Group and Individual Therapy

RNrecovery

Confident
I have been doing individual therapy for a few years now. It has been incredibly helpful. I got through an extreme flare with PTSD. This site has also but unbelievably helpful. Through the process I have come to realize how much the trauma I had as a child and adult has affected me. I have actually been able to talk about things I have avoided my whole life. It has been a slow process. I have worked so hard to avoid those things that it has been really hard to slowly go back over those events. At first, I didn't think I needed to but over time I have noticed symptoms get better. I didn't even realize I could have fewer flashbacks, I just wanted to get back to a space where I could manage my reaction to the flashbacks. It was so gradual that I don't know when it happened but I noticed I was not only better able to manage my flashbacks but I really do have them fewer times in a day. It feels super selfish, but I have decided to keep at therapy even though I am largely out of crisis mode.

When I was having a really rough time with CSA flashbacks earlier this year, I went do a structured support group and found it really helpful. It helped ease some of the guilt to hear other people going through the same things. I would bring emotions and thoughts that came up back to therapy. I stopped that group because I didn't want to focus only on the CSA (my trauma goes beyond that). I also felt like it was a free group and it often filled up, so I didn't want to be taking up the space of someone that didn't have any other option. I haven't been going to that for a while and find myself in a space where I would like to be around other people with similar histories. I found the space of having individual therapy, followed by a group, then ind therapy the next day really helped my progress. I am also getting ready to head into some really tough anniversaries. Therapy has caused me to feel pain much differently and I am a little worried about how things will go. I think group might be a good way to supplement my ind work. But I don't know if it might feel like too much. I found a group that is process orientated. It is only women and for people who have expereinced trauma. She interviews everyone to make sure the group will be a good fit. It is only twice a month but she would like a six month commitment. I don't have to pay ahead or anything- she just said the group seems to function better when you stay for six months initially.

Has anyone else found it helpful to go both individual and group? If you found it helpful, what did you like? Do you have any tips? I am of course talking with my individual therapist, but I am curious about other people's experiences. I know a lot of people have had bad experiences with groups. I have as well but also had the good once recently.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I've done a lot of both, mostly at the same time. They definitely both helped me (a lot), but in very different ways.

After some years, I found that the content of going to group therapy had nothing new for me. But there were times where it was massively helpful anyway. The group dynamic offers something. It removes the isolation that sets in. And even though the content isn't new, it's hardly a bad thing to go over it again. Mostly because of the interaction you get with people who are needing the same kind of support in their life as you are.

I would worry less about taking space of someone else. If you're welcome, then the group is as much for you as anyone else, and keeping you well is as important as it is for anyone else.

There has been times when I've been having too much therapy. But it's a lot easier to pull out of therapy because you're getting more than you need, than it is to get into therapy when you really need it.
 
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