By Scott Hendrickson, LCPC

When you are hurting or struggling with something like anxiety or your kids or something else like burnout, sometimes the last thing you would consider is joining a group with a bunch of other people with similar issues. Group therapy seems like the last resort to consider. It might even cause you more anxiety to consider such a treatment. (long thoughtful pause) Before you dismiss group therapy either for yourself or a friend, take a few moments to find out why group therapy might be beneficial for you and yours.

Oftentimes when someone has problems there is a desire to go hide. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed that others would know the extent and intensity of what you are going through. This is natural to withdraw away from people. I know when you have anxiety, you try to control as many parts of your life as possible in order to keep anxious feelings to a minimum and when you have a child who currently is hard to parent you might feel overwhelmed and too many voices just might push you over the edge. Resist this urge to isolate from people because it more often than not leads to more of the same struggles or worse. In fact, all of the journals and research confirm with one loud voice, isolating or withdrawing only perpetuates these problems and delays your recovery.

Group therapy is an intentionally constructed safe place to work through specific problems. Did you know that if you go to group therapy you do not have to talk? Until you feel more comfortable, you can simply pass the conversation to others in the group. No matter what, you will be sitting with people who have similar issues and the strategies and stories you hear from them will most likely encourage and instruct you.

In scripture, there are a whole bunch of verses called the ‘one another’ passages. These verses give powerful advice for health and recovery. What they suggest is that recovery is a process most effective when it is done Together. The writer of the book of James says, ‘confess one to another…and you will be healed.’ Together with likeminded strugglers, shows you that you are not alone in your struggle. Together with likeminded strugglers focuses more brain power on your concerns. Finally, therapy Together with others, makes getting help more affordable.

Groups are small, confidential and customized to the specific problems of the people in the group. In these groups, you find support and ideas to help form effective strategies that you might desperately need. I suggest groups provide (like no other place) that ‘T’ factor—the Together factor which can provide the kind of movement and momentum you have long desired for in your life. Over the next month there will be a continuing series of articles about how this ‘T’ factor can help you and yours. If you want more information on the therapy groups provided at Heritage Counseling Center, please visit this link or simply call us at 815.577.8970 (option 1).