Group psychotherapy can help you in many different and important ways:
Helping you learn to become more at ease around others (social anxiety).
Enjoying more the relationships with people in your life.
Increasing your social skills-like talking to new people and expressing yourself more comfortably.
Learning to feel close in relationships and not be overly concerned with what others think of you.
Developing greater self-esteem through positive feedback and support
Are You Seeking Support As You Work Through Relationship Issues And Rebuild Self-Esteem?
Do you have a hard time connecting with your partner, family, friends or coworkers? Have difficulties building a social network or failed romantic relationships left you feeling isolated and unsure about how to interact with potential friends and partners? Are you constantly on edge during conversations or anxious about upcoming social events? Maybe you have difficulty relaxing around other people, worried that you will be judged or criticized. Or perhaps you’re struggling with conflict and ineffective communication in a current relationship and can’t figure out how to reconnect with your partner. You may have trouble being assertive about your needs or try too hard to please the person you are with. Do you wish you could increase confidence in yourself and feel closer and more comfortable with the people in your life?
Struggling with relationship issues, social anxiety and low self-esteem or self-confidence can leave you feeling alone in the world. Try as you may to connect with others and meet new people, relationships of all kinds may be difficult for you. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Almost everyone experiences difficulties in relationships at some point in their lives. Thankfully, there is help. The support and insight you can receive – and give – from others in group therapy can help you learn how to make meaningful connections and feel more confident and self-assured in your relationships.
The Difference Between Individual And Group Therapy
Individual therapy offers a one-on-one setting where you can work to understand psychological issues and change unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Participating in group therapy, on the other hand, is about being willing to look at and understand how you are in relationships. As relationship patterns emerge during sessions, the group process helps you understand your behavior and how you can make positive changes in your everyday relationships. With the caring support and feedback of peers, you can develop new relationships skills and foster stronger, healthier connections.
Group therapy can help you with the following personal and relationship goals:
- Exploring life issues
- Building relationships with people in your life
- Improving social skills and overcoming social anxiety
- Learning to feel close in relationships
- Developing greater self-esteem through positive feedback and support
Combining group and individual therapy gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself in relationships through group therapy and look at this more thoroughly on a one on one level with an individual therapist. Many clients choose to participate in individual counseling as well as group sessions, but it is not a requirement for joining a group. Some clients prefer to have group therapy alone and some clients view group therapy as the “application phase” of psychotherapy because group therapy offers the opportunity to practice new ways of relating to others learned in individual therapy.
With or without individual therapy, joining one of my therapy groups can help you increase self-esteem and develop healthier relationships in ways that one-on-one counseling cannot do alone. You have other group members who are dealing with the same challenges you are, and they can help you identify patterns of thought or behavior that are impacting how you see yourself in relationships. By applying what you learn in group therapy, you can learn healthier patterns of relating to others, build your self-esteem and feel more comfortable in relationships of all types.
Group Therapy Can Help You Feel Confident and Connect With Others
“Proper use of the here-and-now during therapy creates a safe laboratory, a comfortable arena in which patients can take risks, reveal their darkest and brightest selves, hear and accept feedback, and—most important of all—experiment with personal change.”
Irvin D. Yalom, Staring at the Sun
Group therapy is one of the very few places where you can find out who you are in a relationship and have the opportunity to connect with other people in a totally safe environment. And, often the support and feedback you receive from peers may be easier to accept or feel more actionable than guidance from a therapist. You can see more clearly how you relate to and interact with others and begin building relationship skills that you can apply outside of sessions.
During group sessions, we will work collaboratively to identify and address the personal and/or relationship challenges that you are dealing with. By analyzing your relationship patterns within the group, you can see – perhaps for the first time – how you think and behave with people in your daily life. Using the guidance and feedback you receive from other members, you can develop an increased self-awareness. You can use new insights to reframe the way you interact with and show vulnerability to others. Group sessions are a supportive space where you can recognize and practice the skills you need to work through social anxiety, be closer to other people and feel happy and safe in your relationships.
Safety, acceptance and compassionate feedback are at the heart of group therapy. Group members care about each other deeply, and the support you receive can help you feel more confident and trusting as you seek out new friendships or romantic relationships. Group sessions are held weekly at my Mountain View office, and I do ask for an initial three month commitment to ensure you and the other group members receive the healing and support you need.
As a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) and a clinical psychologist (PhD), I have facilitated therapy groups for 25 years and trained other group therapists for over 16 years. I facilitate two psychotherapy groups, direct a non-profit corporation that provides group therapist training, and I have presented and written about group psychotherapy for two decades. In my extensive experience, I have seen just how effective therapy groups can be in helping individuals increase self-esteem, become less socially anxious and improve relationships. With the right guidance and support, it is possible to feel comfortable and confident expressing yourself and connecting with others.
But you may still have questions or concerns about group therapy…
I could handle my own personal and relationship challenges if I just get out more socially.
You may want or need to get out more socially as you work to improve your self-esteem, reduce social anxiety and overcome relationship challenges. But, until you learn to understand and address the issues you are experiencing – isolation, self-doubt, difficulty communicating – they will continue to interfere with your personal life and relationships. Group therapy can help you learn how to effectively acquire and foster close relationships.
I think I’d feel too embarrassed to talk about my personal problems in a group.
You will always be in control of how much information you share in sessions. However, once you feel safe and comfortable in the group, you may find that your embarrassment fades away, especially as you begin learning how to express yourself and start troubleshooting relationship issues with others who have experienced similar social setbacks. Group therapy is focused on compassionate, caring support, and – to keep the environment safe and supportive – each member must complete a screening process with me prior to joining.
I’m not sure I can commit to weekly therapy sessions.
Success in anything often depends on the time and energy you dedicate to that task. Learning how to have the best possible connection in relationships is one of the most important tasks of your life. In order to receive the support you want and need, you need to be able to commit to regular attendance at group therapy sessions. Additionally, group therapy is about helping each other by learning to build strong relationships. It is a team which you join – a team designed to help you change relationship habits in a positive direction and build self-esteem. A commitment to yourself and to the group (your team) is required for this important work for you to obtain the maximum benefit from joining a therapy group.
You Can Feel Confident In Your Personal Life and Relationships
If you are ready to understand and address your personal or relationship challenges, or if you have additional questions about group therapy, I encourage you to call (650) 965-7332 for a complimentary, commitment-free 30-minute phone consultation. You may also set up this consultation via email: DrNWesson@CSGP.org.
Groups meet Tue and Wed nights from 6:30-8:00 P.M. A screening process is required before joining a group to ensure there is a good fit between you and the group which you join. $80 per weekly session (some sliding scale fee slots are available).