Why should I consider attending group therapy?

Simply put, because…“One achieves mental health to the extent that one becomes aware of one’s interpersonal relationships.”*

There have likely been many times in your life when you wished to clarify a relationship, to be really honest about your positive and negative feelings with someone and get reciprocally honest feedback. The general structure of society, however, does not often permit totally open communication; feelings are hurt, relationships are fractured; misunderstandings arise; and eventually, communication ceases.

The therapy group is one of the only environments in which such honest interpersonal exploration is not only permitted but encouraged. If you are worried or conflicted about your methods of relating to others, the group setting, which encourages honest interpersonal exploration can provide a clear opportunity to learn many valuable things about yourself.

Working on your relationships directly with other group members will not be easy; in fact, it may be very stressful. But it is crucial because if you can completely understand and work out your relationships with the other group members, there will be an enormous carry over to the outside world. You will then find pathways to more rewarding relationships with significant people in your life now and with people you have yet to meet.

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Offices in Appleton and New London, Wisconsin

When is your next group and how do I sign up?

Call Full Circle Counseling Services at 920.982.4242 to learn more about participating in group therapy. Often you will need to attend several individual sessions prior to being considered for group therapy participation.

Groups run for a minimum of 12 weeks, sometimes longer and are “closed” groups, meaning the same members remain from beginning to end. There are no set dates regarding the start of new groups, but give us a call and we will be able to give you an estimate of when you will be likely be able to participate.

What group therapy is NOT…

Full Circle Counseling is one of the few (perhaps the only?) Fox Valley counseling agency that offers true psycho-therapeutic groups; group psychotherapy is a unique, efficient and highly effective form of therapy that offers you the potential to process through interpersonal dynamics in the “here and now”. Individual counseling can not achieve this in the same way or with the same impact.

Psycho-therapeutic group counseling is:

  • NOT a support group, such as a “divorce support group or “depression support group”; there is no primary topic to be discussed and it is not facilitated by a volunteer or group members themselves. Rather it is psycho-therapy in a group format lead by one or most often two licensed professional counselors with experience in group facilitation.
  • NOT a cheaper way to attend counseling; while group counseling may cost slightly less per group session, it requires a once or twice weekly commitment for a minimum of 12 weeks or longer. At Full Circle, we do not accept insurance for group psychotherapy, so all fees are paid out of pocket and ahead of time to ensure your space in the group. Participating in group therapy often requires more time and a more personal financial commitment than individual counseling sessions.
  • NOT a psycho-educational group; there will be no teaching, lecturing, workbooks, handouts or psycho-educational components in this group. Many agencies offer psycho-education groups, such as “anger management” groups or “how to parent your teenager” type groups which are helpful in their own ways, but again, this is therapy in a group setting, without any educational or topical component.

More about why you should attend…The Benefits of Group Therapy:

There are many benefits to group therapy; including, the following as detailed by Irvin D. Yalom in his book The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy:

  • The instillation of hope: The group contains members at different places on the “coping-collapsing” continuum of life. Seeing people who are coping well or recovering can give you and other group members hope, regardless of where they fall on that continuum.
  • Universality: As a group member you will recognize your similarity to others, share group member’s deepest concerns, and benefit from emotional catharsis and ultimate acceptance by the members.
  • Imparting information: You will share information with or receive information from other members; the process and patterns of exactly how these exchanges take place can provide valuable insights to your personal growth.
  • Altruism: You will receive through giving; both through the reciprocal act of giving and receiving support, understanding and advice, but also from the intrinsically non-self-absorbed act of giving.
  • The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The group is representative of your family of origin within which you can explore how your childhood experiences have contributed to your current personality and behaviors. With this awareness you can learn to avoid interpersonal behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in real life and replace them with healthier alternatives.
  • Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a safe and supportive environment, allowing you to experiment with new social behaviors without the fear of failure and with honest feedback.
  • Imitative behavior: You are given the opportunity to try out and model healthy behavior of other group members or observe and imitate the behavior of the therapist. Your attunement to and empathy for others may increase, your tendency to judge others, decrease, and you may gain increased conflict resolution skills as well as have a heightened and more effective responsivity to others.
  • Interpersonal learning: The group creates a social microcosm within which you, as a member, can learn more about yourself via interpersonal relationships within the group. Group provides a “safe container” for you and others to process through difficulties often resulting in “Ah-ha moments” and “corrective emotional experiences”.
  • Group cohesiveness: As a member, you may dare to share your inner world with others and then feel the group’s acceptance and approval; an experience that is essential to healing and continued personal growth.
  • Catharsis: You will have the opportunity to express feelings and share important life experiences within an understanding and supportive group; this sharing, together with the opportunity for cognitive learning about your feelings and experiences, can create profound and lasting change and facilitate personal growth.
  • Existential factors: Within a group counseling process, you as a member ultimately are able to increase your sense of life meaning and purpose, as well as your ability to tolerate what cannot be changed in your life.

Women’s Therapy Group

This group offers you a safe, supportive, nurturing and confidential environment in which to work through your unique issues. It is most helpful for women who want to continue to learn valuable insights about themselves and their interpersonal communication and relationship skills. This type of therapy group focuses on your inter-relational self and provides the rare opportunity to learn about yourself through the observation, feedback and wisdom of group members. Limit of 8 participants.

Contact Full Circle Counseling at 920.982.4242 for additional information.

*This quote and much of the following text and ideas, are taken directly from AThe Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy@ by Irvin D. Yalom.