“I am scared group members will talk about what I say outside the group.”
In group, confidentiality is taken very seriously. The rule of thumb is “what is said in group, remains in group.” Confidentiality-related concerns are ALWAYS thoroughly discussed at the outset of group counseling to help each member feel safe in group.
“I have so much trouble talking to people; I’ll never be able to share in a group.”
Most (if not all) people are anxious about talking in group. You will begin to feel less anxious and more comfortable over time as you observe and listen to other group members.
“I’m afraid I will be judged or criticized by the leaders or other group members.”
It’s very important that members feel safe in the group. Group counselors are there to help develop a safe environment and will work to maintain a constructive and caring atmosphere for all group members. A benefit of group therapy is receiving feedback from others who are trying to help. Group counselors help members to give feedback in a way that is respectful, thoughtful, and constructive.
“What if another member of the group is my friend or classmate?”
We often realize how small a world we live in! If you happen to know someone in the group, please inform the group counselors. The group counselor can help explore the extent of the relationship and make adjustments as needed. You can choose to discontinue group if you do not feel comfortable.
“In group, I am expected to disclose my deepest secrets.”
You will be encouraged to share at a level that feels comfortable to you. It is common to feel uncomfortable at times when sharing, though most find their level of safety and willingness to talk increases as the group progresses. You may be invited by the group counselor or other members to discuss your reactions or personal concerns, but you will never be forced to do or share something you do not want to.
“If I am in group, I will not get enough attention or may not get my needs met.”
Group members are often surprised by how their concerns are being addressed, even when others are speaking. Recognizing how your own experiences may be related or how you can connect with another member can also help you to learn from others and facilitate personal growth.
“Hearing another member’s problems will make me feel or get worse.”
Quite opposite to this apprehension, group members often report gaining a sense of connection by hearing other’s struggles that are similar to their own. Group can help you learn to sit with others who are suffering, as well as increasing tolerance of your own suffering, in a way that is compassionate and helpful. In group therapy, you not only receive help from but also provide help to others members, which positively contributes to your self-esteem.
“Group Therapy is second-best to individual therapy.”
Group therapy has been recommended to you because your counselor believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. Group therapy is not used at Counseling and Consultation Services as a means of dealing with individual therapy over-flow. Rather, we recommend group therapy when we believe it is the most effective treatment method to help you. In fact, group is frequently the treatment of choice, and group is in many ways the very best of what we have to offer.