“Without community, there is no liberation.”
Group therapy seems to me to be an underused therapeutic resource. The power of groups to bring positive change and significant influence in people’s personal journeys is well known - and yet - not utilised much outside of drug and alcohol services.
It can be incredibly daunting to be in a room of strangers, meeting for the purpose of being open and curious in a shared exploration of what it means to be you, to be me, to be us, in this moment of togetherness. This immediately plunges most of us outside of our comfort zone. It shakes us up - and in this shaking, unhelpful sedimented patterns of behaviour or thought can rise to the surface to be examined, understood and maybe let go of.
I recall starting a year-long weekly therapy group in my 30’s. I was feeling pretty secure that I had done so many years of personal development work that really there was not much more I could learn about myself or needed to change. Was I wrong!
The way in which people interact in a therapeutic group setting provides all one requires for highlighting personal blind spots, relational insecurities and resistance to being emotionally available or vulnerable in front of others. It brings up our unexamined biases and assumptions, it plunges us into being in community in a truly powerful way. A group can support and honour us and it can misunderstand and dismiss us. It is a well-known cliché that we do our growing outside of our comfort zones and certainly group therapy can really take us there.
The beauty for me of group therapy is how it offers both comfort and discomfort, deep connections to others and experiences of disconnection that we weren’t expecting. All of this rich process is there to be engaged with. With the added magic of having eight other people being your personal therapist, ally, coach, thorn in your side. It can be a revelation if you take the courage to dive into that pool of relatedness.
I am currently running two groups. One is a GSRD group for people who have diverse gender and sexual identities and/or relationship styles. The other group is for therapists, both body and psychotherapists. Read on if you are interested.