Quite often movies portray group therapy as being a circle of chairs in a large sunny room. Typical portrayals include a reluctant group member leaning back in their chair with their arms crossed. Other group members and the leader encourage this reluctant member to open up and let everyone else in. While movies are not always a reflection of reality we have seen this happen in group therapy countless times before.
What to Expect
Here at NJFAI we offer a variety of groups including substance abuse and video game addiction. Group sizes range from 3-8 participants plus the leader. Most of the members of the group will have the same diagnosis or similar diagnoses.
However even with similar diagnoses everyone has different life experiences. These inherent differences is what makes group such a fantastic experience because it allows members to see different perspectives.
Group can be intimidating for new members. Typically they are not used to being open and vulnerable with a room full of strangers. However as the group work continues from week to week members realize that they can experience acceptance and encouragement from their fellow members.
What are the Benefits
Meeting other people with similar problems
One of the most common phrases we hear from clients initially is “Nobody understands me.” However attending group with people with similar struggles quickly illustrates that this belief is false. Group members are able to connect with others who understand their specific struggles and “speak the same language” as they do. This helps greatly in reducing the feeling of isolation.
Learning to relate to others
It is common for people suffering from some form of addiction to struggle in relating to others. This is understandable as they typically feel misunderstood to begin with. Group therapy offers the opportunity for group members to practice relating to others in a safe environment. Additionally members can receive real time feedback from other members and the group leader on how they are progressing.
It if very difficult for us to objectively observe our own behavior. Group members serve as mirrors providing feedback on the behavior of other group members. Additionally since there are similarities between group members they are typically more open to constructive feedback. Group therapy provides the opportunity for better insight which can lead to strong behavioral changes.