Group therapy can also teach us how to seek out supportive friends and enlarge our support community. When group members commit to respecting group confidentiality it creates an inner circle of safety for the participants.
Human beings are social creatures and feeling comfortable with others is a hallmark of healthy self-esteem. A safe and secure group environment fosters the development of interpersonal skills and serves as a model for the larger world around us.
This sacred space acts as a container for emotions that may seem too overwhelming for a participant to deal with independently. With the support of the group, a member can consider complex issues and gain a wider perspective as other members validate the work being done by sharing similar experiences. As the group supports each other we build trust and learn to respect the need for confidentiality.
The skills of containing strong emotion and understanding confusing problems were first taught to us by our primary caregiver who soothed our cries and comforted us when we were frightened. If we grew up in a situation that was chaotic we may not have had the chance to sit quietly with another as we worked our way through challenging emotions. Conversely our early years may have been spent in a very rigid setting where emotions were avoided or contained and never expressed. We may not have learned skills to separate complex issues into smaller more manageable challenges.