A Process Group or Encounter Group is a powerful way to learn about ourselves and our relationships with others. Group Therapy offers the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with others who share the common goal of increasing their self-awareness and making meaningful changes in their lives.
The group is unstructured in that there is no formal agenda or topic. Rather, members are invited to pay mindful attention to their thoughts, feelings and reactions as they occur moment to moment as the group takes place and report what they notice to the group. As such, the here and now experiences and interactions between group members becomes the focus of group time.
Central to a group of this nature is taking the risk to express your feelings openly and honestly. You are invited to take responsibility for sharing your feelings, including your responses and reactions to other group members and how you are experiencing them. All feelings about group members, including the facilitator, are valid and important to express, providing this is offered respectfully.
In group, you will probably find that you directly experience your patterns of relating to others in your life playing out in the group in the here and now. This allows to work directly with these patterns rather than just talk about them.
You deepen your understanding of these patterns, clarifying what you do that is effective and what is ineffective, which behaviours create trust and closeness, and which push people away. You can then build on strengths, overcome deficits, and develop healthier, more satisfying ways of relating.
For example, if you have difficulty asking for help, you may have that difficulty in the group. You might then take the risk to reach out to others rather than withdraw into isolation.
Working in a group can be a powerful healing experience.