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Thread: Group Therapy - Opinions welcome

  1. #1
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    Group Therapy - Opinions welcome

    I've attended 4 sessions of group therapy, given by a therapist I've met once prior to group.

    There are 6 women in the group, but one woman talks about 60-70% of the time (no exaggeration).

    I've decided to leave the group, as the therapist does nothing to stop this woman from nonstop talking, which literally gives several others zero time to talk. As in, several people literally say zero words during the session. This woman goes on.....and on......and on......

    The therapist is trying to get me back into the group.

    She said I should use this as my area for "growth", and she feels I'm being "triggered" by this woman, and that I should use the group to confront her and "grow" from it. Almost in an accusatory tone, as though there is something wrong with me, kind of like when someone hurts your feelings but you get called "too sensitive". I told her that no, I just want to hear from everyone, and that my "growth" comes from leaving situations like this.

    I feel it's not my place, nor my desire, to become adversarial with another member, and that it's the therapists' job to guide us all so that each person has time to talk.

    Therapist has just sent me another email asking me to come back.

    I like everyone else in the group a lot, but I don't think I can sit there for one more session, with this woman interrupting everyone else, turning attention back to herself, taking up more precious minutes, for which.....I get billed!

    Any advice, or is this just the wrong situation for me?

  2. #2
    Silver Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    I agree that it's not your job to monitor her speaking time; it's the job of the therapist.

    If you or other members of the group confronted her, it would be an awkward situation. The therapist should take her aside and explain it to her nicely in private. You're a paying customer and you deserve equal time.

    I really liked your answer that leaving the group was part of your growth. A person who is experiencing growth removes herself from a non-productive setting, and that's exactly what you did.

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    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think she has a point. You alone get to control your own triggers but you should know your own limitations. If you are not ready for this type of set up, don't agree to it again. Maybe you need more time to process what she said and learn to practice it in your own life without being put on the spot like that in an awkward group of strangers you don't even know.

    It could be an opportunity for you but only if you are ready. I'm really sorry you're going through this discomfort but I'm happy for you in a way. It is an opportunity for growth but again, only if you are ready. I've tested myself before being faced with others with poor behaviour. You don't have to be a pawn piece in that maelstrom of nonsense going on around you. You can opt to think about your next moves and demonstrate your own beliefs in your very actions and words.

    I also want to mention that your therapist chose an unfortunate word: "confront". I'd revisit what this means on your own time as it carries negative connotations. Someone who confronts others is often thought of in a negative light, a troublemaker, a loudmouth etc. Your therapist alone is testing your ability to filter that word and bring your own meaning to it. Confront can have different meanings. What type of meaning do you want it to mean? Confronting someone might also be asserting your beliefs and your concepts in a way that is measurable and logical or understandable to a crowd of other people. It can mean an exercise in learning to be heard effectively and speaking clearly in a way where others understand you. If you're having trouble with this or coming through to others a lot of the time, the answers might be with you and you may have room for improvement. It's all up to you.

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    Originally Posted by SarahLancaster
    I agree that it's not your job to monitor her speaking time; it's the job of the therapist.

    If you or other members of the group confronted her, it would be an awkward situation. The therapist should take her aside and explain it to her nicely in private. You're a paying customer and you deserve equal time.

    I really liked your answer that leaving the group was part of your growth. A person who is experiencing growth removes herself from a non-productive setting, and that's exactly what you did.
    Thank you Sarah, your post really resonated with me.

    I was in another group last year that I loved. There were 8 members, and the therapist in that group kept it all going; when one person didn't talk much, she'd guide them to open up, to keep any one person from taking too much time.

    I guess the "trigger" I feel is from the therapist herself, almost blaming me for not wanting to stand up to this woman. The therapist actually said she agrees with me, that this woman does take too much time, but she says that that's the great thing about group, that it allows us to work out the issues we have, in a "safe" setting. I don't have an issue with this Chatty Cathy, nor do I want an issue. I just want to talk about my life, and moreover, hear from others.

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    LHG, first off I've been attending support groups for years. Some all women, one with both men and women (boy was that eye-opening!).

    When I first started reading your situation, my initial thought was that you ask her (politely) to give a rest, allow others to speak.

    In my experience the mod (therapist) is there to lead the discussion, then sits back and allows everyone to interact among themselves.

    My guess as to why your therapist encouraged you to speak up was because it's good training for asserting yourself, and your boundaries, while still being respectful and polite.

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    I think she has a point. You alone get to control your own triggers but you should know your own limitations. If you are not ready for this type of set up, don't agree to it again. Maybe you need more time to process what she said and learn to practice it in your own life without being put on the spot like that in an awkward group of strangers you don't even know.

    It could be an opportunity for you but only if you are ready. I'm really sorry you're going through this discomfort but I'm happy for you in a way. It is an opportunity for growth but again, only if you are ready. I've tested myself before being faced with others with poor behaviour. You don't have to be a pawn piece in that maelstrom of nonsense going on around you. You can opt to think about your next moves and demonstrate your own beliefs in your very actions and words.

