Why You Need To Give Group Therapy A Chance
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What I am going to say in this group is based on my experience and people in the groups I am attending or attended and their success in groups so everyone is welcome to their opinion. If you want you can stop reading this post now :)
Group therapy has a bad rap around it. If I were to tell people that I went to group therapy many would probably judge me assuming something was wrong with me. Maybe not, but I know the reaction that I have gotten and it has taken me a long time to realize that what I am doing is for myself and that is who comes first, not other opinions that try to talk me out of it.
Many are scared to go to group therapy for a variety of reasons, and one that I know is a regular excuse is that they don't want to share their personal stories to the group. The thing is, is that everyone in your group will be there for a reason just like you. No one will be judging you, and if they do it isn't a normal judgment. One guy in a group I was in was pretty bitchy but in the end it was not because of any one of us. He even talked horribly about our therapists, but that was typical. In the end it was because of his frustration of finally facing what he had been fighting for years and it wasn't coming to a fast conclusion. He had walked in on his best friend who had hung himself and it was this guys birthday...he was picking up his friend for birthday drinks and found him dead and tried to do CPR on him. That is traumatic and I suddenly realized that everyone in the group was assuming his anger was towards us when he kept making comments about others problems but it wasn't. In the end he loved the group and the only reason he stopped coming everyday was because of gas money. He had bipolar too, and in the end he and me got along really well because I could relate to some of his problems and we gave each other tips.
Why do I recommend group therapy?
1. Group therapy is basically uncomfortable for everyone and what I have learned is that WE HAVE TO CHALLENGE OURSELVES. We have to realize that help can be found in many forms and to challenge yourself to go to a group that is a support group is a great start to challenging yourself to go ahead in recovery.
2. To gain information by others is beneficial. There is only so much you can do by reading and talking to people. I have gotten so many tips and information from groups that I know I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't gone to group.
3. To meet strangers while we are so exposed is totally an exhilarating experience. I had been in an outpatient intense therapy group two times and the first time I didn't get much out of it, but the second time I felt more confident and made friends in the group. You begin to meet people with the same disorders and you realize that you are not the only one having a hard time in that moment of time. There is hope and to know others that you hardly know that are helping you is inspirational.
If you are not one to go to groups I suggest www.supportgroups.com for an alternative option. I personally used this site for a month when I really needed support during the day. People go on and read for tips and information and give advise. You post your problem or any thoughts or experiences that you want to get out and people will comment and give you advise. Some posts won't be seen so some of your posts may not get read but still I love the site. I connected with a girl from England, Brasil, Iceland, Mexico, and Ireland which was awesome because you see that bipolar and other illnesses are around the world.
At least go to one group session. You are not required to go to all sessions. Most groups are walk in friendly. There is a couple of groups that I only go to every two months. If you think groups are too scary or not for you TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. There are other ways to get help, just do not loose hope. Trial and Error is your best friend in the recovery process!
- Susan Page