One of the most important factors in psychotherapy is the therapeutic power of being witnessed, free from judgment and blame. The safety and support of the witness allows us to name that which was so fear-provoking and painful and in doing so, express and give voice to the voiceless part of us begging to be integrated. This can be a huge step forward toward learning the lesson, healing the wound, gaining the insight, interrupting the pattern, or whatever the intention in seeking the witness in the first place was.
Now imagine that witness being multiplied, and the power that having validation and support brought being doubled, tripled, and so on. Empathy is a powerful agent of healing. Oftentimes in a group therapy setting, one person who may be feeling some real difficulty around sharing or verbalizing something painful will get the same amount of therapeutic benefit from listening to others and resonating empathetically while lending support that they would from being more vocal or actively disclosing. In lending our unique voice into a chorus of support, we create a beautiful song with rich healing potential.
Group therapy also helps to dispel the myth of aloneness. So often we celebrate together in this world, and suffer in silence by ourselves. Sharing the load can sometimes make the load seem less impossible to bear. And hearing from real-life peers can yield real-life solutions and new perspectives.
Fiachra Figs O’Sullivan is a a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #79062 and currently practice in San Francisco. You may contact him if you have questions or are looking for help with professional Couples Counseling, skilled Psychotherapy or Marriage and Family Therapy counseling services.