I’m trying out a new therapy group tonight. After scouring the internet for weeks, I eventually found a group that meets weekly and is only a 30 minute drive from home. The chap who runs it is an Adlerian therapist. I’ve not encountered this approach before, so I am intrigued.
I was supposed to attend this group a few weeks ago, but I didn’t feel strong enough to put myself out there. Going into a group is nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t know the therapist. In hospital I could manage the fact that group members changed each week because I already had a relationship with the people running the sessions. There was familiarity and safety.
The meeting tonight is raising my anxiety levels somewhat, particularly as I have no idea where it is. I’m hoping the sat nav doesn’t let me down. What I am keeping in mind is the fact that people are only strangers until you introduce yourself. That sounds like common sense, but somehow it helps me rationalise the anxiety I get around being with people I don’t know. I only don’t know them until I know them.
Before I went into hospital I hated the concept of group therapy. As a child, I was sent to a horrendous therapy group with other abused children that only served to re-traumatise me. I hated everything about it and I just assumed that all group therapy would be frightening and patronising. It is deep rooted in my core belief system that nobody could hear about my past and present issues and really still want to be around. I had a strong ‘don’t speak’ message as a child when it came to the abuse.
What I found during group sessions in hospital was a great deal of strength. It was validating, to talk about my experiences and my feelings, be taken seriously and understood – not only be paid professionals, but by my peers. I found it a privilege to listen to others and give them my feedback. It was nourishing to be part of their recovery as well as having them alongside me on my journey.
I suppose that’s what I’m hoping to find tonight. Some like-minded people who have struggled too and are willing to listen and share. It all depends on who shows up and what the therapist is like, I’ve not met him or spoken to him before, but I am keeping an open mind. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Photo credit: Thomas8047, Creative Commons.