I just finished my orientation today for a county-sponsored mental health program. Tomorrow I have my first group therapy session. What should I expect from a group therapy session?
Glad you're seeking help for your anxiety disorder issues. Sometimes it's hard to admit we need outside help, but we should take advantage of any offered help, because our lives may need the direction, if we're in an anxiety mess.
In group therapy settings, you'll meet people who share their own psychological problems. There will be group sessions every hour, before breaking for lunch, and then continuing until late afternoon. Sometimes you'll even explore your creative side again, like you did when you were five in kindergarten. Remember coloring in your Ninja Turtle coloring book? Well group therapy seems to explore these fun things, like art therapy, in order to get our minds off our problems, like when we were carefree in our early years.
The good thing about these state institution programs - and you really should take advantage of it
- is that you are offered free daily interaction with a psychiatrist for as long as you stay in the program. Remember, if you don't have medical insurance, psychiatrists are not effing cheap to see. To even talk to a psychiatrist may cost $160 just for just a twenty minute session. And that is just talking, so these doctors are like $3.00 a minute interview. If you add twenty additional minutes, then you're expecting over a $300 bill for an approximate 45 minutes talk session with a psychiatrist, and I just hope you asked the right medical questions to pick his brain with.
I have been in 1-on-1 counseling with a psychiatrist/psychologist before, but never in a group setting. I might as well mention that I am getting the therapy for anxiety and depression.
Thanks in advance.
If you've been to other psychiatrists, you probably were on a psychiatric medication, like a SSRI, to manage your anxiety, but then like many people first do, you just stopped it. Stopping use of the antidepressant felt like an OK decision at the time, however months later, your anxiety and depression came back, and it's become hell since.
At least that seems to be the theme here on this forum, when other generally anxious people have this love/hate relationship with medication. They'll try and stay on it because it gives them relief, but somehow the think it's unnatural, after they begin to get better. Once better, they don't the medication is necessary anymore, so they taper down and get off it.
So know that everyone here, has the same thought patterns like you do in regards to their need to manage an uncontrollable anxiety disorder, with their love/hate relationship with medications..
So .... be fortunate to attend classes in the group programs. You may even meet a good friend. And you'll be able to talk openly about your problems. But the biggest - and the most important thing about these programs - is to take advantage of the free time you have with the psychiatrist. I would create a list of questions about your anxiety disorder and how to best manage it with medication, and then tap the psychiatrist's brain for feedback with every encounter you get. It's like posting questions on the Medication forum and then seeing a trained professional "live' pop up and give you the answer.
Seeing a participant willing to take their medication, and ask questions to improve their life, would probably make the psychiatrist feel they're doing work worthwhile in this program