How others can help with your problems

Kim Heappey, Assistant Clinical Lead at Derwent Rural Counselling Service (DRCS) looks at the range of group sessions offered.

Regularly talking and listening to others can help put your own problems in perspective and at DRCS we see the benefit of group therapy through our regular sessions dealing with issues such as long term health conditions, bereavement and well-being.

Joining a group may sound intimidating at first, but group therapy can provide benefits that individual therapy may not.

In fact, psychologists say that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be.

Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. Other group members often help you come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge, and hold you accountable along the way.

Many people experience difficulties, but few speak openly about them to people. Often, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you’re not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they’re going through, and realise you’re not alone.

Diversity is another important benefit of group therapy. People have different personalities and backgrounds, and they look at situations in different ways. By seeing how other people tackle problems and make positive changes, you can discover a whole range of strategies for facing your own concerns.

Together with the therapist and the other attendees, you will be encouraged to share your experiences and work on understanding yourself better.

Group therapy at DRCS typically involves a small group of people supported by two qualified and experienced therapists.

Sessions are confidential, just as at our one-to-one therapy sessions – and you will be asked to commit to a certain number of sessions. Some may involve discussion only, while others may involve group therapy activities including skill development, problem solving or trust building exercises.

Our four week, well-being group work programme covers understanding stress and low mood, thought challenging and Progressive Muscle Relaxation, anxiety, panic attacks, worry and mindfulness and sleep, communication and planning for the future.

Our six week bereavement support group looks at the main issues that can affect bereaved people and how to feel less alone in your loss. While living with a long term condition is open to anyone with a long term physical health condition to share ideas and management strategies as well as gaining input from experienced therapists.

For some people it takes a few weeks of attending before they feel ready to talk about their own experience. No-one is pressured to do anything they don’t want to do. However, the more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.

Many attendees feel groups offer a safe space to learn, grow or experiment with change and the chance to get unstuck from a behaviour pattern, or out of a rut.

And if you bump into someone you know? Well then they are obviously experiencing similar problems to you – and perhaps you can help each other.

Therapeutic and psychoeducational groups are held regularly throughout the year across the county. Please contact us for the next start date and potential sessions on mindfulness, pain management and conflict resolution (IPT) as well as our long running groups for bereavement, wellbeing and living with a long term condition.

For more information contact DRCS on 01332 344435 or email admin@drcs.org.uk or visit www.drcs.org.uk

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