The Power of Connection
It’s been 18 years since I’ve lead a small group therapy session in my office. I’ve missed it greatly. My practice morphed into one blessed with an abundance of individual therapy, and even though I believe strongly in the benefits of a group, timing has not provided the space to host one. Groups are messier, less predictable, take more effort to organize and structure than individual sessions, but they are worth it.
Research confirms my belief. Irvin Yalom, the psychotherapist who wrote the book (literally and figuratively) on group therapy, identified 11 characteristics that make group therapy effective, including the knowledge that we are not alone, participants learning from each other, group cohesiveness, and a heightened sense of hope.
Group work provides a safe laboratory for participants to explore feelings, beliefs and behaviors with the input of other participants and enjoy the experience of providing feedback to others. We learn to respect others’ boundaries and set our own. We accept differences. We come together for the common cause of personal growth. Fact is, we learn more together than by ourselves.
I’m grateful to have created Freedom to Be, and I’m grateful to be participating in group therapy again. I’m grateful for the nine brave souls who showed up for our first meeting, anxious and nervous, but willing. We are learning from each other and I’m excited because I’ve seen groups work and I know the power and potential. As a facilitator, after just one meeting, I have a heightened sense of hope for each of our participants.