our practice about how we can grow and work collectively as therapists. I don’t think of the “I”, but the “we” when working in our practice. Sometimes, even when I talk with prospective patients or people I know outside our therapy office, I find myself speaking in terms of “we,” the practice, rather than I, the therapist, which I really like.
Nora: I’ve really appreciated a few moments when patients have come to me for help with something difficult, delicate or tricky, and I’ve been able to say that I want to think more about it and consult with my colleagues before I give an answer. I think this has made patients feel really cared for, and that we all, as a collective, can use the greater sum of our skills to help. I know the group makes me a better therapist, and I like letting patients in on that when I can.
Kelly: I’ve been thinking about how we show love. What does it mean to respect someone? I think in therapy we are loving to our patients by being alongside them, but also by telling the truth. This feels especially relevant in couples work. Similarly, we show commitment and respect to each other as therapists by encouraging and challenging, along with an eagerness to be present in each other’s practices.
I’m also thinking about anxiety, and how that is mitigated by transparency and trust. The less anxious, and more confident and secure we are with each other and ourselves, the more we are able to show up for our patients.
Karen: I like thinking about what Kelly said. How do we show up for our patients? How do we show our care? Being a part of a group practice is a big part of that for me. I learn different ways of caring by seeing how other folks are doing and thinking about this. The group also gives me valuable feedback to see how my patients may be experiencing me.
I also think being part of a group practice allows me to care about something bigger than myself. This feels important to my work as a therapist. It serves as a model of a developing relationship, and this is so connected to the relationship that develops in the therapy room.