You may have heard the phrase, “you’re a product of your environment.” It’s easy to disregard such common sayings, or not give a lot of thought to what they really mean. Let’s take a moment to consider one of the most important environments in life and how that impacts you from birth all the way into adulthood - your family.
You didn’t get to choose the family you were born into, whether you’d have a good fit with your parents or siblings, what types of things would happen to you as a child and whether you would experience love in the ways that you needed or wanted.
Many people start seeking therapy because the early experiences in life have continued to impact them in some way and may start showing up in their relationships as well. Because you are, at least in part, a product of your environment, the relational patterns that were modeled for you when you were young will often repeat themselves in your relationships as an adult. When these patterns are unhealthy or unbalanced, this can cause a lot of frustration, heartache, disappointment and sadness.
But don’t lose heart! The good news is that you can now choose new environments, influences and strategies to relate to yourself and others in positive and healthy ways. This will also allow you to feel loved and accepted for who you are. Group therapy is one powerful way that you can start to experience a different way of interacting with yourself and the world around you.
Why group therapy?
You are a relational being. The idea that your environment shaped you when you were young still resonates as an adult. A different environment and expectations can bring about different results. Groups are very effective at addressing relational challenges because they happen in the context of relationships with your peers.
Groups offer a low-stakes way to practice presenting a different side of yourself to the world without risking losing important relationships, or experiencing the type of shame and guilt that may have been present in your family while you were growing up. Everyone coming to a group is looking for something similar - restructuring their inner experience in a brand new environment. This similarity in goals can offer comfort and safety in unfamiliar territory.
Signs that a process group would benefit you
There are various ways that you might notice that you are not fully connected to your true self from years of trying to fit into an environment that didn’t nurture you. If you are experiencing intense emotional reactions such as depression, anxiety, chronic tension, or trouble sleeping, these feelings can signal that you are needing to reconnect with your genuine self and your feelings.
Other indicators you may be noticing include:
Feelings of anger
Neglecting self-care in favor of taking care of others
Realization that you have been idealizing others or holding them on a pedestal
Awareness that you have downplayed your strengths, or
A desire to live from a different set of values
These are all signs that a process group may be beneficial for you, such as a Relationship Process Group. A group like this can help you explore your anger, identify how your relationship patterns were formed in childhood, and discover a new set of values that you want to live by.
It’s okay to get help
The way you were raised may have left you feeling that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Showing up to therapy, and particularly group therapy, requires courage, strength, and faith. You have the resources within yourself to show up. The group, often alongside individual therapy, will help you get the rest of the way to your goals.
How We Can Help
If you’re interested in exploring your childhood wounds in a group setting
Check out our Relationship Process Group, which gives you a safe environment to practice this.
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:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Alicia Kwande is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and blogger. Alicia helps adults (especially mothers and caregivers) who give all they have to others, leaving themselves with next to nothing. Alicia assists adults in managing their anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.