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Common Myths about Group Counseling
Myth #1: "I will have to tell all my deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets to the group."
Reality: You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. We actually encourage you not to share until you are ready. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming.
Myth #2: "It is so hard for me to talk to people I don’t know; I'll never be able to share in a group."
Reality: Most people are anxious about being in and sharing with a group. But even within a session or two, most people find that they want to talk in the group. Even the most private or shy people find that the group is a place where they can trust others and share their concerns.
Myth #3: "Sharing time with others will take away from the benefits I might receive."
Reality: Group can be actually more efficient than individual counseling. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Second, other members will bring up concerns that might strike a chord with you, but that you might not have been aware of and would not have thought to talk about.
Myth #4: "I will be put on the ‘hot seat’ by the leaders and by other group members."
Reality: One of the primary tasks of the group leaders is to create and maintain a safe environment for personal exploration. Leaders do not verbally attack, nor allow other members to attack group members. Sometimes it is helpful to receive feedback that may be uncomfortable to hear. Any necessary feedback is provided in a respectful, caring way that communicates truthfully and compassionately.
Myth #5: “Group will only be helpful when I am talking.”
Reality: Many past group members say that one part of group that was very helpful was listening to how others experienced and solved their problems. Sharing is certainly one way to receive help. However, listening to and supporting others is also a powerful way to help ourselves.
|The information about Myths was largely adapted from the website of the University Counseling Services of Virginia Commonwealth University: http://www.students.vcu.edu/counsel/group.html|