Clients find me when they fall into despair because of:
- their inability to develop and sustain gratifying relationships with themselves and others
- the confrontation with harsh existential facts (death, isolation, meaning, freedom).
Key psychotherapeutic factors in group therapy are recognition, universality and belonging.
Many clients feel as if they are unique in their misery. They believe they alone have thoughts and fantasies that are awful, forbidden, tabooed, sadistic, selfish, and sexually perverse. The self-disclosure of similar thoughts by other group members is wonderfully comforting and provides a “I am human between humans”-experience. Which is a very welcoming feeling.
The intimate ambiance of a good therapy group is tangible, and good things occur when one enters into its aura.
We learn most about ourselves and our behavior through personal interaction with others, combined with observation and analysis of this interaction.
The difference between a group discussing “back home” problems and a group engaged in the here-and-now, discussing their own process, is very evident. The here-and-now group is energized, members are engaged and the group comes alive when we focus on process.
We also learn out of demonstrated behavior in the group in which members model themselves after. This is also the case with developing new skills like expressing difficult situations.
Group members receive a lot of feedback from other group members about how they are perceived. This decreases our blind spots, increases our sense of reality and we learn to see ourselves as others see us. Feedback makes us better witnesses to our own behavior. It teaches us to appreciate the impact of our own behavior on the feelings of others. Of course we set some rules, boundaries and limitations on the way we give each other feedback, for it to be useful and to keep the group a safe space.
Group therapy requires a commitment of 100% attendance, over 5 to 10 sessions, in a fixed group composition of maximum 8 people, of 2 hours per session. The sessions, depending on the intensity and theme, occur mostly once every 2 weeks. Some groups are ongoing, for example support groups for people of color, students, women, people from the LGBTQ+ community, people in a certain life stage, people who are terminally ill (cancer).