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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. I am still going to group therapy (which I still dislike)

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Kate. I am still going to group therapy (which I still dislike) and I have begun to open up there; however, I feel like I am the only person really talking about something major that has happened in my life. How can I stop myself from feeling so vulnerable when I leave the group each week? Feeling the way that I do is making me feel that I want to run away from the group and my problems. Any suggestions please?


Hello, and thank you for requesting my help.


If there is a therapist/group leader running the group, as their should be, then I would speak to that person about what your experience is. It is up to the person running the group to be sure that everyone has a chance to speak that wants to and that everyone is treated fairly. If you feel you are the only one speaking out about deeper issues, then the group dynamic is off. In that case, it would be very natural for you to feel vulnerable and exposed.


If you do not get a good response to your concerns from the group leader, then it might be worth considering a different group. It is not going to help you to be the only person sharing while everyone else remains safely behind their defenses. It will impact your growth and recovery in that case and that is not the purpose of group therapy.


You could also pull back some from sharing and instead encourage others to share instead. If you do pull back, it does not help you but it may encourage others to share instead which would change how the group works.


I hope this helped you,



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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks Kate. The problem is that it is a rolling group so some members have been there for 15 months, whilst I have only been there for 5-6 months, so they might have shared significant experiences before I started. That said, the girls who started around the same time as me have said virtually nothing!

Two weeks ago I knew I needed to talk because of something that had triggered me during the previous few days. After I spoke there just seemed to be an enormous silence. There were no words of comfort from the older members of the group; the only people that spoke was one of the new girls and the main therapist. I felt like everyone was looking at me and nobody was believing me. That night I cut my arms several times and even contemplated ending my life .... the emotions completely overwhelmed me! I am now scared to say much else in case I feel that bad again.

I just feel that if someone shared their experience, or if someone just said they could relate to what I had said, it would make a huge difference because at the moment I feel like it's just me. Maybe it is just me! However, I was lead to believe that a vast majority of people with Borderline Personality Disorder have been abused someway during childhood. Is this true?

Sorry Kate, I've talked too much. I just don't know how to decide whether this form of therapy is right for me. The professionals insist it's the right thing for me to do, so why do I feel so exposed and vulnerable if the therapy is right?




I agree with you. If I was in group and revealed something significant, I would want to be supported. The fact that no one did either says they felt uncomfortable or they didn't have anything to say. I highly doubt it was due to them not caring, which I think is a thought that goes through everyone's mind when they put themselves out there like you did.


Most people with a personality disorder have been abused during childhood. Personality disorders develop because of the necessity of altering how you get your needs met as a child because of abuse or neglect. The pattern stays because it becomes ingrained.


If you have given group a try and feel it does not work for you, you may want to talk with your treatment team again about your experience. You can't keep trying something that does not work.



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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The thing that keeps me there is that I have been told that if I don't stick to the group work then there is nothing else they can give me and I would then be discharged from the mental health team! I feel as though I am being blackmailed into going along each week.

I really want to 'get better' which is why I have tried to open up and talk about being abused. I just wasn't expecting to feel so much emotional pain.

If I continue with the group work are there any tips you can give me for how to manage my emotions please?

I have taken on board your suggestion about pulling back a little from sharing my experiences and think that this maybe an option. I have thought about seeking 1:1 therapy to run alongside the group work; is this acceptable because some people say you shouldn't be in more than one therapeutic relationship? I just feel that I need to talk about some of the abuse in some detail and I know that, for me, it isn't an option to do this in front of a group of people.

Sorry, I will stop asking questions after these.


It is not good that you are being forced into therapy that you do not feel you need. But if you need to follow their protocol, then you can only do what you can to comply.


Going to individual and group at the same time is ok. And you may want to try self help. There are groups on line and you can learn more about personality disorders so you know things to try to help yourself work through.


You may also want to journal so you have a place to express yourself that is private. And working on line with a therapist is also an option. There are more and more therapists beginning to work on line so finding one should not be too hard.



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