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Easing into Therapy: Why Support Groups are a Great First Step

A woman taking her first step into group counseling in Colorado

The first time I considered seeing a therapist as an adult, the process of starting therapy felt daunting on top of the overwhelm I was already feeling. I wanted to skip ahead to the part where I had a relationship with someone who could help me sort through some yucky feelings (that’s a technical term) and help me develop some new skills to improve my relationships.

If you are considering therapy, you may relate to a few of the concerns that I had, and that many people have: how would I find the right therapist, with availability, whom I could also afford? And what would I even talk about for 50 minutes with someone I had just met?

I ended up finding a therapist who connected me to a support group. And after witnessing the power of groups as a participant and later as a student facilitator, I learned from experience that groups are a great way to ease into therapy.

Why Support Groups are a Great First Step into Therapy:

A group of friends holding arms in a field in colorado

1. The focus isn’t all on you, all the time.

It is normal to feel a little intimidated by a therapy session and to wonder what you will talk about and how it will go. The benefit of groups is that the focus is not all on you, all the time. If you aren’t sure about what or how to share, you can learn from others while you gain more comfort with how group sessions will go (you’ll also find that you aren’t the only one having those feelings).

2. Chances are someone in the group will relate to your experience.

Being in a group means you will have many opportunities to connect with other group members. Through these connections you’ll learn that others can relate to your experience whether they have been through something similar or have felt similarly in other circumstances. That validation is part of what makes groups so powerful.

3. Transferable skills

Individual therapy and support groups can both help you build transferable skills; but the advantage of groups is that you can learn and practice new ways of relating to people in a supportive environment that more closely resembles the real world.

4. Availability

You know you have a spot with the group at pre-set meeting times. No worrying about availability and trying to regularly fit into someone else's schedule.

5. Budget friendly

Groups are an opportunity to invest in yourself while staying in your budget. More people in the room means sessions can be offered at a lower cost per person.

Lasting Impact

A group of friends in group therapy in colorado

It has been years since I participated in my first group, and I remain inspired by the courage and support my fellow group members brought to that group: I still draw on it when I need a little extra courage. And as a student facilitator, I am regularly moved by the connection that happens between group members in vulnerable moments, the growth I get to witness, and the laughs group members often share.

But are Groups for Me?

Groups are often portrayed in the media as a somber last-ditch effort to regain one’s footing after hitting rock bottom. And while groups are a great place to get support in your rock-bottom moments, they are equally beneficial for the everyday moments that are causing distress or just a general desire for more support in your life. So, whether a specific life event has you considering therapy, you could just use some extra support, or you’re somewhere in-between, consider a support group as the first step.

If you’re interested in learning more about our support group options, check out these online Support Groups:

How We Can Help

We are currently enrolling FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH STARTER KIT

For adults who are new to counseling and want to learn useful skills, make changes in your life, and understand what therapy is about.

Interested in registering for the group? Fantastic! Please use the link below to get more information and sign up.

If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation

  2. Or, you can book directly online with the therapist of your choice

  3. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life

Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:

Author Biography

Becca Tarnowski is a Master’s level student counselor at Regis University and intern at Catalyss Counseling. She moved from Chicago to Boulder, Colorado in 2003 where she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Colorado. Becca currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, their 2 young children and their dog. In her free time, Becca enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and playing board games with friends and family. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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