For about five years I was a member of a on-going psychotherapy group facilitated by Bill Roller. I can honestly say the experience changed my life for the better, helping me be more in tune with my emotions and becoming more self-reflective. The group helped me work through a number of early life issues that I’ve carried with me for a long time. Bill is an amazing therapist. He has decades of experience and a true gift for getting to the heart of a person’s issues.
Anxiety, depression, and obsessive thinking cause undue suffering for many individuals. Becoming a member of one of our therapy groups may prove to be a turning point in your life.
But why group therapy and not individual? Won’t I get more personal attention alone? Isn’t that better?
That may be true some of the time, but in the decades I’ve been a practicing therapist in Berkeley, I’ve found nearly 40% of the individuals who come to me seeking therapy are well served by a course of group therapy. The additional benefits you’ll receive often overshadow those you may receive in individual therapy. Read on to find out what those additional benefits are.
“In the future, psychotherapy will be only 25 percent individual. The remainder will be group psychotherapy, not just because it is more cost- effective, but empirical research is demonstrating that many psychological and medical conditions are more responsive to group rather than individual approaches.”
Group therapy allows individuals to develop the ability to self-reflect. This occurs naturally as people listen and compare their experiences to others with similar issues.
When the trust in group is high it opens the door for individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to discuss their feelings and perceived weaknesses.
The group leader presents a model for individuals to emulate in the way the leader listens to members criticisms’ and loving comments with equanimity.
Many group leaders are more transparent than their individual colleagues. This leadership style replaces authoritarian leadership with the notion of shared leadership as leadership roles emerge within the group.
You will practice self-reflection as you listen and compare your experiences with others on similar issues.
You can experiment with actions and new behavior in real time in a setting that is forgiving and does not expect perfection from its members.
Group therapy lets people know they are not alone in their pain and struggles.
Group therapy offers the opportunity to both receive support from others and to give support to others. Receiving support means human bonding is taking place in a group.
The multiple bonds that develop group therapy facilitates the integration of many different points of view and favors inclusion over exclusion.
As a group member, you have the opportunity to practice communication and socialization skills. You become more assertive for yourself and at the same time learn to listen to constructive criticism from others.
In contrast perhaps to your family of origin, over time each member can meet some of your needs for nurturance, patience, care, and close attention, and your trusted group can then approximate a new family for you.
In addition to group therapy benefits in and of themselves, your group therapy leader, Bill Roller, having been mentored by some of the creators and founders of group therapy, can impart to you some of the wisdom he has gained across more than 40 years of practicing the art. His mature leadership style will allow you to develop meaningful relationships with your fellow group members at the same time you develop a deeper understanding of yourself.
In addition, all of our groups are built around carefully selected individual members whose identification with each other increases self–esteem and confidence for all.
“Bill did an excellent job picking out people for his specific groups so that we get along and we have relevant things to discuss. Ours was relationship based.”
“In Bill Roller’s therapy group I found compassion, humor and wisdom, along with a willingness among group members to be simultaneously curious, challenging and vulnerable. We brought in dreams, experiences and ideas, but also worked with our responses to and relationships with each other. It wasn’t always easy or comfortable to express or accept attempts at honesty and understanding, but Bill worked with skill and care to push us to look more deeply and to look at what we found in social, environmental and historical contexts. Getting to participate in group processes that led to more open hearts and minds kept me going back. There was always more to learn from the group. Bill’s group leadership skills kept the emotional work rigorous and rewarding, and his interest in connecting mythologies, justice and psychology made for a fun intellectual ride.”
Martha Z. San Francisco