    I also want to mention that your therapist chose an unfortunate word: "confront". I'd revisit what this means on your own time as it carries negative connotations. Someone who confronts others is often thought of in a negative light, a troublemaker, a loudmouth etc. Your therapist alone is testing your ability to filter that word and bring your own meaning to it. Confront can have different meanings. What type of meaning do you want it to mean? Confronting someone might also be asserting your beliefs and your concepts in a way that is measurable and logical or understandable to a crowd of other people. It can mean an exercise in learning to be heard effectively and speaking clearly in a way where others understand you. If you're having trouble with this or coming through to others a lot of the time, the answers might be with you and you may have room for improvement. It's all up to you.
    Thanks; in fairness, I don't recall that she used the actual word "confront". That was my interpretation. She feels I should work things out, by speaking up to this woman. I'm not sure what word she actually used, so I don't want to charge her with a word she probably did not use.

    This isn't a "trigger" for me. It's an annoyance. I told the therapist that. I'm annoyed that I'm basically paying for someone else's therapy hour. I'm being billed, and I'm spending my time, listening to another person's therapy for an hour, when that's not what I signed up for.

    The only "trigger" is that I resent the bill I receive for this.

    And I resent the therapist telling me that it's a "trigger" for me (which I told her). I told her that it's simply not group therapy; it's individual therapy, where 6 people plus the therapist counsel one person.

    And the fact that, as I told the therapist, it's boring to me. I spent last meeting wishing I could pull out my phone and read emails....yes, I told the therapist that. That it's just, quite frankly, boring to listen to someone else and their private therapy session.

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    Originally Posted by katrina1980
    LHG, first off I've been attending support groups for years. Some all women, one with both men and women (boy was that eye-opening!).

    When I first started reading your situation, my initial thought was that you ask her (politely) to give a rest, allow others to speak.

    In my experience the mod (therapist) is there to lead the discussion, then sits back and allows everyone to interact among themselves.

    My guess as to why your therapist encouraged you to speak up was because it's good training for asserting yourself, and your boundaries, while still being respectful and polite.
    I appreciate your perspective, Katrina, as you've been in these groups.

    So you think it's up to me to say, "Can you please let others speak?" Because it's the therapist who keeps going on with her. In other words, when this woman talks, the therapist keeps asking her questions, going on with her. I feel sort of like an invader, like a fly on the wall in their private therapy. Which is why I brought it up to the therapist, and she wants me to interrupt. Does that sound right?

    If it does, let me know, and I will consider it.

    This woman also interrupts whenever someone else speaks, to turn the conversation back to herself, and make it a whole new story, and the therapist then continues with her. This happened to me last group, when I was speaking (for literally less than 2 minutes). She said, "Well that reminds me of when I blah blah blah......." and the therapist turned to her, and spent the next 15 minutes on her blah blah blah. I was like, mmmmkay, I guess I'm done here.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    Thanks; in fairness, I don't recall that she used the actual word "confront". That was my interpretation. She feels I should work things out, by speaking up to this woman. I'm not sure what word she actually used, so I don't want to charge her with a word she probably did not use.

    This isn't a "trigger" for me. It's an annoyance. I told the therapist that. I'm annoyed that I'm basically paying for someone else's therapy hour. I'm being billed, and I'm spending my time, listening to another person's therapy for an hour, when that's not what I signed up for.

    The only "trigger" is that I resent the bill I receive for this.
    I think Katrina has a point about speaking up when there's a pause. Perhaps it's also about relating to someone else and then turning the subject on yourself to bring the spotlight on you where you get to speak too. There are subtle and diplomatic ways to get your word in. You don't always have to wait for someone to say 'the end'.

    A second thing I was thinking: Perhaps there's only so much that can be done in one hour among six women. You might have to all share that hour now and then and some of you might not be able to share as much. This forces some of you to listen more and in listening you also practice how to communicate with each other in a shared space and how to share that space individually. This brings me back to the first part related to Katrina's post about learning how to edge your word in seamlessly by listening and relating to each other or disagreeing respectfully or bringing a new fresh concept to the table.

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    I'm triggered by the word 'triggered.'

    LH, the therapist shouldn't be putting you in a position to confront, complain, advise, rebuff, or challenge another member of the group. First of all, it wouldn't solve the problem. The offending Chatty Cathy (by the way, I had a Chatty Cathy doll) would take offense at YOU and then cast a negative pall over the entire group.

    No, the therapist should ensure that every member of the group has an equal opportunity to share his/her thoughts. Perhaps the therapist is too afraid to confront the offender for fear of losing her business. But she has consequently lost yours.

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    Well, it sounds like the therapist is the problem then, not this other woman!

    Given this new info re the therapist "egging" her on by continuing to engage her, combined with her accusatory tone, I support your decision to leave and find a new one w a new therapist who knows what she's doing! :)))

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