When I first got out of graduate school I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work at an agency in Miami called The Journey Institute (originally Project Resolve). I co-facilitated groups for survivors of sexual abuse. A very heavy and difficult issue for group members to have the courage to face and as a new therapist very scary for me too. The reason I feel so fortunate to have been a part of that agency not only had to do with the very courageous and amazing women who were members of the group. I learned so much from each of them. I always wondered if I had lived though those experiences if I could have been as insightful and openhearted. I also learned more than I ever learned in graduate school co-facilitating a group with very experienced and wonderful therapists. I came to see that group therapy is not only helpful for those of us who have gone through difficult things that we feel alone in, but is also helpful for most of us who struggle with that thing called life. Something which will always have periods of being difficult at times at times may leave us feeling very much alone.
Group is powerful because a well run group that has been together for awhile can accomplish what individual therapy simply can't. If you've ever been to individual therapy you know the drill. You tell your therapist what your week has been like, whatever it is you're struggling with and they provide a safe environment where you explore it. This of course is helpful in many ways but the one draw back is that you rely on your own perception of things. And your therapist is not a peer. It is a one-way relationship where you tell them what's going on in your life and it stops there. In group you have the insight of all the members. How you come across to them, how you interact with them, etc. There is also a camaraderie. You are in it together, trying to figure it all out, whatever it is you are struggling with. And you have others who are further along in some things which gives you hope. You may also be further along than others and can feel good about how far you've come and about being that beacon of hope for them. Good co-facilitators keep the group safe and help guide the process of group in a positive way so you can get what you need out of it.
I'm very excited to announce that along with my colleague, Dr. Michael Schenker, we will be forming an ongoing psychotherapy group in our offices in Pembroke Pines. I will be posting more about how this kind of group works. If you have any questions don't hesitate to call the office or send me an email.