The Benefits of Group Therapy

By Nicki Line LMHC, LAPC, CST

Have you ever wondered what group therapy is, or what the point of group treatment would be for you? Depending on the issue, joining a group can be a helpful choice for making positive life changes.
Group therapy is a form of therapy where a small, selected group of people meet with a therapist, usually weekly. The purpose of group therapy is to help each person with emotional growth and problem solving. Sometimes a person can do both individual and group therapy, while others may only do a group.

According to Dr. Irvin Yalom in his book The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy identified 11 curative factors that are the “primary agents of change” in group therapy:

1. Installation of Hope: People come to a group to improve their lives. Each person in the group is at a different place in their emotional growth and can offer hope and inspiration to others by showing what they have learned and overcome.

2. Universality: Many who begin group therapy may feel isolated and alone. Being part of a group can help people feel understood and have a sense of belonging. Especially if you are apart of a small niche population such as sex work.

3. Information Giving: A big part of many therapy groups is increasing knowledge of a common problem. This helps members help themselves and others with the same or similar problems.

4. Altruism: The ability to help others in the group is a source of self esteem and increases self worth, especially in those that do not  think they have anything to offer others.

5. Corrective recapitulation of the primary family: Some people in group therapy may have stress or conflict in their family. The group can become a form of a family that can offer support and acceptance.

6. Improved Social Skills: Social learning, or the development of social skills, is something that occurs in therapy groups. Members offer feedback to each other about their behavior in ways that can improve relationships both in and outside of group.

7. Imitative Behavior: The therapist models appropriate prosocial behaviors such as active listening, non-judgemental feedback, and support. Over the course of the group the members can pick up on these behaviors and integrate them into their own behaviors. This can lead to improved social skills and self esteem.

8. Interpersonal Learning: Being a group can be an opportunity for members to work on their ability to relate to others and improve relationships.

9. Group cohesiveness: Wanting to belong to a group a main motivation for human behavior. Group therapy can help people feel accepted and valued. This is an important healing factor if members have felt isolated.

10. Catharsis: The release of conscious or unconscious feelings gives members a great sense of relief. Yalom states that it is a type of emotional learning, as opposed to intellectual understanding, that can lead to immediate and long lasting change.

11. Existential Factors: Groups can explore and process issues such as death, isolation, and meaninglessness and help them accept difficult realities.

Joining a group of strangers can seem intimidating at first, however, joining a group can provide benefits that individual therapy alone may not, such as providing a support network. Other group members can help formulate solutions and hold each member accountable for change. Also talking with and listening to others can help put problems in perspective. Others may share similar struggles and give each member the experience that they are not alone. Diverse feedback is another benefit of participating in a group. Each members’ personality and background can help examine problems in different ways. Members can learn many different strategies for tackling issues.

Intern Spotlight: Meet Sara Mercier-Kennedy

M.S. Clinical Mental Health Intern

Graduated from Colorado State University with a double Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology, where I focused on Gender Identity formation, and LGBTQIA+ issues.  Specifically those in relation to the Transgender population and access to health-care and mental health counseling by knowledgeable counseling professionals and doctors.  I then went on to my Master’s at Walden University where I continued this track and become actively involved in the ACA’s ALGBTIC division and served on a the committee for making language in documentation more accessible and gender neutral.  I picked up a specialization in Crisis & Trauma after working for Hospice and volunteering at the local LGBT center’s around my hometown and university.  Eventually I made my way to Florida from Colorado.  Gamer/Neet/Anime Weeb and all around enjoyer of life’s little self-care routines.

My main mission is to provide a safe, empathetic, and understanding environment for clients to explore who they are regardless of where they have been.  Healing begins by understanding ourselves, and through exploration of those things that have brought us joy as-well-as pain.  Understanding and acceptance of ourselves can ultimate lead us to not only the most authentic version of ourselves, but  a self that can truly accept others as well.

Sara is a great addition to our Harmony team. If you would like to set up a consult or session with Sara please contact HarmonyUS Inc by calling or text 209-867-7233.

How to Support Someone with Bulimia

Oftentimes a person with an eating disorder is too embarrassed to seek help. Other times, they may deny that they have a problem. So if you noticed a friend who may bulimic, here are some ways you could approach your friends to help them

  1. Educate yourself. You need to educate yourself on what bulimia is really about. Learn what kind of eating disorder is it. How does it come about? Why does it happen? What are the signs and symptoms of bulimia? What could you do to help them? Educate yourself first before trying to help another.
  2. Sit the person down and have a talk with them. Listen with understanding. Do not be judgmental. Tell them all you have learned about bulimia. Tell them you are being concerned about their health, their eating habits. Do not attack them. Attacking them would make them go on the defense and you would never be able to proceed from there on.
  3. Give your support. Tell that them you are there to give them support. You could always be available for them. Tell them that if they do not want to discuss the matter, it’s okay but you are always willing to help them should they change their mind. You could accompany them to a counselor or a physician to get themselves checked.
  4. You could also find a social group for your friend with other sufferers of bulimia. Together they would be able to help each other through it. These social groups will create a safe environment for your friend to feel comfortable in.
  5. Lastly, be kind and understanding. Know your limits. You can’t give them the professional help they need. Just be prepared to give them the moral support they need. Fighting bulimia may be a lifelong battle and they need all the help they can get. So be there for them!

