Random Musings, Veteran, Well being

Therapy groups – Expected behaviors

Therapy groups – Expected behaviors

9/14/2022

I have written many times before about the fact that I attend therapy groups weekly.

I have been in therapy and counseling for 7 years now. It has been a tremendously positive influence in dealing with the major depressive disorder and anxiety.

As I have made progress throughout the years, attending many groups that have focused on Mindfulness, Insomnia, DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), PTSD & MST, and individual therapy, I have seen participants come and go.

I will occasionally run into someone from a previous group but they normally do not stick around for long in the groups. Life happens for them and they just walk away.

In my observations of these individuals, they were not fully ready to immerse themselves into finding paths to healing. I do know that feeling of being overwhelmed and just not wanting to talk about things anymore. That is the difference between me and them, I keep pushing forward. I am determined to not let these thoughts from long ago trauma to continue influencing my thinking and relationships with others. I want to finally be at peace with everything.

The one thing about these sessions is we have rules about our expected behaviors while in the groups.

We normally have to sign a statement that says we understand these rules and will abide by them. This is for our safety, security, and privacy for all the participants. We also agree to carry ourselves in an appropriate manner.

Saying all of that and making us sign these agreements does not always guarantee it will happen as expected.

In a recent incident, a participant’s behavior and conversation became very vulgar and inappropriate. It made everyone in the group uncomfortable and others were trying to change the subject.

Unfortunately, we had a brand new member to our group and the person making the comments seemed to be directing it at the new person. The group coordinators were not in the room when it occurred but one of them caught the end of what the person was saying. They tried to regain control of the group but it was too late, the damage was done.

A few weeks later, I got a call from the director over the groups. It was about the incident and they had to confirm what happened. In that moment, I could have just not said anything but the integrity part of me would not allow me to not tell the truth.

Afterwards, I had a pang of regret because the person whose behavior was in question has been in this same group with me for 4 years now. I told the director that the behavior was normal within the group setting and we had gotten used to it but on that particular day the person was out of line.

The director was genuinely concerned that we had “put up with” the behavior for so long. They stated that we should have never been subjected to the behavior to begin with and it should have been addressed a long time ago.

It was in that moment, that what they said clicked with me, they were right. In all the years we had been in these groups together there should have been a sense of civility and decorum.

We are all veterans and should have been expected to carry ourselves in such a way that it was above reproach. In the branch of the service, I was in, we were expected to behave in a way that was not questionable, it was called military bearing. I am not sure about the others and their branches of service expectations about behavior.

Even if we were not veterans, I would expect people to behave in such a way that they would not purposely make others feel unwelcomed, unheard, and uncomfortable. It was a therapy group that was there to help us deal with the issues related to the trauma we endured. It was never meant to be a social club, that was never the purpose.

I guess my viewpoint about these sessions within the groups also explains why I do not socialize with them beyond the group setting. I have not attempted to make any friends within the group. The main reason is because we are all at different points in our recovery process.

When I am in the groups and hear the others talk, I can pick up where they are at in their recovery. I know because I had been in those same spots too and had similar thoughts. I usually will try to relate something similar in my own recovery and give it as an example to let them know that they will eventually get there. I only hope that my words will inspire them to keep going and keep moving forward.

Now I am waiting to see what is going to happen to this particular group and the coordinator.

I can only hope that they will make the appropriate adjustments to the group and still keep us intact.

I really do not want to have to go into another brand new group and start over again.

Only time will tell what will become of us.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a wonderful week!

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.

Suzanne