My Thoughts on Group Therapy

A few of my fellow bloggers have asked me over the course of my blog why I don’t do group therapy. I thought it best to write about it a blog post.

Group therapy is just not something I am comfortable with in my life, it is effective for most people, but for me, ​it gives me a ton of anxiety because it is a place that you share with others.

That statement might sound weird considering every day I share another piece of my life here on my blog. But it feels safe to talk about my diagnosis and everything that comes along with it because I am behind a screen. I can write what I want to talk about in my own set time, and I can focus on the topic without the anxiety that comes from social situations and my social anxiety.

It has everything to so my social anxiety that I deal with on a daily basis. Being around people that I have never met and sharing my story is something at this moment I am comfortable with. My past experiences in group therapy. have all been really bad to the point where I gave up on the concept. Let me explain.

I was twenty-two when I first tried to take my life, and that landed me in the psych ward for a week on a 51/50. Everything was new and I was very vulnerable because I had just attempted to end my life and I really still wanted to at the time. How could I share that with the people, who at the time I didn’t I identified with, and tell them how I really feel? There was just no way.

Still, I was forced into group therapy. It was the scariest thing in the world to have people share their experiences with me. I didn’t want to be a part of the whole thing and as soon as it started, I wanted it to end. I chose not to share my story each time they forced me into the group therapy sessions, and my anxiety hit a high peak (high for that time.) I decided right then and there that these types of social situations were to be avoided at all costs.

Since that time, I have turned down every offer from my psychiatrists and therapists to try group therapy, for the last ten years.

I realize now how that is probably working against me, but I am just not comfortable with sharing my life face to face with people. At least not yet. I know now that my diagnosis was right, but that took me three years to figure out and seven more before I could share my life through my writing. I know that for some people group therapy works, and it means the world when my fellow bloggers recommend that I try it.

My biggest fear comes from the place where all my bad thoughts about social anxiety come from, people not accepting me for who I am. When I am out in the world I think that people will know that I am Bipolar (It doesn’t bother me as much anymore because I am sharing my story with the world right now) but there is a big difference between writing about my issues and talking about them with complete strangers.

I am comfortable here writing my story and within the confines of my memoir.

Its logical for me.

Still, as I work towards getting my life back on track especially with my anxiety, it might be time to open up to the idea of group therapy. It has been ten years, and as much as I have resisted I may need to think about more effective ways to combat my war with anxiety.

People can change. Maybe its time for me to change too.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Tegan Mierle

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27 Replies to “My Thoughts on Group Therapy”

  1. We tried group therapy for Nicole a few years ago and it was beneficial at the time, although it took awhile for her to come around. I am going to be reaching out to the same group again, but for a more specialized group therapy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think sometimes it all comes down to the right group and right therapist as well. Nicole is not wanting to go but has success in the past. She says she does not want to tell everyone her problems… But like the guidance counselor at school. So I am going to start with him.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Group therapy was never my thing really.. I know it works well for some, but hearing other people discuss like stories was not helpful to me… it just pulled me down further. Besides, I always found that the groups I participated in were often monopolized by one or two people, who were there, essentially to get pats on the back for how how ‘hard they had it’ in comparison to everyone else. Just my experience with them though. I am sure that an effectively facilitated group has different merits (as I have also been on the facilitating end of them, hopefully to a more successful degree) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a great point and one I was hoping to convey. It’s just not for everyone. I have found them very counterproductive. Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  3. Group therapy does nothing for me. I still go. It makes me leave my house at least once every week. That is literally the only reason I go. I have panic attacks all the time and come with my own extra soft kleenex. I also have a service cat for my anxiety and she comes with me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Service animals are where it is at for people with anxiety. I live alone, yet I can not leave my house alone. I was very lucky my kitten was able to be trained. She loves going out. She meows ‘hi’ at people.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. We don’t really have service animals in Australia in the same way, but I just wanted to say how precious my cats have been for me with my anxiety and depression. I’m glad you have your kitten, she sounds beautiful. I am eternally grateful for my beautiful cat, Alistair.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes, we find it easier to share our thoughts with complete strangers, because they don’t know us, and expected nothing of us, that, is why group therapy had worked for me, and, having the supports from people listening to you talk about your problems beats dealing with it alone, you may just need to slowly, open yourself up to it, and it will help you a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually understand this. My therapist and psychiatrist recommend me attending a women’s only group for mental health. But I can’t bring myself to go. It takes me a while to trust people to open up. (It took 4 months with 2 visits a week for me to open up to my current therapist. How could I do that with a room full of strangers?) And to add to that fact I live in a very small area. Very small and my family is well known. I won’t take the risk that they will find out something I said or didn’t say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. It took me almost six months before I could be truly open about my past experiences with my therapist. Being with the same therapist over the last almost three years has helped stabilize my life quite a bit. I really understand what you mean about group therapy and I am glad to hear that I am not alone in this, because sometimes it does feel that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This pretty much sums up why I’m not into group therapy. On my blog, I have my pseudonym and the chance to think about things between writing them and hitting submit. Fortunately, I’ve never even been offered group therapy. The groups always seem to be during the business hours or right at 5pm. I have a job that demands more than 40 hours as part of the culture. My therapist has to do like 8pm sessions already. No one even suggests group, yay me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am realizing that more and more people are agreeing with me about group therapy. It makes me feel better about not doing it, but I am looking forward to at least trying it one last time hopefully in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can very much understand this having had a couple of bad experiences with group therapy in my early and mid-teens. In fact, one of my experiences sent me to my first appointment with a full-on psychologist (prior to that I’d been seeing a counsellor). I think it’s much more difficult to share stories with people face to face for me as I worry they will take advantage of it in some way (as has happened before), or that I will be able to see their judgement of me.

    I think it’s easier to be open over the internet because you have the chance to fully judge the space before sharing. That’s one of the reasons I think the space you’ve created with The Bipolar Writer blog is so incredible. I don’t think it’s necessarily easy to share honestly about depression, anxiety, bipolar and suicide, but you’ve created a space where people feel safe and therefore it’s much easier to be open. That’s a very precious thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, I can edit and make each post fit what I want to say. When I talk it’s not always easy when my mind is racing. But writing I can get everything down that I need to in the confines of my blog.

      Like

  8. It took me 9 months in group therapy before I was comfortable enough to talk. I get extremely anxious even now (going on 11 months), but at least I can talk a little. I don’t know if group therapy has helped me address my social anxiety per se, but I have noticed I am expressing my thoughts and emotions a little more easily. The biggest thing I have gained is support and encouragement in a nonjudgemental space. Having a good facilitator is key. The first group I tried had a crappy therapist leading, and I would leave feeling worse. Then I switched to a group led by a therapist who was a Certified Group Therapist, and it was a game changer.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I cannot even imagine being in group therapy! The idea of opening up in person about my innermost thoughts and fears is terrifying to me. I blog about my illness under a pseudonym for a reason LOL! I have social anxiety too, and the only way I overcame that is by embodying a public persona. There is an invisible wall between my public persona and the “real me” and I choose to keep it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I blog under a pseudonym as well for those reasons so I understand and because I really like my writing name versus my real name. Thank you for sharing this with me.

      Liked by 1 person

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