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At a crossroad in life - Contemplating Group Therapy


I find myself at a crossroads at the moment. I’m not sure what to do with my therapy. This past year was definitely an improvement from what it was before, but now it feels like I’ve hit a local minimum in which I’m stuck.

My psychiatrist decided to try different medications as the previous ones didn’t yield the expected results. After a few days, I found them less effective, but with these types of drugs, patience is usually required. So far, they haven’t helped me find more energy to do more things. I still do the bare minimum, just with less anxiety.

As for therapy, we tried exposure and I failed at breaking through my emotional shell. I told my therapist everything I remember with all the unpleasant details (for the first time in my therapy history). But no feelings came with that, even when I was listening back to the session recordings (except for cringing over hearing my own voice). I once saw my abuser when visiting my hometown. I didn’t feel a thing. I passed him, and he didn’t recognize me (it’s been some time, I grew a beard). I’m not sure if I should dig into the past. I lived through all the nasty symptoms during my university years. I didn’t finish it because of that. I had another breakdown a couple of years ago. I lost a job because of that. I’m in a calm phase now, but I’m afraid that it will come back at some point.

My therapist recently suggested that I might try group therapy. I’m curious but also a bit scared. Pros: there will be people and I struggle socially, so it will be good practice for me. Cons: there will be people and people are scary… However, a part of me is kind of excited about this idea.

I just wanted to know what you all think about it.
Group therapy is my #1, and if you can't get into a decent group (as it will be dependent on the group, the facilitator etc) then places like this, or Discord servers, are literally the next best option. Peer support is super vital, in having people who actually completely understand exactly what you are going through. As a species we're very social, so part of trauma is that disconnection from one's community and sense of shared humanity.

Group therapy and peer support are definitely essential tools in the toolbox. Like everything, there's the potential that it will suck, and that people in the group might detract from the experience (by being shitty/terrible, uneducated, without compassion, etc) or the facilitator might be terrible etc. But the fundamental premise (sharing experiences) is definitely one I advocate people pursue.

If it wasn't for the group facilitation I did as a child at Romeo Dallaire I probably wouldn't be sane now. I managed to meet people who had similar (or well-worse) experiences to me, and I was able to experience myself being able to take a position of responsibility as a peer facilitator, which radically changed the course of my life. It challenged my direction as an anti-social/asocial person, into being pro-social and helped to "deprogram" me from being a violent juvenile delinquent.

Now as an adult I run one of these spaces myself online (not this space, somewhere else) and I see the benefits constantly, people there write me and tell me that they learned so much more than they normally did in therapy because we have a centralized place to collect resources that have worked for us as the most "fringe cases." (I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging - it's nothing to do with me at all. it's because of the very structure of it being a group, and every member within it who contributes.)

You can talk to regular members here who see the benefits of this place, for the exact same reasons. People who volunteer their time and energy on a regular basis to providing support, having specific areas where you can post about "whatever you want" (your diaries), having a centralized location for resources. It all really makes a difference and it definitely is an essential component of my treatment.
i hold peer support as the heart and soul of my personal recovery from child sex trafficking. the pros provide the brain power. my peer supporters help me translate that lofty brain power into my every day realities.

my very first repeat therapist (1974) was a u.s. army shrink who served 3 tours of duty in the viet nam M*A*S*H units and was fighting with DOD over a theory he was calling, "civilian shell shock." it was another 20 years before his shell shock theories coalesced into PTSD. this man was a fanatical believer in peer support and described himself as, "a reference book which never leaves the library. it is your therapy peers who will have your back in the trenches." in 1974 it was radical to put a female sex trafficking survivor in with a group of male shell shock survivors, but he did and healing magic happened for all. the healing of one is the healing of us all.

from there i started working alanon and many other support groups/workshops and am still working such when i can find them. even without the psycho ticks of my dysfunctional childhood, it is a crazy world we live in and peer support helps me hold a steady course through the chaos of contemporary life.