Aspects and benefits of group therapy
Our first group experience is usually that of the family of birth. On many occasion this first experience heavily influences our relationships in life and particularly in future groups. We live in a society where being with others is usually a prerequisite for work and social engagement. Can we function to our best possible effectiveness? How do we feel in such situations?
Joining a therapy/personal growth group to look at how the individual is in this context is often challenging. However, the rewards are great. There is space to appreciate how we are in these situations, to explore different ways of being in groups, increase self awareness, and enjoy the company and feedback of others while allowing others to do the same. The safety and togetherness for this development is essential and can be a very uplifting experience. Therefore the boundaries, respect for other members, plus aspects of confidentiality and openness are set in place.
Members can focus on themselves and look deeply at issues that are solid and real or issues that are rather hazy and liquid. What are the wishes that are present in this life and how can they be realised? Is there difficulties in making an important decision or how is that relationship seen by others? These can be addressed in the group.
In a Gestalt therapy group, the feelings we have on arrival are first addressed. It is important to gather some sense of being in the group and how this impacts on use. As the group progresses and as members get to know each other more deeply, opportunities will arise for individuals to articulate who we are and what we are feeling plus very importantly what we are needing from the group. Everyone is different, every response is valid, often, it can be difficult to appreciate differences. The experience of sharing each other’s thoughts and feelings within a committed group, is of inestimable value for personal development and the growth of understanding.
If we remain in our comfort zones, I do not see there being opportunities to learn. To challenge ourselves we must move in the direction of challenge. Groups offer those challenges, but in a respectful supported environment. Further groups can be fun, warm, deeply affecting and above all rewarding.
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About Richard Dennison
For information on groups I run see: www.richard-dennison.uk. I qualified as a Gestalt practioner in 1999. I have worked in private practice, primary health care and now work for a mental health charity. Gestalt insists we are always in relationship and groups enable us to test how we relate and can open us to the possibility of change.