Humanistic Therapy in Swansea - "Helping you Help yourself"

Group Therapy

What is Group Therapy?

The group is a shared therapeutic experience that involves a presence of a trained professional therapist/facilitator and others who are working through similar psychological and emotional issues. The role of the facilitator is complex and the manner in which its performed is highly influential in the development of the group. It is not however, the most significant factor in determining whether or not a group works well. This comes down to the mixture of group members, their attitudes and experiences, and their openness to genuine exploration. A skilful, competent, sensitive facilitator cannot produce a functioning group without the cooperation of the group members. Every group member has a shared responsibility to create a group therapy/personal development that provides opportunities to learn and to grow.

The group is a closed group, where members remain the same from start to finish, with the advantage of working at a deep emotional level. ESPERANSA COUNSELLING recommends a group of 8 people, who will meet at once a week, every week for 2 hours. ESPERANSA COUNSELLING chose to run a group session once a week, as it gives members sufficient time to reflect and work on issues that arose from particular themes in-between times.

Members should be encouraged to attend to a group therapy / personal development over a period of time, as attendance at one or two groups’ sessions is not going to “cure” their difficulties. The groups are a starting-point for working on issues and, as the group therapy last for only for 2 hours, most of the work will happen outside these sessions. The group activities help members to gain insight, therefore enabling them to initiate change. In order for members to see and monitor changes it is a good idea to keep the art work, writing and so on from groups.

If you do not understand the nature of fear, you will never find fearlessness. Shambhala Buddhism.

How can Group Therapy Help?

There are considerable benefits to be gained from using a group setting in the pursuit of self-healing and personal development. Initially a member may join the group with deep feelings of isolation, but discover that others have encountered similar problems and can share such feelings. This can bring a great sense of relief as they begin to realize that although they are unique they are not alone.

Often members have a very poor opinion or image of themselves and this usually leads to feelings that they have nothing of value to offer to others. By encouraging and sharing we can avoid morbid preoccupations with self. The abilities to give others is valuable in the healing process and increases feeling of self-worth.

The group setting can also be seen as an educational one where, for example, in stress management topic, symptoms of anxiety and the way these affect us physiologically and emotionally can be discussed, so helping to allay any irrational beliefs or fears. Advice from others, even if not useful, can be seen as a caring gesture. Feedback from other group members can be useful in helping develop social skills, as we learn from others how our attitudes and mannerisms are interpreted. Role-play may be used to act out specific problem areas, using other members to represent figures in our lives. This allows testing to go on in a safe environment.

Seeing how others cope with similar situations to our own may be useful and lead to experimentation with alternative coping mechanisms for ourselves. For people who find it difficult to form close relationships the group provides a safe environment from the start. This is made possible by honest and open feedback from others which at the same time sustains acceptance and rapport.

In conclusion, the group is an ideal setting for discovering how we are seen by others, how our behaviour affects others and why we behave in certain ways. By gaining this understanding we can set in motion the wheels of change and self-healing.

What is involved in Group Therapy?

Group activities are designed to encourage communication, insight, trust, and personal growth. The activities may range from conversational, sit-down interactions, such as reading and sharing stories, to physically engaging, team-oriented exercises and games. Group activities are designed to require people to work in groups to achieve a desired outcome, and these exercises nurture collaboration, trust, and respect. Other activities such as painting, acting, and playing music may be used to facilitate creative expression. Trust can be strengthened through role-playing, wilderness activities, and other trust-building games that help the members develop confidence in the other members and in themselves.

Ice breakers are common introductory group therapy activities that allow the members of the group to get to know one another in a non-threatening and playful way. In some groups, small objects may be used, such as balloons, bean bags, or balls; when members catch an item, they say something about themselves, and then toss the item on to the next person.

Boundaries:

  • Members should arrive on time; late comers are not admitted.
  • Members should be discouraged from leaving the session earlier.
  • Members should be encouraged to join in all the exercises within a group, but if there is a particular exercise they find difficult they can sit it out and join in the next one. (Obviously if a member is consistently opting out, this needs to be tackled.)
  • Group facilitator should be aware of their own boundaries: that is, their personal issues. Therapist should only facilitate exercises with which they themselves feel comfortable.
  • Any visiting staff or new members should be told they are expected to participate; “observers” are not allowed.
  • The group should feel safe for members; group facilitator should encourage members to work but not force them to work at a deeper level than they are ready to, or is safe for them. The group therapist is also responsible for maintaining a professional, respectful, and ethical environment free from discrimination, sexual inappropriateness, or other behaviours that could cause a member to feel uncomfortable or threatened. It is the therapist’s role to ensure that the group therapy progresses in a non-judgmental, collaborative, and productive fashion for all involved

If you have any queries regarding the types of therapies I provide please get in touch with me on our contacts page.

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