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Dr. BEWLEY SPECIALIZES
IN GROUP THERAPY
What is Group Therapy?
When you hear the word "group," it often can make you cringe or remember how awkward group projects can be. You may also experience apprehension about being in group due to not knowing what will happen in the group and what the other group members will be like.
A therapy group is composed of individuals who share common concerns and who are interested in seeking solutions to these concerns. The focus of the group is on what is happening in the “here and now” rather than on external issues. The trained group therapist acts as facilitator to assist group members in articulating their thoughts and feelings in a way that promotes growth for the entire group.
Why Group Works?
In group therapy, you realize that you are not alone in your struggles, and you will gain a great deal of support from others.
Group therapy also gives you the opportunity to get immediate feedback from other group members and the leaders. By finding out how others perceive you, you increase your self-awareness and can focus energy into aspects of your life you wish to change.
Group therapy also gives you the opportunity to try out new behaviors, to express feelings you are hesitant to express, to assert yourself in new ways, and to experiment with new ideas. Over time, as you experience trust and security in the group, you may feel freer to take risks, which can lead to a more fulfilling life.
Group therapy allows you to learn from other group members. You will not only benefit from recognizing your emotional and thought responses, but also through identifying with the feelings of others. In doing so you increase your own self-awareness. Group members help one another to express stifled emotions, to understand puzzling behaviors, and to experiment with new behaviors. Learning about yourself in these ways usually has a positive effect on your relationships and can improve your quality of life.
With the assistance of the group leader and your fellow group members, you will have the task of determining how you take advantage of the opportunities group therapy offers. You determine the amount of energy—mental and emotional—you wish to invest in the group process. Needless to say, the more you invest, the more you benefit.
Yeah, it seems helpful, but I hate speaking in front of others.
Remember, you control what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. You will be encouraged to not share what you are not ready to disclose. However, you can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about what they are saying might apply to you.
People only know as much about your private self as you are willing to share with them. You only know as much about how others see you as you are willing to share with them. It is through sharing our private selves that we develop emotionally satisfying relationships.
Group provides a safe place to try and practice more emotionally satisfying ways of relating to others.
Group members typically understand each other in a deeper, more meaningful way than most peers can.
Group provides a safe, supportive context for looking at yourself and increasing your understanding of yourself and how you relate to others. Because people’s interpersonal styles get played out in a group, we can learn a tremendous amount about who we are and how we come across to others.
Once trust is developed, group therapy provides a rare opportunity to find out how people really see you, both positively and negatively. You then can decide which of your habits of relating you want to keep and which you want to change.
In every day life we seldom are entirely honest with people about how we see them. We are unsure of the consequences and don’t want to take the risk of being straightforward. After establishing mutual trust among group members, we can disregard some of the rules of polite society in order to help ourselves and each other become more self-aware and able to sustain more rewarding relationships. With the assistance of a trained group therapist, members become respectfully honest with each other.
Group can be a “social laboratory,” in which clients can learn new things about themselves and experiment with new behaviors and ways of being. Group counseling provides a unique and special opportunity to give and receive support for making the changes each group member decides that he or she wants to make.
LGBT Mental Health Therapy Group
Group Start Date: February 2021 - Currently Closed
Tuesdays 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.
Looking for a safer space to discuss and explore issues related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression? This mental health therapy group is designed to provide group therapy and support to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Agender/Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community, or those who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Group members also play an important role in providing support to one another. Members will be challenged to increase self-awareness, emotional insight, and integration of your multiple cultural identities.
There are little spaces within the LGBTQIA+ community that are sober free, and this is a safe space for those who are looking for a safe and confidential space to discuss issues related to being LGBTQIA+. The group will provide a supportive and affirming environment where members can share common experiences and increase their sense of understanding regarding their own gender identity/expression, sexual/romantic identity, relationships with others, and sense of empowerment. Areas of focus may include the influence of cultural background and ethnic identity, fostering self-acceptance, stress management, coping skills, coming out to yourself & others, dating, spirituality, employment and work/school climate, and family relationships. All identities within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum including those questioning are welcome!
If interested in joining, please schedule a phone consultation appointment and we will discuss your interest. A group intake appointment is required before starting the group to better determine your fit. The group size is 6-8 members.
This sOunDs gOOD,
But i wOulD liKE tO KnOw mOrE
AbOut hOw grOup wORKs
Group sessions can vary tremendously from session to session, and as a group member, you cannot make a fair assessment until you have attended several sessions.
Consider making a commitment to participating in the group (at minimum for six sessions).
You decide what and when to share with the group. Open participation will be encouraged, but you are in charge of the pace.
Practice setting limits, so that if you do not want to share your thoughts and feelings at a particular time, you will say, “no.”
Wait until you know the group members before revealing especially sensitive issues.
Once you feel that you trust the group, you are encouraged to risk being "more real" and trying out behavior that is new to you in the safety of the group. Two essential principles in group therapy are honesty about what you are experiencing and a willingness to take risks. These principles are what can make group therapy a meaningful experience.
Be honest and direct about your thoughts and feelings in the moment, especially about your reactions toward the other group members and the group therapist.
You will experience a variety of thoughts and feelings about other group members and the group leader. It is important that you attempt to share those reactions as you are experiencing them, right there during the group session.
Sharing thoughts and feelings in the moment will feel scary at times and that is okay. Just remember, there are no “good” or “bad” feelings in the group.
The group will generally be unstructured
That is, the members will drive each session and it will be up to each member to bring their concerns to the group.
The first session or two might be more structured, however, to help members get to know one another and get comfortable with the group experience.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT GROUP THERAPY
How Does Confidentiality Work In Group?
Confidentiality is key for any therapeutic experience to be successful. In individual therapy, your confidentiality can be guaranteed. However, in group, you are relying on other group members to keep what you discuss in the room. Much time will be spent discussing this in the first few sessions, and the group leader will not accept any group member that is unable or unwilling to maintain confidentiality of other group members.
Can I Be In Group Only?
This depends for each person. Some individuals will utilize individual therapy (with me or another therapist) simultaneously with group therapy. Some start in individual therapy and gradually shift to group therapy only. Depending on your presenting concerns, we will discuss together what might be the best fit for you.
How Long Will The Group Last?
Group therapy is typically open-ended, meaning there is not a set time-line for this type of group. Each member will determine group goals, and part of what determines your length in group therapy is determining when you have reached your therapeutic goals. Some individuals find group therapy an important part of their social support. There will be weeks where group does not meet (i.e., holiday weeks), but typically the group will meet weekly or every other week throughout the year. The great thing about this is you form deep connections with other members.
What If I Know Someone In The Group?
Depending on the group, there may be a likelihood that you know someone else. For themed groups where there is a shared identity or community, this is extremely likely. Typically, it is not encouraged to attend group therapy with someone that you know. However, depending on the level of connection, we will discuss as a group if the existing connection can or cannot be part of group.
Can I Be Friends With Other Members Outside of Group?
It is normal to form a genuine connection with other group members. However, part of what makes group therapy safe is knowing that what you talk about is expected to be kept confidential. If members become friends outside of group, that is known as a "sub group" and can do damage to the trust of the entire group. Thus, it will be strongly discouraged to form any friendships outside of group with members. This is also context dependent on each group.
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