If you have anxiety, you might dread the idea of going to therapy. After all, anxiety makes you nervous and fearful about things. Many types of anxiety can make you fearful about going to new places, meeting people, talking about yourself, and so forth.
Going to group therapy might sound even more terrifying. If you have social anxiety, then you might find it challenging to even think about speaking up in a room full of people. If you have certain phobias, then groups of people can exacerbate them.
Despite all of this, group work can help immensely when you are coping with anxiety. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive. It might even be the last thing that you want to do. However, if you are committed to getting better, this can be an important step in the process.
Anxiety Feeds Off of Avoidance
Almost every type of anxiety causes people to want to avoid their triggers. If you are anxious about speaking in public, then you might avoid situations that require you to do so. If you get panic attacks in crowded places, then you may try not to go anywhere where there might be a crowd.
Logically, this seems to make sense. If you don’t have to experience the trigger, then why would you?
However, anxiety feeds off of that avoidance. The more you avoid the trigger, the more anxiety you will experience. Therefore, you will have to avoid more and more things in order not to be triggered. If you do have to face those things, the fear will be that much greater.
Facing your triggers is crucial to coping with anxiety. Participating in group work might provoke anxiety but facing that fear can help you get past it rather than just continuing to avoid the problem.
Group Work Gives You a Safe Space
Of course, it’s tough to go into a group for therapy. However, try to remember that therapy is a safe space. The therapist runs the group with a structured designed specifically to help people work through their anxiety. Once you get over the hump of getting yourself there, the group itself becomes safe for you.
As a result, this is the perfect place to begin practicing the skills necessary to overcome anxiety. If you get anxious when you have to speak in front of people, the group is a great place to practice. Some people can’t eat in front of others and yet, over time, they’ll find themselves snacking in the group.
The group provides you with the support that you need to face your challenges. Plus, as you see other people who struggle similarly get past their issues, you’ll realize that you, too, can also get past yours.
You No Longer Have to Fight Anxiety Alone
Individual therapy can be a powerful tool for coping with anxiety. However, you might still feel like you’re the only person in the world who has these thoughts and challenges. After all, it’s not as though your therapist reveals all of their battles with anxiety.
In contrast, group work is a powerful reminder that you aren’t alone. You will get the chance to see other people deal with their anxiety. They’ll say things that will have you thinking, “I thought I was the only one who had that problem.” This normalizes anxiety and helps you see a path forward.
One of the most interesting parts of group work is that you have the opportunity to help others. Dealing with anxiety can eat away at your self-esteem. You might feel like you are so “broken” that you have nothing to offer others. However, as you offer support to group members, you’ll realize that your challenges have actually given you new skills. You’ll find your place in the group and then your place in the larger world.
If you’re curious about group work for anxiety, please contact me today to learn more.