Let me start out by saying that I am a Group Therapy Nerd. (Yes, I actually refer to myself that way in real life.) I’ve been changed forever — I’m talking profound mindset shifts, people! — by my participation in groups, both as a member and a facilitator. I see it as one of my callings in life to pass along the amazingness that comes with group therapy to as many people as possible.
So let’s take a look at what’s standing in your way, shall we?
❔ You don’t really get what group therapy is.
This is a biggie. A lot of people, actually I’d venture to say MOST people, don’t really know what group therapy is or that it even exists. The short answer is that group therapy is a way to learn new skills, learn about yourself, build surprisingly deep and rewarding connections with others, and channel the collective wisdom of a room full of people all trying their hardest to do something different or better. It is powerful stuff. The exact format of a group (the content covered, how structured it is, how much process time there is, how many weeks it lasts, etc.) all depends on the specific group.
💁 You don’t like being around people you don’t know.
Probably the most common thing I hear. And as an introvert, I totally get it! Taking the chance and showing up to a place where there will be people you don’t know is no easy task. But let me tell you, IT IS WORTH EVERY SECOND OF DISCOMFORT. First of all, you will get to know these strangers more quickly than you would in any other environment. Group therapy with a well-trained therapist is a safe way to forge trust and connection. The first session is by far the scariest. The strangery-ness will evaporate before you finish your cup of tea.
💵 You think it’s too expensive.
Group therapy has so much intrinsic value. I’ll be upfront with the numbers: my groups right now are $50 per person, per session. If you’re doing a 6-week series (like my upcoming Battling Burnout group), that’s $300. But what if I told you that at the end of the six weeks, you’d walk away with half a dozen new strategies for managing stress, a clearer idea of how to reduce your specific vulnerability to burnout, and a few brand-new, amazing connections to other people in your same boat? How much would you pay for all that? Only you can answer that question. What we choose to spend our money on says a lot about our priorities, and sometimes it can be uncomfortable to take a close look at that. We’ve allll got money stuff.
⏰ You don’t have time.
Well, you may not be available at the specific time that the group meets, in which case this is a perfectly valid excuse. In my experience, though, time is similar to money. It’s all relative. You don’t think you have ANY extra time…but if an urgent health crisis came up, for example, you’d find the time to get an MRI. You’d MAKE the time to go to see a specialist. You’d have no choice. Whether you choose to make time for therapy depends in large part on how important it is to you, how much juggling you’re willing to do, and how creative you’re willing to be. This is something I am absolutely willing to talk through with you if you need to strategize.
🤔 You think that group therapy is only for people who are more ____ than you.
No! There is no formula for who is cut out for group therapy and who isn’t. The truth is, people who do group therapy are a) interested in personal growth, b) brave as hell, and c) willing to take a hard look at what’s getting in their way so they can have a happier life. 💟 We ALL deserve the opportunity to better ourselves, to connect, and to be seen. 💟
If there’s anything else you’d add to this list, shoot me an email at dobbinLMFT@gmail.com and I will do my best to give you a counter-argument. You, too, can be a Group Therapy Nerd!
If you’re convinced that groups are worth checking out, and you’re thinking about joining my upcoming Battling Burnout series…what are you waiting for? For more info>> stephaniedobbin.com/groups