Living with betrayal trauma can leave you feeling alone, isolated, and as if no one could possibly understand what you are going through. Opening up to a trusted friend or a professional can feel like one of the most vulnerable and brave things you can do, so why push yourself even further? Why go to group therapy?
First, I want to say that it is a normal and natural response to want to avoid experiencing feelings of hurt by limiting the amount people to whom you tell your story of betrayal. However, attending group therapy can enhance the healing experience in ways that individual therapy cannot. I want to talk about what group therapy is (and isnt), the benefits of group therapy, and what those who have attended group therapy for their betrayal trauma have said.
What Group Therapy Is:
– Structured and supportive
– A safe environment
– A place that provides you with the insight and perspective of other individuals who have had similar experiences
– A place where you can provide your insights and experiences to others who have had similar experiences
– Meant to challenge you in a respectful and meaningful way
– An opportunity that allows you to practice communication skills in a safe setting
– A chance to share your story and connect
What Group Therapy Is Not:
– A venue to just vent
– An environment where you can compare yourself to others
– A place to judge or be judged
– A chance to give advice / tell others what to do
Knowing that you are not alonethat you have the support of a structured network of individuals who have experienced similar eventscan be a crucial part of healing. Sitting with others who have experienced betrayal trauma can dissolve the intensity of isolation and loneliness.
Other benefits of group therapy can include:
– Having a place to practice and report back on new therapeutic skills and self growth
– Accountability to the group and to your own healing
– A variety of perspectives
I have run therapeutic support groups for individuals who have suffered from betrayal trauma and or have had a sexually addicted spouse for a number of years now. I have seen, firsthand, the power of groups.
Here are what some group members say about their experience:
Those little things really help me keep going to have these people in my life to help me through this, people that have been through what Ive been through- Group Member
I am feeling safe and Im feeling for the first time in a really long time that there are other women going through the same thing- Group Member
It was a really hard process to go through, but definitely very freeingjust letting that go, because you hold that in so much and you dont realize how much its weighing you down [until you talk with other women in group].- Group Member
Your first (or even second) experience with group therapy may be nerve-racking, it may make your palms sweat, and you may feel like taking the leap is not worth it. Youre right: it can be scary and hard. BUT I know that group therapy gets easier and more comfortable as you continue to attend. Therapeutic groups can provide a truly healing and powerful experience, and the outcome is worth the initial fear of attending.
If you live in Toronto or the GTA and want more information about my approach to group and individual therapy for betrayal trauma, the impacts of sex addiction, or other trauma, please contact me and I would be happy to respond.