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For many people, asking for helping in private is hard enough. So when your therapist or doctor recommends group therapy, it is extremely common to fear embarrassment and to have the desire to run in the opposite direction. Yet, there is an awesome power to this thing called group therapy, because it serves as a “mini-world” for you, and is designed to be a safe place to practice all the new skills you are learning.

Imagine, for instance, that I was trying to teach you how to ride a bicycle, without actually asking you to get on the bike. This would be ridiculous, and at best you would be an awesome imaginary cyclist! So, when you talk about wanting to make new friends, for example, and increasing your trust in others, group therapy becomes the place that you get to actually practice this.

It is also very common for people to look for differences from others in group therapy. It is always recommended that you “stretch” yourself to look for similarities first and foremost.

Ask yourself the question:

“In what way am I similar to this person?” and “How do I relate to what they are saying?”

Instead of thinking: “I can’t relate to what they are saying.”

When you look for the similarities, this enhances your ability to connect to others, and create great relationships! Further, it allows you to learn that much more about yourself by listening to others insights and experiences.

Here are some other quick tips to remember when attending your groups:

  1. Take risks! The more you practice in group, the better you will get at your skills outside of group.

  2. Rarely give advice, unless it is asked for from another member. Instead, you can offer your personal experiences and how you relate to what the other person is saying.

  3. Another great contribution to group is to ask the other members for feedback. This communicates that you are open to hearing from them how you show up in a group setting with others. You are sure to grow quickly when considering this information.

Dr. Stephanie

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