Tag Archives: therapy

Group anxiety

Most people are anxious when they first join a therapy group.

Some take a long time to get over their anxiety.  A few never do.

Usually they don’t understand why.

It’s because on some level they expect to be treated in group as they were treated in their family of origin.

If they were abused or neglected as kids, they expect the group to abuse or neglect them.  If they were controlled or criticized or rejected or shamed, they expect the same treatment again.

For this reason even the idea of group is terrifying to some.

But it’s also what makes group such a powerful therapeutic tool.

Because when an emotionally wounded person joins group and nothing bad happens — when instead they receive the attention, acceptance and caring their family couldn’t provide — they have what’s called a corrective emotional experience:

Some deep part of them starts to realize they’re not kids anymore, and that not everyone is like the people who disappointed or hurt them when they were.

It’s a realization I’ve seen change lives.

 


The Tribe: Validation

 

You all know me, but not each other.  So let’s find out what you’re doing here. 

Why did each of you join this group?

1

2

 

3therapist 3

1

2

member 3

3

4

1=

2=

Come on, be honest.  Why are you here?

1

member 4

3

3

4

 

2=herapist 5

a

It was your idea.

It was your idea.

It was your idea.

It was your idea.

It was your idea.

1=

2 

My idea?  That’s the reason?

1

2

member 6

3

4

1=

1= 

a

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

1=

 

2=

Hm.

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2

member 8

3

4

1=

2=

Well, needing to please your therapist isn’t very therapeutic.  Maybe we should rethink this.

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member 9

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3

1=

1

 

What if we cancel groupHow would you feel?

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member 10

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therapist 11

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member 11

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1=

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Come on, be brave.  How would you feel about stopping right now?

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member 12

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2=

th

1

2

Yippee.

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1=

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t1herapist 14

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2

Yes.  Yippee.

14

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4

1=

th2

Yippee also.

 

 

 

Me too.

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1=

th

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2

Ditto.

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1=

2=

th

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mem

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Huh.  Now you’re all smiling.  

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member 15

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1

 

You better be careful.

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member 16

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1=

2=

Someone might mistake you for a group.

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About validation

One of the most important emotional skills is the skill of validation.
It is a skill because it can be learned.
Whether it is or ever will be part of the academic or corporate measures of emotional intelligence, I really don’t know.
But I do know that if you want to have better relationships with people, the skill of emotional validation is extremely useful.
The relationship will be better because with more validation you are going to have less debating, less conflicts, and less disagreement.  You will also find that validation opens people up and helps them feel free to communicate with you.
In fact, if there is a communication breakdown, if there is a wall between you and someone else, it probably has been built with the bricks of invalidation 
Validation is the means of chipping away at the wall and opening the free flow of communication.

~ From “Emotional validation: Introduction” at EQI.org.

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1

Visited

Monkey House

yet?

 

  

No?

What are you waiting for?

 

What’s Monkey House?  Read this.

Then click here to join the conversation.  (Go to “Do you need to register a new member?” at the top.)

We’re asking, “What’s the most difficult control issue you’re facing now?“

A recent exchange:

Hi Bert and Members, 
       Cutting through the fear barrier of speaking out.  Here goes: 

       My control issue:  wanting validation as a person, in an individual sense.
       Always, no matter what the situation, I’m pushed to the outer, disregarded, invalidated and not included, the invisible factor engulfs.  As much as I try, 30+ years of trying, same result.  I can do my job, very well if I may say so myself, and yet everything/everyone stays out of arm’s reach to the point of utter loneliness. Smiley

        Thanks Bert And Steve.  After reading your blog for nearly 6 months, I’ve become aware of how the issue of control infiltrates so many aspect of our lives while recognizing both the healthy and unhealthy aspects of control. Smiley

 

Hey, David.  Thanks for cutting through. Smiley

Odd you should mention validation.  That just happens to be the title of our next Monkeytraps post (due Sunday 5/13.)  It’s also a subject on which we both have thoughts.

Steve:  The need for validation is legitimate, inescapable, and the biggest damn monkeytrap I know, since it forces us to try — endlessly and in countless ways, not always conscious or healthy — to get what we need from other people.  And as with most forms of control, the more of it you need, the less you seem to get.  It’s also why having at least one reasonably healthy relationship is more or less essential to happiness.

Bert:  God, I hate needing validation.  I grew up hungry for it, so hungry that I used to avoid relationships just to avoid being disappointed.  That didn’t work, of course, since it was like starving myself in order to avoid food poisoning.  Eventually I had to take the risk again with people.  A pain in the ass, people, but also the only game in town.

 


(Bert’s therapy) Session 2: Felicia

 

                                       

 

So.  Your wife sent you.

 

…………….

[1]

[2]

[3]

Yes.

 

 

Why? 

……….

 

[1]

[2][3]…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

 

She says I have control issues. 

 

What’s she mean?

 

[1]

[2]

[3]

  

 I have no idea.

 

She doesn’t say what bothers her?

 

……………………….

[1]

[2]

[3]

 Nope.  She’s a bit crazy, my wife.

 

 

 I see.  What’s her name?

….

 

[1]

[2]

[3] 

 

  

Felicia.

 

 

 

Maybe we should ask Felicia in to tell us herself.

……………………….

…..

[1]

[2]

[3]

 

 

 

 

How would you feel about that? 

 

 

[1]

[2]

[3]

 

 . . . . .

 

 

 

[1]

[2]

[3]

  I’ll tell you everything.

 

 

 

 

 


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