 

Quit Drinking Today

Alcoholism is something that can’t be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there’s an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn’t let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

Even if the individual who’s an alcoholic faces social ridicule, family insistency, abuses, insults, and so forth he’s in a condition whereby he can’t dispense with the habit or compulsion which is beyond his command. His senses are entirely under the influence of alcohol and any sort of an attempt put forth by him to abandon the habit doesn’t work. He’s therefore entirely dependant on the beverage.

An alcohol-dependent person has such a hunger to drink that even if he happens to get into alcohol related hassles like drunk driving, losing his occupation, and so forth it doesn’t stop him from not abandoning the habit.Not everybody who ingests alcohol is an alcoholic. An individual who consumes alcohol in restricted quantities and is able to say no when he doesn’t wish to rink isn’t termed an alcoholic. He or she is merely a social drinker.

Social and family pressing may make an alcoholic abandon drinking for a time period, but it’s commonly not lasting. The alcoholic has to therefore determine to give up the substance abuse voluntarily. Alternate treatment for alcohol addiction has gained in fame in recent times. This treatment technique involves blending both traditional and modern scientific techniques of treatment for particular symptoms.  Contrary to treatment of other diseases alcohol addiction ought to be treated with additional care. An effective alternative treatment includes acupuncture. This has turned out to be successful in a lot of cases. Acupuncturists apprise patients to take this as a support treatment along with additional treatments.

About Budgeting

There’s an old adage in finance world: “You have to have good defense or offense – save more or bring in more.”

There are a lot of ways to lay aside income and it could go a long way toward helping your budget. A personal budget is a financial plan which sets boundaries on the sum of money that will be spent on every category of expenses in a given month. A great budget will take into consideration such factors like: the sum of income being obtained, outstanding debt to be retired, retirement savings, and an emergency fund.

Many individuals have no idea precisely where or how they spend a great portion of their cash. How many times have you taken cash from the ATM only to realize a few days later that it’s gone? A lot of times it is hard to remember how precisely you spent the cash, and frequently this cash is wasted on frivolous purchases. A budget will help prevent this from occurring by making a individual accountable for the cash that they spend.

Here are a few ways to cut down spending.

Reduce coffee drinks. If you put into savings 4 dollars a day you’d have spent on a latte at Starbucks, the cash would grow in 30 years at five percent interest to $100,000. If you do simply have to have something to drink, buy a bottle of juice: It’s better for you and less expensive.

Pack your lunch rather than eating out. Spending 5 to 10 bucks a day going out to lunch will rapidly add up to a heap of cash.

If you buy anything ask yourself 3 times “do I really need to have this?” Chances are your quality of life would be better without it or at any rate the same.

Know the power of compounding interest. Basically, saving when you’re in your youth will put time on your side. When you’re ready to retire from working in twenty to thirty years, your cash will be earning some severe interest.

Make a point to live just below your means. You don’t have to be live like a pauper to save cash, just go one step below what you gave the sack get by with. Instead of a BMW, purchase a less expensive automobile. Rather than a 2 week vacation, go for a 10 day vacation. Lay aside the rest in the bank!

Couples in Conflict:The Top Three Articles for Conflict and Repair

Manage Conflict: The Six Skills

Today on the Gottman Relationship Blog, we continue the discussion of Manage Conflict by introducing Dr. Gottman’s six skills of conflict management. Many of us connect all too well with comedian Mitch Hedberg’s feelings when he quips, “I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap!”

While his commentary on the frustrations all couples feel in the face of conflict may hit close to home, or deeply amuse us, we know that problems in real relationships are rarely solved through stand-up comedy. In the interest of finding more constructive solutions, we would like to direct you to a different quote, that lovely old adage: Love is saying “I feel differently” instead of “you’re wrong.”

Read More

Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman’s research proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. These may be things like personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way, or long-standing issues around spending and saving money. Their research findings emphasize the idea that couples must learn to manage conflict rather than avoid or attempt to eliminate it.

Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth. Let’s look at three “conflict blueprints” to help you and your partner constructively manage conflict around unsolvable problems.

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5 Steps to Fight Better if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” However, Dr. Gottman has found that nearly 1/3 of all conflicts can be resolved with the right approach.

The popular approach to conflict resolution, advocated by many marriage therapists, is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen to what they say, and communicate with empathy that you understand their perspective. It’s a decent method if you can do it.

But most couples can’t. Even happily married couples. After studying couples for the last 40 years, Dr. John Gottman has recognized that even happy couples do not follow the experts’ rules of communication.

By studying what these couples did, Dr. Gottman developed a new model for solving your solvable problems in an intimate relationship.

Read More

 

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