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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. Hi, can I ask you a question again please?What is

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Kate. Hi, can I ask you a question again please?

What is the point of group therapy and how do I know it's the right place for me to be?

I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and all group members have the same diagnosis! The downside of this is that there can be some very fiery 'challenges' within the group but this can leave me feeling very unsafe. It brings back too many painful memories of my mum, me 'asking her something and her flying off the handle and administering one of her infamous punishments! The group scared me but I wasn't actually able to say that because my anxiety levels were too high ad I could feel the onset of a panic attack. I realise that these are my own issues but I haven't got a single clue as to whether this environment is going to help me change the way that I am!!

The main facilitator wasn't there this week (the psychotherapist) so the group was run by a social worker.

Any suggestions please?

Hi, I am a Moderator for this topic. I sent your requested Professional a message to follow up with you here, when they are back online. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
That's fine. I am happy to wait. Thanks.
Thank you for your continued patience:-)
Hi Sue,

It sounds like you feel you are not being helped by group therapy, or at least this particular group. It can be a challenge to participate when you feel there are more disadvantages than advantages.

The purpose of group therapy is to provide a way for you to find common ground with others who have the same diagnosis. When you are with others who have similar symptoms and experiences, you can find support from those who understand. It is supposed to be an environment where you can share and feel safe. And other members can support your sorrows and triumphs with you. It provides a way to boost your self esteem and give you the tools to cope better. The group can also be like a family, each taking on roles that help them discover how their childhood affected where they are today and work those issues out.

Being in a group with others diagnosed with Borderline disorder can be a challenge. The symptoms of Borderline disorder tend to make for difficult socialization and poor insight. If you have been diagnosed with Borderline, it may be that you have some traits but are not as affected as the others in your group, which lets you have insight into some of the more damaging behaviors in the group. As a result, you are affected by the dynamics of what goes on rather than being helped by them.

Is there another group you could join? Another option would be helpful. If the point of you going to group therapy is so you have group therapy treatment, then any group would work. Also, you may want to talk with the therapist in charge of the group. Explain your concerns and ask about other options.

Would a self help group fit the criteria you need from the treatment team? They often have the same dynamics and can be more helpful.

If the treatment team still insists on this group, it might be beneficial to share only what you feel safe sharing and get what you can out of the group until it ends. It is odd that the treatment team feels this works for you when you do not, but sometimes those making the decisions are not as interested in needs as what they feel is important.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks Kate. This is the only support group around for those diagnosed with BPD and is a stepping stone to a more intensive group therapy after 2 years, although that part is optional. I have been told that if I give up on this group then I will be discharged from the treatment team as there is nothing else that they can offer me.

I have shared some of my 'secrets' but feel unsafe. The confrontation got very heated this week and I felt scared. It was like the rare occasions that I answered my mum back and it made me think I would be punished if I said anything!

I have considered looking fr 1:1 therapy as well but know this isn't looked upon favourably so I would have to do this secretly! It isn't ideal but maybe that would give me an outlet for how the group leaves me feeling. I have spoken to the lady therapist and she would be happy to see me and knows that I am doing group therapy as well, but she sees no problem with me doing both. I also need somewhere that I can talk about things in detail, which I will never do in the group. [At least I wouldn't have to keep pestering you then :)]

I will talk to the group therapist on Friday and try to tell the group how last week's session left me feeling!

Thanks Kate, at least it doesn't feel like it's something I'm doing wrong now.


I think it's a good idea to see a therapist in private if you feel that is what works for you. Although the treatment team may feel the group setting is good, seeing a therapist for one on one is important if that is what you feel you need. And as you said, it would benefit you to talk to someone of your own choosing and who you feel will help you.

Let me know how it goes!


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or more stars? Thank you so much! If you are having problems rating, just let me know. I will send the question to the moderators for you.
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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