Ten more tips for getting the most out of group therapy
by Jerry Gans, M.D., CGP, FAGPA
- People are very different in the way they think about things. People are much more similar when it comes to feelings. Thus, when you talk about your feelings, other group members will more easily connect with you.
- It is natural to want to protect yourself; everybody does in one way or another. Notice the ways you want to protect yourself and, at your own pace, let the group know about them.
- You don’t have to answer questions that other members ask you if you don’t feel ready to. However, you might share with the group why you don’t feel ready to answer.
- Try not to assume what other people are thinking or feeling. Give them a chance to have their own reactions and try to be open to finding out what these reactions are.
- Think about what it is like for you to “take up space” in the group. Is it difficult for you to speak and, if so, do you have any idea why? Share such difficulties with the group.
- Take note of your first impressions of other members. First impressions are powerful but not always accurate. You can learn about yourself by noting and being curious about your first impressions of others.
- Try to suspend reacting to transactions in the group as “good or bad”, right or wrong and, instead, trying to understand what is going on in you and other members of the group.
- Don’t be reluctant to interrupt the group process when you feel that you have something to say, especially when you feel that not much work is taking place in the group.
- Notice if your preconceptions of the group match or diverge from the way the group actually is. What can you learn from such an observation?
- Remember there are no innocent bystanders in a group. If you don’t like the way things are going, you have a opportunity to make your feelings known and perhaps effect a change in the group norms and culture.