[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Imagine standing on the edge of a street. The person beside you steps out and is clipped by traffic. You now know not to step out, yet as traffic is still passing and you have learned what to do to avoid similar misfortune. A very valuable lesson where you can learn from other’s misfortune and avoid unnecessary pain yourself. Group therapy is fortunately a step removed from such instantaneous pain, but still a valuable way to learn from the pain (and sometimes joys) experienced by others.
There is much to learn from others. Group therapy allows for this opportunity where the collective wisdom of the group can be leveraged for everyone’s gain. The collective wisdom acquired by program participants from living excessively eventful lives, which is bringing them to treatment in the first place, is a priceless source of learning. This learning may not even be apparent to the individual who experienced the events until the other participants reflect back to them their perspectives on what was shared. Although life’s lessons are often proportionate to the pain it costs to learn them, not every lesson needs to be painful. And it’s much less painful to learn from other’s mistakes than our own. This also helps bond the group in realising that regardless of anyone’s pasts there are similarities, helping to foster empathy development which is essential for reintegration into society.
Humans are social animals who learn best though interaction. We grow in the real world (outside of treatment) through this interaction with others. So while growing through insights learned in group therapy we also learn to enhance our interpersonal skills, a necessity to function effectively in the world. Dysfunctional interpersonal interactions in the wider community are often the triggers of much of our dysfunctional behaviour. Hence, group therapy allows participants to develop these crucial skills in a safe a nurturing space that also has elements of the wider macrocosm they live in.
Group therapy also is a safe space for people to lay themselves emotionally bare to the others. It can be enormously unburdening to share deep dark secrets and not need to be constantly vigilant to avoid disclosing them. Group therapy also allows people to feel deeply heard and validated. This environment can be quite surreal for many, who have never been in any environment before where everyone in the group wants to see everyone else to succeed and excel. In the real world we often feel others are engineering or at least revelling in our misfortune as it assists them to surpass us. In group it is about assisting everyone to become their best selves. As the better each individual in the group the better they can help each member to become.
It may seem quite daunting for many new to group therapy< However, it is usually those participants who get the most from it once they acclimatise to the setting.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]