I receive treatment at IMH and have attended a myriad of support groups both over the course of my stay in the ward and since then, across various outpatient settings. Recently, my therapist suggested I attend her Psychotherapy Process Group. The objective of which would be to actively work through sticky interpersonal issues that surfaced during group interactions. I struggle with BPD traits and since they tend to manifest themselves as trust and boundary issues in many of my intimate relationships, I decided to give it a go.
Process Group differs from peer support groups, group forums, advocacy groups, groups intended for mastering psycho-educational material, interest groups and groups where people come together to make art or simply to bond and socialise. The main difference is that Process Groups are the group equivalent of individual psychotherapy.
Instead of focusing on a particular lesson, activity or discussion thread, anything and everything that comes up during a Process Group session provides the core material for investigating and working through destructive coping habits, vicious interpersonal cycles, negative thought patterns and counterproductive ways of expressing feelings and thoughts. The client’s relationship with both the therapist and various groupmates become representative of his/her own outside relationships with friends, family, authority figures, peers etc. Emotions and reactions that surface during the session are more often than not projections of one’s intrapsychic and interpersonal hurts or past experiences.
Attending Process Group has been a huge pain in the ass for me because of the highly charged content and knee-jerk emotional responses it provokes time and again out of me. However, I have experienced major gains and small breakthroughs too. This same group has given my therapist the space to intervene effectively in the here-and-now. It allows her to help me confront and alter some of the unhelpful interaction habits I’ve come to wield so unconsciously yet defensively in my life.
In Part 2 of this post, I’d like to share more of my struggles takeaways from Process Group with you.
Below are some helpful links that may better explain the hows and whys of a Process Group: