Human beings are social animals. We’re hard?wired to have relationships. Recent research indicates that it’s necessary for us to interact, in order to have the necessary stimulation for creating a personality. Studies of the interactions between caregivers and infants demonstrate a mutual influencing, reflected in facial expressions. It’s also clear that we learn how to be in any kind of relationship through the roles we experience in our original family dynamics.
Group therapy mimics those family dynamics. Even if we were raised as only children or in orphanages, whatever interactions occurred turned into strategies for living in our developing personalities. Both Peter and Paula have had years of training and practice facilitating group therapy. At one point we co?facilitated a therapy group for couples whose marriages were troubled.
Typically, the focus of the individuals in group therapy revolves around wanting to be understood and accepted, alternating with fear of being understood and accepted. This seems contrary, so some explanation is helpful. As social beings, we feel assured, even more real, when others reflect our ways of seeing and feeling. When raised in a dysfunctional family, our needs to be understood and to have our emotions accepted aren’t met adequately. In fact, having needs separate from what the parents or other adult authority figures, such as teachers, ministers, etc., expect, often brings shame or punishment. This brings fear of self?disclosure in a group setting. This fear can be openly seen and addressed in group therapy, with powerful benefits.
Effective group therapy provides support for discovering that we can have more confidence in our social experiences. We learn that it’s OK to have differing needs, and that they can be negotiated, understood and resolved effectively.
Additionally, group therapy is quite affordable, because the costs are spread among the various group members. It’s also true that the depth and caring experienced, as group members come to know each other in similarities and differences, is precious.
We offer group therapy in the evening to make it possible for most people to attend after work. The sessions last from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.