Charlotte Howard, a therapist at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy in Austin, TX, talks about group therapy and how it can catapult the insights you have about yourself by giving you authentic, real-time feedback in a safe space.
What is Group Therapy in Austin, TX?
Group therapy is about really learning who you are and who you are in relationships. You get to explore that in real time. Some of my clients will come in and say to me, “Oh, some people really don’t like me,” but in our group therapy exercises we can see, “Oh my gosh, people are really trying and they’re reaching out and they really like this person, but they can’t see it or they’re batting it away.”
Getting to Practice with Other People in Austin
It’s different to talk about, “Oh, you know you could learn to receive with your partner,” versus being able to experience it. We can talk about those concepts in individual therapy, we can feel it and they can practice it with me, but in group therapy, people are giving to them in the moment. So, you get to practice, “Okay, let’s expand, this is uncomfortable, can you receive?” That’s an important part of having balanced mental health.
Group Therapy Helps You Learn to Navigate Your Relationships
As a therapist, I can actually be there, in group therapy, helping people navigate around relationships and it’s very powerful to have other people as Rorschach cards—the ink blot test. The relationships in group therapy are going to mirror the relationships you have in your outside life, especially in childhood. Somebody’s going to bring up a feeling you had with your dad or someone important in your past and you can work through it in a reparative way.
You’re Not Alone in these Group Therapy Exercises
You learn to not take things personally when other people have those kinds of reactions to you—where their reaction to you is based on their past–because we’re doing that all the time in the world with one another. To have it be more like a lab, where you can slow it down and say, “Oh, wow, they just had that feeling. It wasn’t about me, it was about when they lost their sister.” That’s really healing. But group is also helpful for the joining with other people, being able to say, “Wow, that’s completely my experience,” and they realize they’re not alone and they get to deepen it through exploring it together. Someone will understand some aspect of it that the other person hadn’t quite gotten to and they’re saying, “Oh my gosh, me too, actually—exactly,” and then they get a whole new perspective.
Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy
It’s really good to learn about things that aren’t evident to you, initially, and might not become evident in individual therapy. Individual therapy focuses more on your story and what you know and exploring it from there. Individual therapy does open a lot of new insights, but group therapy can take what you learn there and blow things open for you. You can practice in real time, “I feel angry at you right now. How am I going to deal with that?” It’s all about having immediate feedback on how it goes and how people actually see you when they’re really being authentic and so are you.
Starting Group Therapy in Austin, TX
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