Question: WHY GROUP THERAPY?
Group therapy offers open sharing, peer feedback, new ideas, differing points of view, emotional intelligence, a sense of continuation and real community. Group is a simulation of family complexity, offering a channel for intimacy and interpersonal communication at a level of openness that many people NEVER really enjoyed in their families of origin. As such, it offers what has been called “a corrective emotional experience.” Group therapy provides a new circle of trust, support, and friendship that may be lacking in one’s current situation.
I have been running groups professionally for many years, all kinds of groups. My key aims in group therapy are:
- Working in the here-and-now
- Moving our focus from outside to inside, abstract to specific, generic to personal
- Recognizing/commenting on the process dimension of what’s occurring
- Preferring neither speech nor silence.
- Being intimate yet detached-discovering a desireless way of being
WHAT DO WE TALK ABOUT? Nothing in particular. There are no set topics in my groups but sharing “orbits” around certain general themes and experiences– relationship hotspots, work, emotional health, dating patterns and vulnerabilities, sex, divorce, parenting, loneliness, spirituality, and change. Group therapy provides a level of connection through shared vulnerability, diversity, truthfulness, and sincerity that may not be easily achieved in other contexts. At the heart of a good group is the experience of “genuine belonging.” At Moonlight, groups are typically very interactive, supportive, spiritual, and conversational in tone.
Some clients prefer group over individual or couples therapy for its obvious social and interpersonal benefits (and challenges). Group is also more affordable than individual therapy, though one obviously does not get as much direct attention at any given session. But something very positive develops from participating in the lives of fellow group members over time. Often it becomes the preferred support system in an individual’s busy and complex life due to its depth, confidentiality, and highly interactive context. Disclosing something really powerful in group therapy can be akin to expressing a core personal truth to one’s family of origin, or even the world at large.
IS IT SCARY?
No, actually it’s more playful and relaxed, though there may be moments that are pretty intense. Members are predisposed to be generous and welcoming to new members. I don’t see much value in intense confrontation or forced sharing as favored in some groups; one is free to express as much (or little) as they choose. Regular attendance is assumed (not enforced) and weekly meetings have occurred consistently without exception. Members are never “pushed” to discuss or disclose if they’re NOT ready to do so at anytime (which, paradoxically, gives tremendous permission to disclose if one chooses to!). There is definitely a sense of liberation when one shares their true experience in this intimate community.
MEMBERSHIP Many participants in my groups have worked with me previously in individual therapy or relational counseling, or perhaps have come for a tarot consultation or class before and are now wanting to stay engaged with my work via group. Wonderful! Others come “fresh off the boat” without previous therapeutic background at Moonlight (or ever) to interact and reflect psychologically outside their familiar circles for greater privacy, objectivity, and perhaps, new perspective.
Membership can be arranged after we’ve spoken by phone regarding “readiness” and availability/openings. all Dr. Art Rosengarten to discuss group membership, fees, time commitment etc. (760) 944-6710