Attending group therapy in itself is a huge step. No matter the challenges you’re facing, joining a community of non-judgmental peers can help you remain optimistic, pursue productive solutions and help others along the way. Group therapy allows you a confidential avenue to discuss thoughts and feelings among other individuals facing similar challenges. You’ll find growth, healing and even humor simply from joining together with others working toward similar goals.
Understandably, attending group therapy sessions, and working up the courage to speak during group therapy, can itself be a challenge. Especially if you know you’re going to have to share information about your life, vulnerability can be an intimidating thing.
Perhaps you’re simply new to the concept of openness. If the challenges you’re facing are relatively new ones, maybe you haven’t even had the chance to fully process what your issues mean to you, and how they affect your short and long-term outlook. Or, maybe you’re well accustomed to being open and honest with yourself and others about many things, but you prefer to keep information about your personal life more private. It’s also possible that you’re more accustomed to opening up in smaller settings – in perhaps groups of two or three individuals – but group therapy sessions are new venues for you.
No matter your familiarity and comfort level when it comes to group therapy, you never need to be afraid to open up to a group of like-minded, welcoming peers. If you need some pointers when it comes to getting a dialogue started between you and other group members, we’re here to help.
Write down your thoughts and feelings before you arrive
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when you know that you’re going to have to share what you’re thinking, or what you’ve experienced across the course of the past week or month. That’s why we always recommend documenting your responses before you attend your group therapy sessions, at least until you get more comfortable developing responses without taking notes.
Even if you’re only jotting down bullet points to bring into group therapy with you, your written notes can yield huge dividends in terms of confidence when it comes your time to speak. Similarly, don’t be afraid to take notes during the group therapy session itself. As long as you understand that notes aren’t to be shared with anyone outside of the group itself, you can always write down and revise speaking points while you’re sitting in group therapy.
Acknowledge your nerves
Odds are, you’re not the only individual attending group therapy who is at all nervous to speak. There are likely other members also in attendance who could feel apprehensive about speaking to their inner thoughts and emotions. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge everything you’re feeling, either at the beginning of the group therapy session or when it comes time for you to speak. Not only will this set your mind at ease, especially when other members of the group agree with you; it will also help you retain control of your emotions. Your nervousness will have less power over you, once you take the time to identify it and put it in its place.
Speak from experience
If you’re having trouble opening up during your group therapy session, try simply speaking from experience. Speak to your struggles over the past week, two weeks or month. Identify little things that have given you hope, and take time to outline triggers that have made the days more difficult. Not only will you be more confident when speaking about events that you experienced; it will likely also be easier for other attendees at group therapy to relate to everything you’re saying, since they share many of the same challenges you’re facing.
Better yet, other group therapy members with shared experiences likely have their own tips for how to deal with some of the same issues you face. In this way, group therapy quickly becomes a collaborative effort, where members together help each other install positive change as you collectively pursue growth, recovery and freedom.
Group therapy for mental and behavioral health
Group therapy is one of the most beneficial treatment modalities available for individuals facing mental and behavioral health challenges. Especially today, in an unprecedented pandemic era where it’s easy to feel isolated and alone, group therapy helps us continue to feel connected and valued. Even though many group therapy sessions are now gathering virtually across secure teletherapy calls, many of the benefits are nevertheless the same.
Participation in group therapy starts with a single decision: I want to get better. If you’re open to improving your quality of life, to getting the help you need, to restoring self-confidence and peace of mind, Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare can help. Call (678) 274-4936 today, for Atlanta-based mental and behavioral healthcare that can help you manage mood and anxiety disorders through licensed counseling.