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Why Group Therapy

Do you feel like you're struggling with your mental health and don't know where to turn? Shoreside Therapies can help. This video will introduce you to our group therapy program for 18-25-year-olds.

My name is Calvin Hanson, and I'm the group facilitator at Shoreside Therapies. We offer a wide range of services here, but one of our most popular programs is group therapy for young adults aged 18-25. In this video, I'm going to introduce you to the program and tell you a little about what it entails.

Why Join a Group Instead of Individual Therapy?
How Would a Group Benefit Me?
What Do I Talk About in the Group?
How Do I Know What Type of Group Format to Choose?
What If I’m Too Uncomfortable to Discuss My Problems?
Is What I Say Kept Confidential?
Some Common Misconceptions About Group Therapy.

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Video Transcript

Laurie: Hi, my name is Laurie Groh. I'm co-owner at Shoreside Therapies. Today we have Calvin Hanson with us today, so thanks for joining me.

Calvin: Yeah, thanks for having me again, Laurie.

Laurie: Yeah! So the topic today is one of my favorites and that's group therapy. Calvin is going to be offering a group coming up here, so we thought it would be great to go over some of the common questions people might have before they start a group and questions they should probably ask themselves or you before they join.

Calvin: Sounds good.

Laurie: All right, so let's start out with the first one. Why join a group instead of individual therapy? And maybe that's not even an either/or, but what do you think?

Calvin: Yeah, I think group is a good opportunity to meet other people who are in a similar situation as you, maybe even a little different, and just to share your ideas and get comfortable opening up in front of other people about maybe your mental health concerns and just being in a community where you can feel supported by other people so that it's maybe not just you feeling alone as much.

Laurie: Yeah, I think that is extremely powerful, when somebody is going through something difficult, to feel like they're not the only ones experiencing that. They might not be experiencing that exact situation. That's probably never going to be recreated exactly, but somebody's experiencing anxiety. I know for me I have clients that feel very alone in that or feel really alone when they're feeling depressed like no one else out there is experiencing this. And group, I mean you run groups all the time. I think it's a way that you get to see it in action, that you're not alone and that other people are going through similar things.

Calvin: Yeah, and especially with this group since everyone's from 18 to 25 years old, everyone's in the same cohort, so feeling like you're at a similar point in life as well can be helpful.

Laurie: I think so too. Sometimes age differences can be helpful in a group and sometimes it's better to keep it within the same range so that there's not so many different areas to talk about. And then you know that there's going to be people that are going through the life stage in the same time as you. So you said 18 to 25 Calvin. Would you mind telling us a little bit about the group before I ask you any other questions, if we could hear a little bit about what the group will be?

Calvin: Yeah, so this group is going to be focused on things like anxiety and depression and it will be an in- person group. So we'll be meeting in the upstairs location, at Shoreside Therapies in one of the offices, and it'll be an hour and a half long group. So about 45 minutes will be spent doing check-ins and allowing the clients to kind of share, maybe what they're going through at the time and introduce themselves, kind of share some ideas between each other. And then the other portion of group will be spent doing something based on education, so kind of giving some skills, some knowledge and things like that that can kind of help them in their daily lives moving forward.

Laurie: Yeah, I love that combination of the two and keeping it a little bit separate. I mean you might obviously be talking about those skills and how those were used in the following session, but I love that the first part is really deciding what is on their minds and what they're working on, so that they know how those educational parts will, how it will help them. And so what are some of the I know on our website you talk a little bit of the topics that will be discussed. Would you mind just sharing a few of those topics?

Calvin: So a few of those topics. One of them would just be like distress tolerance, which is just dealing with the things that come along with anxiety and depression, learning how to manage your emotions, how to kind of recognize some of the thoughts that come along with those and then also looking at the behaviors as well, so things that we can do in those moments when we're feeling anxious or depressed, to kind of help us out, otherwise really working on things like mindfulness, just becoming more aware of what's going on inside of us as well as what's going on outside of us and getting better and not maybe judging ourselves as much and just seeing things as they really are.

Laurie: Yeah, I think that's great. I think that's great and it sounds like you had a listing of a lot of different areas to cover. So somebody walking into this group is not only going to get that support but the actual tools, real day-to-day tools that they can leave saying okay, I know what to do now when this pops up.

Calvin: And it'll kind of give them some time between the sessions to practice those and then come back and reflect on how those went and share with the group.

Laurie: Yeah, that's awsome, all right kind of a similar question, but I don't know if you have anything else to add on this, how would a group benefit somebody? So somebody's deciding, okay, I want to do some work. What would be some of the benefits? Sounds like one of them is not feeling alone and normalizing what someone's going through.

Calvin: Yeah, I think it's a good way to connect with other people too, especially during these times when maybe we're feeling a little isolated just to get face-to-face meetings with someone else and kind of have some structure to your weekend. I mean Saturdays might be one of those days where you like to sleep in and maybe you don't get up and do much. So getting up and having something to go to and knowing that there'll be other people there to see that can be of benefit.

