Therapy groups with a gestalt perspective
We are usually born into a family unit. This will be our very first experience of a group. This first experience will be very informative for the child and later the adult. What we learn in this environment can remain for many years to come.
The therapy group may well be a reminder of this very first experience. As we enter into a therapy group, very often the first thought will be "will I be accepted?". In our very first family, was I accepted? It is interesting to look at the process of entering a therapy group and the feelings that are around at this time. It is usually at time of heightened arousal and excitement. New people will be met and experienced... how will they perceive me? How will I get along with them? Indeed how will I deal with the heightened excitement? Can I support myself or will the anxiety be too much?
The therapy group will provide potential for each member to look at how we are in this environment. Does it remind us of things in the past and how can the member deal with the satisfaction or unease of being here and now? This is the starting point of acceptance of where we are now. A crucial point. With the new awareness and acceptance, the opportunity arises for individuals to change the way they react to others and situations within the group. The group can be the starting point to change behaviour. Members can engage in experiments. Here new ways of behaviour can be attempted and subsequently individuals can learn different ways of interacting, which then can become gradually more comfortable to use and then integrated.
At this point there is the opportunity to take new awareness into our lives. With self-support and support of others there can be a new sense of going into the world with a new view on life, and however difficult, a new optimism.
About the author
Richard Dennison. I am a gestalt therapist and see individuals, couples and run groups in Bath and Exeter. I am passionate about gestalt as a therapy and also as a way of living my life. New groups starting in Bath and Exeter at the end of April.
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