Why join a Psychotherapy Group?
Thinking about joining a therapy group can feel daunting. Many find it hard to imagine talking about their private thoughts, feelings and experiences openly with a group of strangers. However, group psychotherapy can be very effective for many of the issues that cause people to seek help.
Psychotherapy groups can be very helpful for any of the following issues:
- Repeated problems in close relationships
- Difficulties relating to others generally
- Social anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Past/current difficult family dynamics
- Problems tolerating or expressing certain feelings
- Questions about identity
- Alienation and conflicts around belonging
- Attachment issues
- Existential or life-stage struggles
- Difficulties with groups!
How Group Psychotherapy Helps?
Below are listed some of the specific ways psychotherapy groups help tackle difficulties.
As well as being effective as a therapeutic treatment for all kinds of difficulties, group psychotherapy can also be used for personal growth. Psychotherapy groups offer a profound existential experience by creating an environment where members can engage with others on a deep and meaningful level.
Sharing and breaking isolation
New members are often surprised at the relief in hearing others share feelings and experiences that are very familiar to them and this gives confidence and trust to share back. They often learn quickly that many of the difficulties they thought isolated them are identified with very easily by others in the group.
Therapy groups allow and create strong bonds between members, which heighten feelings of belonging and attachment. The group is experienced as more than the individuals who comprise it and so can feel a robust and stable container.
Groups as a mirror and microcosm
As group members trust the group and the therapist more, they can venture into giving and accepting more challenging feedback about the way others experience them. They see themselves mirrored in others and vice versa. The group helps members embrace and engage with difference. In this way, it is a microcosm of life that can be used to help tolerate and deal better with the frustrations in everyday lives and relationships.
Different emotional experience
Most people join a group expecting their relationships to develop in a familiar, habitual way which are generally negative and unhelpful. These expectations are usually based on negative or traumatic childhood experiences. Groups generally confound these kinds of expectations, providing a different experience and offering the chance for relationship patterns to change.
Opportunity for new roles
Analytic groups directly tackle the kinds of constricted relational roles people can take up in their lives – often at the heart of their difficulties. Usually these roles have begun earlier in the family or at school, and often operate unconsciously. Being in a therapy group provides an opportunity to challenge –with the help of other members and the therapist – habitual roles as they are taken up in outside life and in the group. The group offers the chance to try out alternative relationships and roles in a safe therapeutic environment.
A key idea in group analysis is that we are born out of our social contexts and these are at the very core of us and how we operate. This means that there is an emphasis on understanding our past and present, social and cultural contexts. In this way, members are encouraged to not just see their lives in isolation but in context and connected to others. Struggles are therefore not just seen as solely belonging to the individual but in the group as a whole.
In psychotherapy groups, time and attention is shared and this means members develop ways of both attending to others needs as well as allowing others to attend to theirs. Tackling other people’s problems can provide helpful insight into one’s own situation. Helping others in the process of group psychotherapy develops interpersonal skills, provides a genuine sense of self-worth and social value and increases confidence and self-esteem.
How much does it cost?
The group is charged on a sliding scale between £22 and £35 a session. The therapist and you would discuss how much you could afford before joining the group.
Preparatory individual sessions
You would need to have at least one or two individual sessions with the therapist to prepare you for joining the group.
Sometimes people require a longer course of individual sessions before starting group therapy. How many individual sessions you needed would be agreed between you and the therapist.
These sessions would be charged between £45 and £70 on a sliding scale according to income and means. This would be agreed at the first meeting, which is £60 flat rate.
There are some lower cost places available for preparatory meetings for those on low incomes.
We run two separate groups on Thursdays:
Mornings 9 – 10:30 am
Evenings 6:30 – 8 pm (new intake in January 2018. Assessments take place from Autumn 2017 onwards)
Get in Touch
If you’re interested to find out more about the psychotherapy services we have to offer here at Brighton & Hove Psychotherapy, or would like to book an initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also have the following blog posts online, which may be useful: