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I Just Don't "get" Group Therapy....refuse To Go


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7 replies to this topic

#1 Deficere

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:10 PM

Group therapy just isn't for me. Maybe it helps some people....but not me.

I also have social anxiety. Talking to strangers about my very personal and sensitive issues is not my way of feeling 'ok'. I would feel extremely insecure and vulnerable.

I'm also not in the best mental state right now to go through a group process dynamic. Like the stages of groups, but most of all the stage wherein the group members are just getting used to each other and the 'storming' stage. It's heightened anxiety at its worst for me.

I just can't handle that. I also didn't really like the therapist who steer-guided the group. I feel awful right now for divulging my personal issues with her during the intake process. She seemed cold and very detached. I think I just didn't jive well with her from the beginning.

Does anyone relate to this? Is group therapy not your thing either? Right now, I am doing private counseling and I click really well with her. I will continue with this as long as it takes to get well. But, I am staying clear away from the group therapy. I don't think it will do me much good, considering I am highly anxious around people in general.

Your thoughts are so appreciated! :)

#2 cnewt156

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:32 PM

I've had problems with group therapy too. I'm only now starting to be able to go to groups without having serious consequences on my anxiety. I used to get really stressed out about the whole group situation, then the doctors changed my meds again and since then I've been able to go. My meds still aren't correct but I feel much less anxiety in group situations. I still connect a lot better in one on one therapy and am a little shy in groups. All together, if I didn't have meds it wouldn't be my cup of tea either.

#3 Deficere

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:04 AM

Another reason why I couldn't tolerate group therapy (in my experience and in this particular environment) is the apparent one-upmanship that I witnessed today in the preliminary session. For example, someone's issues were worse than many of the members, and I heard a lady whisper "wow, I'm glad I'm not in that situation". I mean, honestly, is that a really sensitive comment to say when the person is already emotionally vulnerable and putting herself out there for everyone to see? I think not. It just started to become a 'comparison' group based on whose issues are worse.

I also wonder if the group facilitator doesn't harbor some secret voyeuristic pleasure of watching people with issues interact with one another, almost like a reality show Big Brother? I know this is far-fetched, but come on. Who isn't fascinated hearing one person's struggles and comparing it with their own, and then feeling better about yourself because you're not so bad as others are? It's back to that one-upmanship deal.

In that type of environment, I would say it's a recipe for disaster for my mental well-being. I couldn't possibly feel comfortable confiding in others, forcing myself to do it because the facilitator expects me to, trying to believe in the notion that it's a 'confidential' environment. Confidential? Come on! I'm telling twelve STRANGERS my life story and that's supposed to be confidential? I find that ironic. In fact, why would I want to discuss my personal issues with strangers and leave that group KNOWING that these people know all about me, and God knows if they're talking to their friends or family about my predicament? NO THANK YOU.

I am a private person and I will always be a private person. There is dignity with my privacy, and if I attend a group therapy in hopes of gaining ground, then I am delusional and I can just toss my fragile dignity out the ****** window.

Over and out.

Edited by Deficere, 11 December 2010 - 01:05 AM.


#4 Liliah

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:58 AM

Hey there,

I have social anxiety too, and for the vast majority of recent hospitalization, where engaged in daily dialectical behavioral group therapy (and four private sessions weekly; two with my case worker and one with my psychiatrist) I found myself wearing tank tops when everyone else in the room was wearing long sleeves because I was often so panicked...but also more than willing to stay, for the first time ever. It was indeed one of the most deeply challenging things I have ever done in my life—at first. I think it largely depends, for me, what type of people are in the room (fellow nuts and doctors/nurses); if I trust them at least enough to reveal tiny fragments so that I may garner some information. Ultimately—though I had a crash land ending in the acute inpatient ward, which I guess doesn't bode well for my story doing anything other than reinforcing your opinion—several weeks of partial hospitalization DBT group therapy (5x/week, 6 hours daily) was one of the most transformative experiences of my life; something I am continually shocked to finding myself actually missing, wishing I had the solidarity that existed within that community here, back home, whatever that means. I have been more than reticent to engage in something of this nature, and when I have in the past, it has been a cold sweating, heart-palpatating, trying to act "normal" but that's impossible at the given moment, endeavor. But this was markedly different, and I am still in contact with many of the people I was privileged enough to meet there, and those I will never see or hear from again I think about on the daily, though I know that, like many things, will fade.

I am actually fairly amazed right now, because when I respond on DF, I do not pre-meditate my answers, and am by this point wondering if I've said anything at all worthwhile. I hope so this does not seem too disorganized, or does not make sense. But I just kind of hit reply and tell it as I feel. I'm not sure how else to do it.