Laurie: Yeah, I think, yeah, totally right at that life stage, I know for me, I was not a morning riser. Still, I'm not... My kids kind of make me get up a little earlier than I would want. But yeah, having that extra structure on a Saturday, I didn't think about that and how important that could be for someone.

Calvin: Yeah!

Laurie: All right, so what do I talk about in the group? We kind of went over a little bit of that, but what would somebody, you know, their first session, walking into the group, what would they want to share?

Calvin: I mean it can really be as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. I know coming into a new situation can be kind of stressful and a little uncomfortable, but it could just be as simple as introducing yourself and talking a little bit about what you're going through at this time and things that you've been trying and maybe kind of what you're hoping to get out of the group.

Laurie: Yeah, and you bring up a good point where there might be some feelings of being uncomfortable, and I would imagine almost everybody walking into that group is going to feel a little bit uncomfortable, and so I do think that's another thing for everybody to recognize is that some might feel more uncomfortable than others, but everybody's sort of in that same boat. This is going to be a new experience. Maybe they've done groups before, but every group is going to be a new experience, new culture that's being built, new norms, and so that's to be expected, and that's and that's okay.

Calvin: Yeah, exactly!

Laurie: So we just talked about this question, so we probably don't need to go too much more into it. But what if somebody is feeling uncomfortable discussing their problems?

Calvin: I mean, I think that's normal to feel uncomfortable and I think one of the only ways to get more comfortable is to come to the group and maybe watch other people share first and see how they do it and learn that it is safe to do that and then gradually challenge yourself to share a little bit more. And if it is hard to share during a group, maybe individual sessions are more appropriate to talk about some of that stuff.

Laurie: Yeah, and maybe work into moving in towards the group too.

Calvin: Yeah!

Laurie: Yeah, I think that's a great suggestion of just try it out. You know if, if it doesn't work or if it is too uncomfortable, doing that individual session and working your way up. You know to go back into the group, but yeah, you don't have to share everything right away.

Calvin: Exactly.

Laurie: Same with individual therapy, you don't have to say, you don't have to dump out every single thing that's going on for you right away if you don't feel comfortable yet. It doesn't have to be just one session that you just you know blah blah blah a lot. This is everything.

Calvin: Yeah exactly, it's a process and it takes time, so it's not like everything is going to change in one group, but overtime, things can definitely progress.

Laurie: Yeah, and the more you're doing that, the more comfortable you'll be. Even if you're not talking all that much, each and every time it's going to be just a little bit easier.

Calvin: Yeah!

Laurie: All right, so this is, I think, a really important question. What I say in the group, is it confidential?

Calvin: So before every group, I like to remind everyone that what's discussed in group is staying in group and between the people there, so not sharing information about other group members, identifying information or maybe specifics that people could figure out. So yeah, obviously it's difficult in a group setting to maintain confidentiality, but that's our ultimate goal is to make sure that everyone feels safe and that their information is kept in that group.

Laurie: Yeah, yeah, I think it's an important agreement for everybody, because otherwise change in real work can't really happen if you're feeling nervous that other people will be sharing your information.

Calvin: Yeah, it's definitely something that takes seriously.

Laurie: Yes, yeah, and it's something we have limits to. Like you said, we can't control everybody outside of the group. But if everybody is in agreement and they're signing off on that, that there is that accountability to keep everything confidential. Alright, so what about some misconceptions about group therapy? Do you think there are any misconceptions? Do you know of any?

Calvin: I think sometimes people think group therapy is a place to come and maybe meet people to hang out with outside of treatment, and I think group therapy is more about therapeutic relationship. So really learning how to connect with people in a professional way and to kind of have our own separate lives and to really focus on ourselves and not necessarily devote all of our time and energy to other people.

Laurie: Yeah, and I think too, I know I was talking with some of our other therapists recently and you know sometimes a client might say: I think my friends are feeling burdened by some of the things I want to talk about or what I'm going through in my life, and group therapy would be a real, I guess, a really good outlet for them so that they are feeling like this is the place that I know 100% is meant for that and you know we could challenge some of their beliefs on are you really burdening your friends or not? That work can also be done in the group, but it might make somebody feel more comfortable if this is my social support for now for some of these more intense topics.

Calvin: Yeah, yeah, it's definitely more than even just a social support too. It's for all kinds of things.

Laurie: So Calvin, did I miss anything? Is there anything else you want to share regarding the group?

Calvin: Yeah, I mean, I guess I didn't mention when it starts, so we'll be starting on Saturday, July 9th, so we'll be meeting on Saturday at noon until 1:30. I'm also offering a little discount for anyone who wants to enroll before the first session, just to kind of get the group numbers up before we get going, and I just, I guess I encourage people to come and try it out and see how they feel.

Laurie: Yeah, yeah, and if they have any questions they can reach out to you. So if you want to, if you want to sign up, if you want to reach out, go ahead and go on our website at shoresidetherapies.com. You'll find Calvin's information there and you can go ahead and email, text, call... and, if you want to have a consult before, to just make sure you're sure, you know, Calvin's free to do that as well. All right, well, thanks so much Calvin!

Calvin: Yeah, thank you, Laurie.

Laurie: All right, we'll talk soon.

Calvin: All right, bye!

Laurie: Bye!