Group Therapy: Check In #1

“Group.”

That is all that the person standing in the lobby of the clinic will say when it’s time for our group session. It’s supposed to be confidential; after all, none of us really wants them to say “OK, folks here for (insert your problem here) Group Therapy, right this way!” , announcing to the world what our special problem is.

Even so, it brings attention to the herd of people who do end up walking through that door at the word “Group”. The one or two individuals left in the lobby can’t help but notice.This has not bothered me yet.  I’m glad I have not seen a familiar face in that student clinic when it’s been my turn to be part of that herd; the individuals in my department are, for the most part, extremely curious and border-line nosy individuals who would be anxious to know what this event is from which they have been excluded, and how might they be included?

When I wait for group to begin, and realize that all the folks around me arriving are probably here for the same reason, I can’t help but notice how normal they look. Happy, healthy, normal. On my worst OCD days, these are folks I would look at and say “Why is my life not like theirs? I bet their brain does not betray them”. I then realize they probably think the same about me, and who knows how many people walk around, having their own special and well-disguised difficulties with their own brain?

Yesterday was my first day of a 6 week group therapy series focused on mindfulness based stress reduction (yay!). My guiding light, Social Worker Kiki, who had been guiding me through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy over the past semester, signed me up in order to continue giving me the skills I need to get a handle on Jiminy aka OCD. And since I have sucked miserably at cultivating a consistent practice of mindfulness, I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. I think in order to make the most of it, blogging to process each experience would be a good thing to try.

I had tried group therapy before, a series specifically for anxiety, but found that it was not very helpful. From the get go, I have preferred this mindfulness group much more. During our first session, I walked in to find the floor covered with yoga mats, Enya drifting on the air, and tea and chocolate ready to be shared. I would gladly do this for just for the chocolate :).

For our first session, we just talked about mindfulness. What is it? How can we practice it? We will be doing some more formal meditation, as well as trying out informal mindfulness, like mindful eating and walking. I’m very excited and plan to blog and process my personal experience after each session.

I also found out that UCLAs Mindful Awareness Research Center posts FREE Guided Meditation podcasts.   They also have weekly guided meditations they post called their Weekly Podcast At The Hammer, the most recent being  “Practical Details for Meditating”.  I think I’ll go check that out right now 🙂

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One thought on “Group Therapy: Check In #1

  1. I’d do it just for the chocolate too 🙂 Seriously, I took a nine week stress reduction class started by Jon Kabat-Zinn about six years ago, and it still helps me today. Can’t wait to read more about your experience!

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