Group Therapy
Written by Michael LeFevre
Sunday, 15 May 2011 06:20

We have all been in groups since the moment we were born.  The very first group - our family of origin - taught us about how to live in this world: how to get our needs met, how to tell right from wrong, how to deal with stress and emotions, and how to handle conflict.  Some of these lessons work for us as adults, but many of them no longer serve us and need to be replaced with new lessons and new ways of being.

Individual Therapy, CounselingThe best way to learn new ways of engaging with the world is simply by interacting with people.  Group provides a confidential, structured, and safe place to do that.

As a member of a group, you will be asked to put your thoughts and feelings into words whenever possible. Sometimes, this means taking risks: offering genuine feedback to someone even though it may not seem "polite," being open to feedback from other group members about how your words affect them, or perhaps being willing to tap into emotions that you don't normally access in your everyday life.

The goal of these activities is to become more aware of yourself and how you react and respond to various people and situations.  As you become more comfortable with yourself inside the group, you will find that you can start to bring these new ways of interacting into your everyday life.

What you can expect in a group therapy session

Groups at HeartMind Counseling have between three and eight members, and last for 90 minutes.  There are certain rules and guidelines in a group session, such as maintaining confidentiality of what is said in the group, but there is no formal structure to the discussion, and members are encouraged to speak whatever thoughts or feelings come up during the group session.

While group members often talk about what is going on in their lives or relate stories from their past, you will also be encouraged to speak in the here-and-now: "What reactions or thoughts do you have when someone else is speaking?"  "How are you feeling in your body when you talk about the relationship with your partner?" These are typical questions that I, as the group leader, might pose to help bring the conversation into the room where everyone can react and participate.

Individual Therapy, CounselingBenefits you can get from group therapy

First and foremost, group teaches you about yourself.  You will learn things about yourself, such as: What do I do when I feel angry, or sad?  Do I tend to be quiet in a group setting, or do I like to drive the conversation?  When conflict arises, is it exciting?  Scary? Somewhere in between? All of these questions, and more, will help you get to know yourself better, and eventually change the things that no longer serve you.

You will discover that you are not alone. By bringing your own set of reactions and witnessing other members’ processes, you will realize that other people are often dealing with similar issues, and may have unique or creative ideas for how to deal with them. Ultimately, group can help you feel not as alone in the world once you see how much you have in common with other people.

You will get feedback.  Group will teach you about how other people perceive you, and whether that perception matches up with your perception of yourself.

You can experiment with new ways of relating to the world. Most of us rely on only a few ways of forming relationships and dealing with conflict.  Group is like a laboratory where you can discover your habitual patterns of expression and communication, and then try out new ways of relating to people.

Types of groups offered by HeartMind Counseling

Mixed Gender Process Group. This group is a place for both men and women to process various circumstances and challenges in their lives.  The group is not segmented by gender or life circumstance, and for many people it provides “real world” experience of interacting and being in relationship with people of different genders, classes, and ages. It is an ongoing group, and members make a minimum six-month commitment.

Men's Process Group.  In our society, men and boys are not often taught how to process difficult emotions, especially in front of other men and boys.  This group is for men who would like to learn how to interact with other men in a genuine and caring way, and to discover what it really means to be a man in today's society. This group is ongoing, and members make a six-month commitment.

Inspired Fatherhood group.  A weekly group for men to connect around the reality of being a dad. Fatherhood isn’t easy, and as men we are often taught to suck it up and keep it all inside. But that isn’t the only way. Come join a group of dads who want to do it differently – who want to engage with other men in a more conscious and intentional way.

If you have questions or are interested in joining one of these groups, please Contact Michael for more information.  Please note that prior to joining a most groups, you will need to schedule a free 30-minute session where I can learn about your reasons for joining the group, explain the group contract, and answer any questions you may have prior to joining.  See the Rates and Insurance page for information about this session.