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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Has anyone tried group therapy? Did you like or dislike it?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) June 23rd, 2016

Hey all,

I’m currently uninsured but have some traumas to work through that I think a therapist could help me with.

I live in a big city and found a well-regarded resource that offers group therapy for trauma survivors and young adults (under 30). Has anyone ever participated in group therapy before? Was it effective and did you find value in it?

Many thanks.

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10 Answers

janbb's avatar

I did a lot of it years ago and found it very useful. Thinkbi’ve recommended it to you on other posts.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Thanks @janbb I’m definitely going to give it a shot. It can’t hurt to try!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, give it a try.

I have personally never done it. I’ve been in therapy for 30 years. It has helped me in ways that are difficult to describe briefly.

My best friend does group therapy, and he gets great help from it. He goes often.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I tried group therapy for a few months, maybe 27 years ago. (Actually, “tried” is a misnomer; I got bullied-in by an inept and unethical therapist, whom I briefly trusted, but that’s a whole other story for another time.)

I hated every minute of that experience and started feeling better the minute I quit. I’d never go to another group therapy session.

I know that some people swear by group therapy and benefit from it. I’m sure everything depends on the group dynamics and its leader’s competency.

There are a few questions you might want to consider. Do you truly believe that you can address your own issues and be helped by listening to other people’s problems? A group might have 9–11 participants; would you be comfortable going through numerous sessions while saying nothing and not being heard? Do you want to be judged by a jury of your peers, despite not having committed or been accused of a crime?

imrainmaker's avatar

Don’t you think Fluther is like that only where you can discuss your issues / vent your frustrations with good guidance provided by fellow members.. that too with no costs attached other than your internet connection…)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve led a group once at a psychiatric hospital, charge nurse and unit doctor were not available (I had guidance). Had attended several meetings, It was a “what do you feel” and “what does it mean to you”.

Found out that I grinned or smile when under pressure, it was pointed out during meeting by one of the patients.

Buttonstc's avatar

I think that ones experience with group therapy will be totally dependent upon the type of group and their reason for going.

Someone mentioned having a negative experience because a therapist manipulated (“bullied”) them into participating. Well, no small wonder they didn’t find it helpful.

But what you’re describing is totally different. The grouo has a clear identity and reason for being (trauma survivors) and everyone is there because they really want to be and have a need in their lives for it.

I think something like that could be enormously helpful to you.

In terms of my own experience, I’ve been to some groups which I found to be marginally helpful plus another one that was incredibly helpful to me.

This was an ACOA group composed of Adult Children of Alcoholics and I couldn’t have found a more helpful bunch of people to be with.

We were all in the same situation, having grown up in alcoholic family systems and we’re now dealing with the effects of that upon our personalities. There was an immediate kinship and rapport between all of us and it helped me in ways that are still in my life today.

For a brief time I also participated in a group for those who had a loved one who committed suicide. This is just not a topic that you can really discuss with anyone who has not experienced it because it makes people so incredibly uncomfortable (understandably so) and you go through a period where a lot of your friends just don’t know how to relate to you anymore.

It was helpful to me to be around others who had walked in my footsteps. And, surprisibgly , the other thing it did was make me appreciate the fact that my experience could have been far worse.

My mother chose to swallow a bottle of very powerful pills. I heard other people talking about coming home to find their husband, brother, boyfriend dead from a self inflicted shotgun blast.

Listening to that described in detail, gave me an appreciation for the fact that as angry as I was at my mother for forever screwing up the lives of my younger brother and sister while still in their teens, it could have been so much worse had she opted for a more gruesome method.

That’s the kind of stuff you can only find when in a group who has been through similar experiences.

From what you’ve described about the grouo you’re considering, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to follow through.

You’ve previously described your frustration with not being able to talk to your friends about what you’ve been through. That’s perfectly understandable because they really don’t know unless they’ve been through it.

But you now have a chance to be with others who have been through it. The specific details may vary but that’s not as important as the fact that you’ve all been there.

I think this grouP has the potential to be a valuable experience for you and I doubt if you’d ever regret going. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Thank you @Buttonstc and I’m so sorry to hear about your mother.

Glad2bhear's avatar

The only “group therapy” I’ve ever experienced is called psychodrama, which still isn’t very well known by the general public. I found it to be wonderful & extremely helpful. Might want to search the web to find out more about it – it’s worth it!.

janbb's avatar

^^ I’ve done psychodrama a few times; my aunt was involved in it.

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