Have you heard of the latest book on Reese Witherspoon’s book club list, Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate?
Published in October 2020, Tate’s book beautifully depicts the tremendous power of group therapy. Group therapy is an evidence-based modality and is often significantly more effective than individual therapy.
Here at Counseling Center of Maryland, we like to view group therapy as a dress rehearsal for life. It teaches the skills necessary to establish durable relationships.
Why is group therapy so beneficial? Well, groups can become a microcosm of one’s real world (a miniature version). Members will show up to a group just as they do in their social worlds. Generally, people pleasers in real life will also behave this way in a group. Those that stand away from the crowd and don’t engage will do so in group. Those that monopolize conversations will do so in group, etc.
Over time, group members share more deeply. As a result, group members develop deep intimate relationships with each other. In fact, group members can create a sort of intimacy that they would love to have in their life outside of the group. AND, these skills generalize to the outside! As the book storyline portrays beautifully, the main character Christie begins to significantly change how she chooses others to be in her social and romantic life.
Group: THE antidote to loneliness!
Along with the increased depth of sharing, group members safely learn that the more they are authentic with others and actually allow themselves to be known and seen, the more the relationships grow. Our society falsely believes we need to interact with others with “masks” on. To be the person we believe others want/expect us to be. The person we “should” be. In a group we learn we had it all wrong. That people actually love us more when we share our vulnerabilities. In fact, more often than not, our weakness can even make us MORE attractive to the right people.
HOWEVER BEWARE…the book is not entirely accurate.
In the groups the author Christie Tate participated in, there was no confidentiality. This is NOT the case with any of our groups. Confidentiality is imperative to enable members to do group work and feel safe and be protected at the same time. All of our groups (and therapeutic groups we are aware of in other practices) require members to maintain confidentiality. In her novel, the psychiatrist Dr. Rosen provides the members with “prescriptions.” Many of these are unorthodox and make for great reading (in the novel), but they would not necessarily be therapeutic in practice. Our groups do provide encouragement for members to step out of their comfort zones and break familiar cycles. Our goal is empowerment!
If you’re interested in group therapy as a way to explore feelings, thoughts, sensations, and behaviors as vehicles to affirmative change, contact email@example.com or call 301-742-2282 for a consultation. You can find out more about our group offerings here.
Post by Marjorie Kreppel, Founder of Counseling Center of Maryland.