We normalize and weave the dynamics of our childhood relationships and environment into our identity and personality, whether they are healthy or not.
Some of us grew up in dysfunctional environments and created a framework that precipitates unhealthy adult relationships with ourselves, as well as with other people. As such, we are often drawn to relationship patterns that reinforce our beliefs about ourselves.
Since these beliefs are often negative, we hide from our true selves, disguise our distress, and cling to our shame.
Fortunately, some of us understand that this is unhealthy and recognize signs that it’s time to see a therapist. We go to therapy in the hopes that we can untangle these webs of beliefs and behaviors with the help of a professional.
Understanding the Goals of Therapy
Many schools of thought on the goal of therapy exist; in my practice with clients, the purpose of therapy is liberation from the patterns and beliefs that keep us from living our best authentic life.
I love the metaphor that pain emerges from choosing to put a size 13 foot into a size 10 shoe. In other words, we need to know the shape and size of our feet—including the things we don’t like about them or may not even be aware of—in order to relieve our pain.
So, the key to reducing one’s suffering is to move toward liberation from the patterns and beliefs that keep us in the wrong size shoe—to really know ourselves in all our complexity, to accept ourselves, and to understand the processes for finding shoes that fit us better over time.
As we refine our understanding and curate a life experience that suits us well, we increasingly forgive, accept, trust, and love ourselves.
How then is liberation achieved? The dominant culture here in the U.S. has traditionally emphasized 1:1 therapy, sometimes augmented by peer support groups, group therapy, or group classes.
Why Group Therapy?
I believe that change happens in a community with others in a complex matrix of relationships and patterns that illuminate each group member as an individual and a part of a larger system.
The following quote from Derek Sivers illuminates the need for community in effective therapy to help each other discover ourselves more fully:
Fish don’t know they’re in water. If you tried to explain it, they’d say, “Water? What’s water?” They’re so surrounded by it that it’s impossible to see. They can’t see it until they jump outside of it.
In other words, we need to experience ourselves in relation to others who are different from us in order to see ourselves and our experiences in new ways.
Therefore, I developed an intensive outpatient therapy program that prioritizes group therapy for a small group of people to experience together for 12 weeks.
Types of Therapy
Many of the different approaches to individual therapy also apply to group therapy, however the dynamics in a group offer unique opportunities for growth beyond what is possible in a two-person model. In any case, therapy is often a blend of approaches as unique as the therapist offering them. Some examples may be:
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Humanistic therapy
- Integrative/holistic therapy
As your intensive trauma therapist, we will explore, discover, play, emote, nourish, listen, empathize, and create together in a community. This is where you will find the center of you.
To learn more about our intensive outpatient therapy program in Seattle, get in touch with me today.