FEELING BETTER: Group therapy is a great way to explore relationships.
FEELING BETTER: Group therapy is a great way to explore relationships. shironosov

Relationships and group work

ON THE COUCH with Sarah Bergman, Gestalt Psychotherapist

GROUP work can improve your relationship with yourself and others.

Life is about relationships. We are constantly interacting and being in relationships whether it be with yourself, your partner, your family, work colleagues, your pet, or people in the wider community. We are all interdependent and rely on each other to survive. How well you do in relationships influences your contentment in life.

I am sure we have all experienced the complexity of relationships and thus have experienced unease and discontentment in them. When relationships become difficult due to difference (which is inevitable), conflict can ensue. When we are unable to resolve, negotiate or accept the difference the quality of our life is affected. This can also happen in relationship to our selves. Thus, there is a lot to learn when it comes to doing relationships well and it is a skill that continues to be developed as we encounter the undulating terrain of life in relationship.

For some time in the therapy world, group work has been seen as a great way to explore how we do relationships with ourselves and others. This is because groups offer the learning potential of multiple perspectives and relational experiences. In a nutshell, group work provides the space for individuals to explore relational patterns and life themes by developing and deepening interpersonal relationships within the group over time. Gestalt group work in particular utilises the richness of our interconnectedness to learn about ourselves through relationship with the other.

In group work, members develop close attachments and experience the group as a supportive, safe environment in which to explore emotions, current life situations and relationships. Often the group can become a symbolic family where issues arising from earlier life experiences might be addressed. That is, wherever we go, there we are!

Many appreciate group work as a means to enhance their awareness, learn to set and respect boundaries, utilise self and other support when required, learn effective and responsible language that is clear and present, stay with and learn to label strong emotions, to name a few.

Overall, group work enables you to better understand yourself and how you are in relationship, providing you the clarity and confidence to engage in relationships in the outside world in a way that benefits you and others.

  • Sarah Bergman provides counselling through the practice of Gestalt Psychotherapy for individuals, families and couples. She is an accredited member of (PACFA) and her private practice is in Tweed Heads. Visit: counsellingonthecoast.com.au .

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