FAQs - Group Therapy
Q: Is it confidential?
Yes, confidentiality is the cornerstone of group work. Every client is required to sign a group confidentiality agreement before attending group.
Q: How will you know if a GCS group is a good fit for me?
You and I will meet for a session prior to attending group in order to determine if a Growth Counseling group is a good fit for you at this point in your process.
Q: What is expected of me as a group participant?
To honor confidentiality, to attend regularly, to respect the boundaries of your group mates, to respect the group facilitator, to not monopolize the group discussion, to participate respectfully, to ask questions, to receive feedback, to listen and respect others without interruption, to complete the exercises and reading, to receive clinical direction from the group therapist, and to accept feedback and direction on when it is time to end your time in group and move forward in your healing journey.
Q: Can I just drop in to see what it is like?
In order to respect confidentiality, Growth Counseling provides closed groups. What this means is that the group is closed after the second meeting for that particular module in order to establish trust, safety and healthy bonding. It is important that the group boundaries be respected so that each member feels safe and focused.
Q: Myself or my spouse deals with compulsive sexual behaviors. Is "sex addiction real"?
While it is important to remember that "sex addiction" is not a current diagnosis in the DSM [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that therapists use to diagnosis clients], the term "sex addiction" is now a very prevalent part of our every day language. It is also how many clients self identify when seeking treatment for their impulsive choices around sexual acting out. However, no matter how one labels impulsive sexual choices, the clients I work with deal with the very real and devastating consequences of their secret and usually deceptive sexual choices - often confusing intensity for intimacy and hurting themselves and the ones they love. These consequences can include: broken relationships, a pervasive sense of shame and self loathing, arrests, lack of motivation, academic suspension, diminished respect and trust, job loss and other such difficulties. You can learn more by reading the Informed Consent Form here.
Q: Group therapy feels intimidating to me, what are the benefits of group therapy?
For Sexually Disordered and Compulsive Clients: Because isolation and secrecy are a typical part of the acting out process in sexual disorders, group therapy is an important addition to individual therapy to help the client move from sexual intensity, secrecy and chaos, to non-sexual healthy group interactions. Sexually impulsive and wounded clients learn to move out of shame and fear, into healthy relationships and connections where they can practice tools, learn how to have their words and behaviors match up, understand how to self regulate, practice boundaries, and receive healing support and safe accountability.
For the Betrayed Partner and Spouse: The group experience can be one of the first healing steps in conjunction with individual therapy that allows the wounded partner or spouse a safe place to process their anger, betrayal and pain with other partners and spouses who have been there. Many women share that they feel too ashamed to speak to friends and family, or are worried that people will judge their spouse; having a support system available is a critical first step alongside therapy. Women learn to practice self care, boundaries, and other important tools to move them along in their healing journey.
Q: Where are groups currently held?
In the Growth Counseling Glendora office. See location and directions.
Q: What is the pre-screening individual session for, and is there a fee for this?
It is important for you and I to meet for a session in order to determine if a particular group at Growth Counseling is the right fit for you. Yes, the fee is the same as an individual therapy session fee.
Q: What if after meeting, you share that group is not a good fit for me - does this mean there is something wrong with me?
A client may not be ready to participate in group therapy depending upon their presenting challenges, the focus of the group, or because the group may not be the right fit for the client, or will not serve their clinical needs. If it is determined that a Growth Counseling group is not a good fit for you, this is not a negative statement of rejection about you as an individual, rather it is about supporting you in finding the best help that for the current stage of your healing journey.
Q: What if after starting the group, I decide I do not like it and want to leave, can I go?
Attending group is a process and a commitment. While you are free to terminate your group therapy at any point, you will be encouraged to move through the module with support. Many clients begin group feeling some anxiety, and then within 3-4 meetings begin to relax and enjoy the process. To learn more about group policy, please read over the group forms here.
Q: What if I love group, can I continue indefinitely?
The length of time a client attends group varies from client to client depending upon the changes in their life, what may come up for the client during the course of group therapy which would require a different level of care, and/or healing that takes place that would move them into a different phase of their journey. There is no standard amount of time; it is different for each person because each client's circumstances are unique to that person. As the group therapist, I will carefully monitor your process in group and will give you feedback in person or via email on when it is time to take a break from group, or to move forward out of group. Again, this feedback is there to support your healing journey and is not a statement of rejection.
Q: Saying goodbye is hard for me, what if I do not want to stop group therapy even if the therapist thinks it is time for me to move forward?
While saying goodbye is never easy, transitions are a part of life, and it is important to understand that at some point, you will move on from group. Though challenging, it is not necessary to personalize the end of your time in group work in a negative way, or take this as a sign of rejection. The good news is that the bonds and friendships you made in group do not have to end simply because you are no longer attending group! Part of the healing process is learning to be in healthy relationships that are safe and supportive, and learning to accept feedback on when it is time to move forward out of group. While your time in group will eventually end, your healing continues by using the tools you have learned, and the supportive connections you have made during your time in group - this is the gift of group therapy!