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To Group, or not to Group...(trigger)

Posted by Daisym on March 2, 2006, at 12:04:35

...that is the question.

I met with the group therapist yesterday morning. She is very nice, pretty relaxed and easy to talk to. She knows my therapist and made it a point to say that joining a group is not intended to replace individual therapy, unless that is an individual goal. She noted that I had some concerns about my dependency and she thought being attached to my therapist was a good thing. She also said, "However, eventually we all need to grow up and expand our support network and let go, a little bit at a time." OK - we agree on that.

She told me how the group works, there are three members right now, and how she facilitates. It is a support/therapy group, which means she guides but she also digs for reactions and feelings. She said she won't let anyone person take over the group for more than a session and she will schedule an individual meeting if someone is bringing a lot of conflict into each group. She has run groups for about 8 years. I asked her why she did this kind of work and she talked about women's issues and how effective she found groups to be. She did ask specific questions about my family dynamics, siblings, parents etc. I told her lots of stuff in broad terms in a very "executive" fashion, not a lot of emotion but a lot of reflective "this is what I've learned about myself" statements. And I really have learned a lot in the past few years.

At the end of the hour she told me she thought I'd be a good fit but she needed to check things out with the group to make sure no one knows me. She said she gives some basic information -- first name, city you live in, kind of work you do, kids, etc.-- and if someone in the group knows you they can say whether that is a problem for them. And then she checks it out with me. The risk is that now someone you know knows that you experienced csa, because this is a survivor's group. That is awfully scary. The other thing that was hard, though I can cope with it, is she uses words like "perpetrator, non-perpetrating parent, incest, molest," etc. It made me wince.

I left, went back to work and thought I was doing fine. I looked at the clock and realized a couple of hours had gone by and I hadn't done anything. So I went home for lunch and fell apart. I sat on the floor in the corner of my living room and sobbed and sobbed. I had actually told another person, face to face, who was now going to tell three more people. I was actually going to be called a "survivor" -- and it was real--- and it was taking up so much space in my life. I was terrified and felt 9 years old. I felt I was in so much trouble and I wanted to run away, or worse. I was actually pretty suicidal for a while. I'm sure this was an old feeling, unleashed by the terror of telling.

I met with my own therapist late in the afternoon and told him about the meeting and falling apart. I told him he could talk to the adult part or little daisy, because I was feeling very split and having two opposite reactions to this idea of a group. He talked to little daisy first, her stuff was so urgent. After a while we tried to get into what I was hoping a group would do for me. And that was it, I lost it completely. It is about diluting my need for him, about having somewhere else to take some of this grief so he doesn't get sick of it. He said it sounded like I don't think he can be there for me anymore. Not true! I'm just beyond terrified that it is too much, he will abandoned me. He will have to save himself at some point from the tidal wave of hurt and anger that pours out. He says no, he can take it. He just doesn't know what else to do to help with this fear, except to prove over and over again, everyday, that he is "right here." I don't know either. I wish I could say, "Just do this, or say this," in order to put this fear to rest. Finally and forever. I don't know what that would be. I'm open to suggestions.

So today we will talk about the group idea some more. I still think it is a good idea. Even as the younger parts begin to panic again. To them, it is the beginning of the end of being safe.

Thank you all for the great questions. I asked all of them and the therapist asked me if I'd been in a group before. I said not in the traditional sense, but I was heavily involved in an online group, and some of that group had done groups. (did ya follow all of that?) She thought that was cool. I'll let you know what I decide.




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