What is Group Therapy and How Can It Help Me?


Are you having difficulty asserting yourself? Do you just seem to get stuck in the same rut all the time? “I want my life to be different but I don’t know how.” Does this statement sound familiar? If so, you may benefit from group therapy.


Group therapy is like a practice field for experimenting with new behaviors and learning skills in a “virtual reality”. In group therapy, one is challenged because members experience similar interpersonal challenges to those they experience in their “real lives”. The interpersonal relationships in group are similar to those present in your family of origin or previous relationships, and even those at work. We give the member assignments to try new behaviors that have not been tried before. These assignments or new behaviors are geared to challenge your old ideas of how you are supposed to live your life. For example, if an individual has always been very passive and rarely asserts themselves, assignments may be finding a variety of different ways to challenge the belief of “I am only loved or cared for if I please others.” Examples of this kind of assignment include saying “no” at least once every day or making a daily request of someone. Another type of assignment is called “Outrageous Requests” which consists of challenging the belief of scarcity and to see new outcome possibilities. In subsequent groups, this person’s experience with this assignment is processed, challenged and supported. It is in this group feedback that growth and change can happen. The validation and feedback within a safe group format are encouraging and empowering.


The group is structured and utilizes maximum accountability. This provides group members with the safety that is needed to try out new behaviors and change their lives. The structures of the group looks like this; the group starts with a 3 minute check-in, a discussion of their own reactions from the prior group, and progress on their assignments (new behaviors). These reactions are about how they felt, ways they changed, or places they became stuck by old patterns.


Group therapy is for a variety of people in a variety of situations. An interview is required to become part of the group to assure that it is the right fit. Overall, group therapy can maximize your growth by maximizing feedback in the moment in regards to how you impact other people. It is also a great place to practice a new reality, or way of being, that you would like to try out.


For further information regarding group therapy at Personal Growth Associates, please call Dr. Joseph Ripp at 847-413-9700, ext. 315 or Dr. Mark Bakal, ext. 314.