be a difficult, albeit brave, decision. However, deciding to join a psychotherapy group can often be an even bigger challenge! Particularly if social anxiety is the presenting problem, it is quite common for people to feel shy and nervous when entering group psychotherapy. The most common concern in deciding to join a psychotherapy group is the fear that the other group members may be more judgmental and less understanding than what is assumed in the client-therapist dyad. More often than not, however, after engaging in the group therapy process, most individuals come to learn that others struggling with similar issues are not quite as judgmental and critical as once feared, often themselves being far too preoccupied with their own anxieties to judge and criticize fellow group members.
While individual psychotherapy can be tremendously useful in exploring and understanding one's emotions, cognitions, family dynamics, and interpersonal patterns, group therapy can offer a slightly different, more experiential perspective on one's relational dynamics and ways of being with others. For most individuals living with social anxiety, group therapy can be extremely useful in helping to normalize one's thoughts, feelings and behaviors with one's peers, as well as provide a safe place to practice certain social and relational skills. Furthermore, the psychotherapy group is a good place to ask one's peers questions that may feel too embarrassing to ask outside of the therapy room, as well as to practice certain social behaviors that may be too awkward and/or anxiety-provoking to try out "in the real world".
If you or someone you know is interested in joining a psychotherapy group for adolescents and young adults struggling with social anxiety, please contact me at 310.804.6339, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.