This session yesterday was the first actual group therapy session of my MBT. The psychoeducational sessions are over and we’ve had a week off the group in between. They took the table away from the centre of the room and the chairs are now arranged in a circle. I felt much more exposed and others agreed that it felt very different.
These sessions will be far less structured. The way this one worked is that the therapists suggested we go around the room to start off with and everyone says a bit about where they are and how their week has been. Then we pick up on what someone says and basically talk amongst ourselves for the rest of the session – with the therapists only stepping in when they feel it is necessary.
I’m not sure how group therapy is supposed to work. I’m thinking I might read up a bit about it, because I know these sorts of therapies (ones that use individual and group therapy in parallel, like DBT and MBT) have been shown to be more successful for people with BPD, but I don’t really understand how us talking to each other and asking each other questions will help us get better.
I am hoping that talking to other people with BPD in such depth will help me have more compassion for myself. By coming to understand other people with the same diagnosis, perhaps I can learn to better understand myself. I’m not sure if that’s the intention behind it but I can see how that would be one advantage of the group.
Also, I can understand that interacting with other people acts as a catalyst for our issues to be brought out and these can then be discussed further in our individual sessions.
MBT Week 8: Group Session
I was extremely nervous because I felt awkward without the table, being away from the group for a week was weird and I was hyperaware of the therapists knowing about my gender stuff and what’s been going on for me with that during the break.
We went around the group at the start and some people said a lot but I couldn’t say much except that I was feeling low and also anxious about being in the group session before I said it was the turn of the person next to me.
People talked a lot about their experiences of their fathers and I had a lot in common with several of them.
At times I felt that I was drifting away and dissociating because the memories of my dad’s violence and verbal abuse were very vivid. I tried to concentrate on staying in the room and listening to people’s experiences.
At the end, several of us had been really quiet and the therapists prompted us to speak. I felt dizzy with anxiety because I knew I would have to talk in front of people. My mind went blank.
I explained that I was finding it hard to talk in the group and feeling anxious. I told everyone about a nightmare I’d had the night before. In the dream, I went to speak in the group and my voice didn’t work. I stuttered and couldn’t breathe and no one could understand what I was trying to say.
I said that I had found it hard hearing people’s experiences because I also have a difficult relationship with my dad. I said that I’m scared of talking in the group because I feel like I am going to lose control of my emotions. I think it was good progress that I was able to admit this, it is something I have been talking about with my individual therapist for a while.
- MBT Week 6: Final week of psychoeducation (borderlionblog.wordpress.com)
- MBT Week 6: Individual session (borderlionblog.wordpress.com)