Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a form of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Group therapy in the Cognitive-Behavioral form focuses on behavior change by working with thinking and its direct effects on behaviors. Education and goal-setting are emphasized. Specifically, the group process I lead combines education about anxiety and depression, techniques to increase open, honest communication in relationships, practice of skills, homework assignments to act on goals, and increasing connectedness by supporting and helping each other. Each meeting begins with a short meditation to get settled and present. Next, there is a quick check-in where each group member states what he notices he is thinking and feeling about being there that evening, what “agenda items” he wants to include in that meeting, and where he needs help putting values into action in his everyday life. This last part of check-in includes reminding the other group members of our goals for therapy, our goals for action from the previous week, overall how much we enacted the goals, where we see progress and where we feel stuck. We listen to each other attentively (paying attention to words, facial expressions, and body language), and then we check to make sure we are getting each other by paraphrasing what we heard, noting what we saw, and asking if we got it right. We then discuss whether check-in has identified a specific topic or skill that the group wants to explore that evening. If nothing in particular is identified, we then continue with a general discussion about any developments in group members’ lives.
You might wonder why you would choose group therapy. The idea of individual or relationship therapy prompts enough apprehension. Why would you add to that the apprehension of going through that discomfort in front of a bunch of people you hardly know? You might imagine, too, that listening to other people’s problems will be either tedious or overwhelming. Actually, though, the opposite is true. The process of getting to know the other group members and letting them get to know you is at the heart of group therapy. Social engagement–talking with others, listening attentively, making eye contact–actually helps us to think and feel clearly. While you will inevitably feel some discomfort (it being a natural part of change), you will have the advantage of others being there with you, supporting you and challenging you to confront the things that limit your life. You get the added benefit of giving the same back to them.
Benefits of Group Therapy
- Build rapport with others through shared purpose of taking action to live in an empowered, vital way
- Learn with and from other people as you set goals
- Develop awareness of how thoughts, emotions, and choices are related through group activities and conversations about responses
- Develop present-moment awareness through group activities and direct engagement with others
- Become a “therapeutic helper” for others by listening actively, expressing empathy, and reflecting back what you hear and see; receive therapeutic help from others
I invite you to explore the option of group therapy. You can start the conversation by calling me at (512) 789-6754; or, you can go ahead and schedule an appointment with me by clicking the button below. Either way, I look forward to speaking with you.