Traveling to a foreign land
Think about being at an airport in a foreign country, this is your first visit, and you do not speak the language. All around you people seem to be walking with purpose, knowing where they are going and how to get around.
You look around feeling isolated and unable to get any clear direction of how to find the transit to your destination.
But then someone comes up to you, they see the confusion and uncertainty on your face… they speak your language and ask, “May I help?”
Group therapy is like this.
At first, the group feels daunting and as though you are navigating through a foreign land. But then a group member breaks silence after the group facilitator asks what brought you here. The member starts to talk about their feeling unappreciated in life, that their wife seems to be distant and not care… and suddenly it seems like they are speaking your language. By listening to other people and how they describe their situation, you learn how to describe your own.
The power of groups
Groups are an amazing and powerful force for a small group of people to develop a unique trust over similar issues. Members realize that things they thought just happened to them are, in fact, happening to others in the group. This is incredibly cathartic because suddenly the isolation becomes a sense of community.
Everyone is as unique as the next, no two people’s experience is exactly alike. Within the group, this diversity provides an ability for members to share understanding but also different perspectives. Each member can contribute on how to better deal with situations.
Why can’t I just talk to my group of friends?
The difference is the nature of the group. The group allows the same confidentiality and trust as is found in a therapy session – but is rarely found in the non-therapeutic world. Going to the group helps put life into perspective. The people in the group are supportive. It feels liberating to be frank about the depth and duration of the pain. Often group members are grateful to have a place to speak like this rather than burdening friends with it.
For example, if you are feeling trapped in a depressive bubble, all you think about is how lonely and isolated you feel from the rest of the world – yet with a group you know there are people out there, dealing with similar experiences, there is something special about being in a room of people who know what it’s like and can talk freely about it.
It’s the group process
A lot of issues, such as feeling unappreciated, share common grounds. Since each group member views problems from a different perspective, it provides an opportunity to look at your own issues more objectively.
Talking about problems isn’t just getting things off your chest. It’s also being able to see what it means to you and how you react to them. This leads you to learn how to change behavior and manage feelings. The group allows a trusted space to speak your inner thoughts without fear of rejection. You learn how to form more healthy relationships, listening to understand and to join the conversation. This translates well to real-life situations.
There are several groups offered at various times during the year. These groups include:
- Divorced Men Group
- Being a Husband Group
- Men’s Depression Group
- Moving from the Nice Guy Syndrome
- Fatherhood Group
- Men’s Anger
All these groups are therapeutic in nature. They include elements of psychoeducation, support, but, most importantly, the ability to change lives for the better.
The purpose of all of them are to help individuals better understand themselves through relationships with others. It allows each member to make more informed, healthy, and adaptive choices. It is almost like a social laboratory to take risks and experience how you affect others and how they affect you.
We are in groups every day between our work, our families, and communities. Groups have a powerful influence over who we are and our identity. In any of these environments, we want certain needs we have met. It can be attention, intimacy, connection, respect, friendship or love.
Commonly, our needs go unmet because we didn’t learn how to ask for what we want to ensure healthy relationships. The groups identify why relationships feel unfulfilled in a trusting environment while also learning the tools to build healthy relationships while meeting your own needs.
Join a group and feel less alone, more connected, and more able to accept yourself. Feeling connected provides relief to many members.