For me, the success of this program—though trying to get out of this depression is still akin to climbing a mountain during a mudslide—seems wholly contingent on who else is in the room. I found my case worker and especially to be starkly less astute to what this thing actually feels like than the other women were and are. I don't know if this particular program is always so intensely illuminating, or if I was just privileged to be there with a whole bunch of really incredible people; but perhaps the general structure is something to be looked at. But I know d*mn well who it was that was responsible for its altogether too short-lived time and relative successes.

I am now transitioning to an intensive outpatient program at another hospital (I traveled out of state for the partial hospitalization program, finding it imperative to remove myself from a deeply triggering environment in order to truly do the really, really hard work that, by this point, was absolutely requisite for a true step toward recovery; this current depressive episode has doubtlessly been a doozy). Naturally, my social anxiety regarding attending group therapy has returned quite immensely. I even asked my psychiatrist, as if he is clairvoyant. if the people enrolled in this program would be similar to the folks in the previous one. (I refuse to engage in the "misery olympics," which you evoked; it's ridiculous and useless.) I am just totally scared to go—but I am. It is only for three weeks, after all. I figure, or least I hope, it will be even a fraction as inspiring and informative as the last one. But if not, then I know I should just be grateful for my experience, which has never, ever occurred before, and return to exclusively private DBT therapy.

So, we shall see. I just wanted to say that for really agoraphobic people (it seems as if you are, but I'm not certain I'm read your post correctly; and I, indeed, am) there is chance for group therapy can actually be worth it. I am totally blown away by the fact that I even just wrote that.

Anyway, there's my rambling two cents. :smile:

Most sincerely,
Liliah

Edited by Liliah, 11 December 2010 - 03:00 AM.


#5 Peter Parker

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:57 PM

Another reason why I couldn't tolerate group therapy (in my experience and in this particular environment) is the apparent one-upmanship that I witnessed today in the preliminary session. For example, someone's issues were worse than many of the members, and I heard a lady whisper "wow, I'm glad I'm not in that situation". I mean, honestly, is that a really sensitive comment to say when the person is already emotionally vulnerable and putting herself out there for everyone to see? I think not. It just started to become a 'comparison' group based on whose issues are worse.

I also wonder if the group facilitator doesn't harbor some secret voyeuristic pleasure of watching people with issues interact with one another, almost like a reality show Big Brother? I know this is far-fetched, but come on. Who isn't fascinated hearing one person's struggles and comparing it with their own, and then feeling better about yourself because you're not so bad as others are? It's back to that one-upmanship deal.

In that type of environment, I would say it's a recipe for disaster for my mental well-being. I couldn't possibly feel comfortable confiding in others, forcing myself to do it because the facilitator expects me to, trying to believe in the notion that it's a 'confidential' environment. Confidential? Come on! I'm telling twelve STRANGERS my life story and that's supposed to be confidential? I find that ironic. In fact, why would I want to discuss my personal issues with strangers and leave that group KNOWING that these people know all about me, and God knows if they're talking to their friends or family about my predicament? NO THANK YOU.

I am a private person and I will always be a private person. There is dignity with my privacy, and if I attend a group therapy in hopes of gaining ground, then I am delusional and I can just toss my fragile dignity out the ****** window.

Over and out.


I assume you therapist suggest to you this solution... did you talk with her about this uncomfortableness you are feeling during the group therapies?

#6 Helium

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 11:01 PM

During group therapy, are you force to talk? What if you choose to remain quiet and listen to what others have to say?
I considered joining group therapy for depression, but I don't know if I'll be able to open up.

If you dont like the therapist, you might want to consider joining another group therapy. It might help you in the long run. Good luck!
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#7 Lonelyloner

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:43 AM

I often thought about group therapy because I'd maybe find other people like me but is it really as bad as people say it is or does that really just depend on the therapist?
I'm not much help but feel free to msg me anytime to talk or anything,

#8 Kalla

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:01 AM

I can't do group therapy either. The idea of talking about my personal problems to a group of total strangers makes me cringe. It's hard enough to tell my close friends my issues - putting it out there to strangers is impossible for me. As a shy and introverted person, group therapy wouldn't help me as I feel I wouldn't open up very much. Also, I tend to find in groups there is always that 1 or 2 people who dominate the conversation so I'm afraid my voice would get drowned out if the therapist wasn't a good moderator.

However, some people enjoy group therapy more than 1-on-1 therapy. They feel that sharing their problems with strangers makes more sense and it's more comfortable for them to do so. They also get the benefit of social support and getting feedback from more than one person...also, I heard it's much cheaper (even free in some areas) than a 1-on-1 session. My college had group therapy for sensitive subjects - like those who were LGBT, those who had eating disorders, and certain mental health conditions. I think that would be beneficial for needing social support. I think overall it depends on what the group is, how its run, and its members - if handled right, group therapy can work wonders.

So do what works for you :flowers: If private counseling is doing the trick, stick with it. Good luck!

"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."





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