Why groups? We all belong to groups of one kind or another. Our first group experience is with our family, of parents, siblings and our extended family. The family experience probably has the strongest bearing on who we become as adults. Yet people also belong to other groups that play an important role developmentally. People belong to groups based on their gender, age, religion, race, and the economic class they were raised in, to name a few. There are many commonalities people share with each other simply because of membership in these groups. Exploring our lives through the lens of our association with these groups can be a powerful tool for self discovery.
Group therapy can be a profound and powerful experience. Membership in a group can help people overcome personal difficulties that prevent them from achieving satisfaction and fulfillment from their lives. Over time, group members become a precious resource for each other. Groups can help with feelings of alienation and isolation, and a sense that no one else feels the way you do. The fact is that everyone in a group has something to contribute. Learning to listen to other people is a valuable tool gained from group membership. Feedback (not advice giving) from other group members can be a valuable help in sorting out problems.
In meetings, people are encouraged to talk with each other in a spontaneous and honest fashion. The group leader provides productive examination of the issues or concerns affecting the individuals and the group, and guides the discussion. A group can also provide a forum to explore feelings about the other people in the group in a safe setting, and then to think about how these feelings are related to one's life outside the group. The group can be compared to being part of a family, where participants tend to take on the roles that they had in their family growing up. You will see rivalry, hostility, envy, anger as well as support, bonding, cohesiveness, concern and helpfulness, all happening in the course of time in a good group. One difference, however, is that a skilled therapist is there to look out for problems and to help the group to maintain a sense of safety for everyone, something many people didn’t have in their families growing up.
The process of joining. When someone applies for participation in a GroupWorks group, they are interviewed one on one prior to membership to help create a group experience that is optimal for all participants. Most groups consist of between 5 and 10 people who would be helped by the group experience and who can be learning partners for one another. Groups usually meet weekly and sessions usually last ninety minutes. As with individual therapy, group therapy has guidelines about timing, socializing, taking holidays at the same time as the group takes breaks, treating everything spoken about in the group as confidential, notifying the group of unexpected absences, and giving appropriate notice of leaving.
What does it cost to be part of a GroupWorks group? Depending on whether a particular group is time limited, i.e. a 8 or 10 week group, or an ongoing group, the cost will vary. Typically, group therapy is less than half the price of individual therapy. Insurance coverage is similar to individual therapy. Most managed care companies will cover group therapy much the same as individual therapy. There are low fee slots based on need available in most of the groups. Be sure to inquire about this.