Group therapy can be really helpful for patients struggling with addiction, trauma, or relational difficulties. However, navigating a group therapy session can be a little more complicated than navigating a one-on-one session with your therapist. It can take some time to adapt and learn how to get more out of group therapy. To some degree, you get out what you put in. Here are some ways you can put more in and therefore get more out of group therapy.
Sometimes, especially when patients are new to group therapy, they get really consumed by the idea that they have to talk. They sit there going over and over what they're going to say in their minds, but not really listening to what others are saying during the sessions. As hard as it might be, you must try to focus on what others are saying in the group sessions. You can learn a lot from hearing others' stories and then listening to the ways that the therapist and others respond. You will likely find that a lot of the advice offered is relevant to your own situation too.
Share As You Feel Comfortable
Sharing in group therapy is important so that the others can relate to you and so that the therapist can advise you. But you don't need to share beyond what feels comfortable. Reaching too deep and sharing too much too soon can leave you feeling overly traumatized and anxious. So, share what you're comfortable sharing. Over time, you can add more details and nuance to your story—but only when you feel comfortable and reassured in doing so. This slow approach also allows you to receive feedback slowly over time so you can better integrate it into your life.
Accept Feedback Openly
People often become defensive when someone in the group critiques them or gives them feedback that is not overly positive. However, closing yourself off to this feedback may keep you from hearing and implementing something that might be really beneficial for you. Try to resist the urge to snap back and become defensive when feedback is offered. Instead, take a deep breath, think about the feedback, and ask yourself how you might best apply it in your life.
Group therapy can be incredibly helpful for all sorts of patients with various struggles. Follow the tips above, and you'll feel like you're getting more out of it. For more information about group therapy, contact a counseling center in your area.