In group therapy, you will be joined by a small number of individuals (usually 6-8) and one or more experienced group leaders. In group therapy, you will find that the process of listening to others, giving and receiving feedback, and sharing your story and support can be healing and helpful. You will see yourself through others’ eyes in a safe and moderated environment and your experience can help you feel less alone. Your group therapist will be there to guide you and help you apply the growth and learning of group therapy to make satisfying choices in your day-to-day life.
The idea of group therapy can be intimidating or scary, but once someone feels safe in that environment, it becomes an unparalleled opportunity to observe and learn about yourself in interactions with others. How many times have we wondered what people really think of us? How many times have we assumed how other people perceive us? Group therapy is a moderated, safe, and constructive place to learn things about yourself and break through old patterns of thinking and interacting, so you can change the way you relate to the world.
Group therapy helps people learn about themselves and improve their interpersonal relationships. It addresses feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety and helps people make significant changes to enhance the quality of their lives. Group therapy can be a tool to better understand conflicts in your life. Even more, it will help you to see better ways of moving beyond those conflicts in your interactions with others.
Our approach to group psychotherapy utilizes the interpersonal model which assumes that each person develops his or her individual personality through interactions with others. We draw upon various psychodynamic theories to understand personality development, and seek to help clients identify roles and patterns first learned in their families of origin and early peer groups, and later replayed in their lives more or less consciously.
These roles will naturally recur in the therapy group and you will have an opportunity in the group to learn more about them and to experiment with new ones. Each participant in the group has committed to offer honest, responsible feedback and use others’ feedback to uncover old, ineffective ways of relating. This process is also a way to learn to appreciate your strengths and resilience.
In other words, the group’s purpose is to help you know yourself better and to help group members know themselves better. As such, the group becomes a “laboratory” – a chance to learn more about your patterns of relating: how you get close to others and how you push others away, what triggers your feelings, and how you get stuck.
At the Center for Personal Development, we offer ongoing group therapy in Chicago. Please call us to find out what groups are currently running. If we do not offer the type of group therapy you're looking for, we'll help you find a group therapy experience in Chicago that will meet your needs.
We would love to provide you with more information and answer any questions you may have.
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Many people have questions about the expectations of joining a group. Here are some helpful answers.
Q: Will I be forced to talk about uncomfortable things?
A: While talking openly is a beneficial outcome of group therapy, it is a gradual process, and never forced. You don't have to share anything you don't choose.
Q: Will I get enough benefit if I have to share my therapy with others?
A: Group members often report getting as much time as they need, and also find benefit in what others share.
Q: What if I am never comfortable sharing in front of others?
A: This is often one of the indicators that a group can be very helpful. Group is an opportunity to safely face these obstacles.
Q: Will other group members be judgemental? What if people don't like me?
A: The group therapist(s) will always be there to ensure a safe and supported environment. Although some conflict can arise, it is always in the purpose of learning and safely developing relationship skills.