- Men’s Therapy Group
- Women’s Therapy Group
- Poems Written After Group Therapy
Group Therapy in Nashville, TN
Group therapy has been shown to have many benefits and to be as beneficial, or in some cases more beneficial, than individual therapy. Group therapy often helps people improve their interpersonal relationships. It addresses feelings of isolation, as well as depression and anxiety. It can help people make significant changes, so they can feel better about the quality of their lives.
Group therapy is particularly effective is helping individuals to overcome shame and low self-esteem. I sometimes say to a patient, “In childhood you were brainwashed into believing that there is something deeply wrong with you.” Implicit in shame is the sense that “others see me as flawed or inferior.” Group therapy offers a wonderful opportunity to “test out” this belief, and over time to be able to let go of the “brainwashing”, by experiencing through others reflections that one is really “okay” and not inferior.
For the past 24 years I have co-led an ongoing women’s group for “Adult Children of Narcissistic Families.” In these families, the needs of the parents took precedence over the needs of the children. A child is this type of family is asked to provide and/or be whatever the parents needs in order to feel whole. As a result, this child becomes an adult with such personality traits as a lack of self-confidence, a chronic need to please, difficulty being assertive, a vulnerability to depression, and she often has great difficulty identifying and acting upon her own feelings, wants, and needs. Group therapy can be of tremendous help in recovering from such a childhood and building self-esteem and a sense of self.
For many years I have also co-led and led men’s therapy groups. As the author and therapist Terrence Real has discussed in his excellent books, only recently have we begun to understand the ways in which the male role socialization process in our culture in inherently traumatic. The definition of manhood involves “standing up” to discomfort and pain.
Linguist Deborah Tannen, who analyzed women’s “rapport talk” versus men’s “report talk,” found that a vital component of conversation among women was what she called “trouble talk,” which invites the listener by opening up about one’s own difficulties. For men, however, the cultivation of a stance of invulnerability, and shame around exposing weakness, together conspire to cut men off from the potential healing that is found in community and in sharing. A men’s group offers the opportunity for men to explore our shared dilemmas rather than continuing to manifest such behaviors as irritability, dominance, addictions, and emotional unavailability, thus pushing away those whom we love and need.