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Author Topic: What should I expect from group therapy  (Read 337 times)

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Offline glavey

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What should I expect from group therapy
« on: December 17, 2013, 06:04:56 PM »
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?

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.
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 06:48:07 PM »
Hello,
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.               
Quote
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






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Offline glavey

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 07:42:04 PM »
Thanks for the speedy reply! I'm not being offered daily interaction, but 1.5 hrs, once a week for the group therapy; with a 12 week waiting list for psychotherapy.

When I was previously getting counseling, I was lucky enough to meet a  team that agreed to see me free of charge, since after my second or third visit, my insurance was cancelled. Unfortunately, he specialized in just-out-of-jail rehabilitation, and not anxiety or depression; but I gladly took his services anyway.

Yes, I was put on a SSRI; Paxil; 60mg. It helped the depression a little, but didn't effect the anxiety. I took it for about 7 years before I discovered it nearly completely killed my sex drive and made it incredibly difficult to even get an erection. About a year after I found that out I stopped taking it for those reasons and because I had moved and couldn't afford to see a new psychologist/psychiatrist.

I am completely willing to take and continue to take medication, so long as the side effects are bearable and don't impact my libido too much.
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 05:36:54 PM »
Hey glavey,

Thanks for the speedy reply! I'm not being offered daily interaction, but 1.5 hrs, once a week for the group therapy; with a 12 week waiting list for psychotherapy.

You mentioned in your prior post, that you started group therapy today.  I hope you enjoyed the session.  As you regularly see other faces in your group, you'll recognize that you are not alone with a mental illness.  People of all walks of life have them.

Quote
When I was previously getting counseling, I was lucky enough to meet a  team that agreed to see me free of charge, since after my second or third visit, my insurance was cancelled. Unfortunately, he specialized in just-out-of-jail rehabilitation, and not anxiety or depression; but I gladly took his services anyway.

Take advantage of any free mental health services provide by the state. Paying for mental health services by yourself is expensive as hell, but if you can book the tab with the state, use the service. If you've worked before, do know your taxes had a part in the maintenance of  these programs.

Also be aware of other insurance programs that can cover your medication and other psychiatric concerns::
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/prescription-assistance


Quote
Yes, I was put on a SSRI; Paxil; 60mg. It helped the depression a little, but didn't effect the anxiety. I took it for about 7 years before I discovered it nearly completely killed my sex drive and made it incredibly difficult to even get an erection. About a year after I found that out I stopped taking it for those reasons and because I had moved and couldn't afford to see a new psychologist/psychiatrist.

I am completely willing to take and continue to take medication, so long as the side effects are bearable and don't impact my libido too much.

Paxil is known to have the worst sexual side effects compared to the whole SSRI family.  If you're in your twenties, like any twenty something, you're probably thinking what every other twenty something is thinking about most.  It's sex.  So it's not surprising antidepressant medications turned you off, due to its association with low libido and anorgasmia, however you could have reversed that problem by switching to another medication which would have less chances for sexual side effects, or adding supplements like Wellbutrin, Buspar and Ginkgo Biloba.

You are probably a good candidate for Luvox, however it's an older medication in comparison to the other SSRIs.  Doctors usually don't prescribed it as much, probably because drug companies don't mass produce this medication in comparison to the other more popular SSRIs, however it's just as good of an antidepressant.  Many people have reported Luvox with the least sexual side effects.of all the SSRIs.

http://www.ijpm.info/article.asp?issn=0253-7176;year=2012;volume=34;issue=3;spage=300;epage=301;aulast=Santra
http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f139/luvox-fluvoxamine-ssri-84117/

Both Paxil(Paroxetine) and Luvox (Flouvoxamine) are also known to be the most sedating antidepressants of the SSRI family.  If you could handle Paxil, without any sedation problems;however, then you should do the same on Luvox.

You'll have to make a strong case to your psychiatrist about giving you a prescription for Luvox.  If you mention the fact it controls OCD, manages panic attacks and boosts sexual drive (in comparison to the other SSRIs) your psychiatrist might allow you to have it as a prescription.  If you also add that it would improve your focus and concentration on your job, because it's prescribed for high levels of anxiety, and allow you to better mananage stress, the medication could make you a better worker in the work force.   Your psychiatrist, after hearing that, would probably sign you up. :)

If you will be seeing a psychiatrist soon, as covered by the state, I really recommend you do some research on Luvox prior to the the appointment date.

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Offline glavey

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 08:12:32 PM »
Well, I just got back from my first group therapy session; not bad at all. I was probably the youngest there by 4 or 5 years (maybe, I'm not good at judging age). Very small group, what I didn't expect is that they were segregated by gender i.e. separate, simultaneous sessions for men and women. I was in in-patient group therapy a few years ago during a stay in a hospital stress unit and they had everybody together.

We just talked about what had happened the previous week, pee/smoke/stretch break, then talked about anger triggers and coping mechanisms.

The office I am visiting does have programs that can help with rx costs; such as getting a year of rx's free, getting 3 months of meds for $4, and the staff actively researches the lowest cost pharmacies nearby.

The doc that prescribed me paxil didn't want to take me off it because it was the first med that had any real effect on me, after trying lexapro, zoloft, depakote, klonopin wafers, and probably many more I can't remember. I did try taking wellbutrin xl with paxil, but I didn't notice any improvement. I was also prescribed klonopin (not the wafers) and buspar to go along with the paxil. The coming-up with the buspar felt really uncomfortable and neither really made any difference. I will look into ginko biloba; luckily, I have a heath food store near me with bulk herbs and such. Have you heard anything good or bad about kava kava or st. john's wart?

As for the Luvox, when I get my first psychotherapy session, I will bring it up. Thank you for the information.

I only really noticed the sedative effects of paxil for the first few weeks of taking it. I took it at night, right before I went to bed, so even if it did sedate me, it didn't matter.

Thank you again for the reply.
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 12:31:40 AM »
luckily, I have a heath food store near me with bulk herbs and such.

Have you heard anything good or bad about kava kava or st. john's wart?

From my experience, Kava Kava and St John's Wart alone were not effective in keeping my generalized anxiety disorder under control.  Personally I would rather focus on psychotropic medications, like Luvox, since these medications have been researched and tested vigorously through government agencies like the FDA.  These type of stringent standards are not given to over the counter supplements, like bottled herbs, so it's a "Buyer Beware" mentality in order to invest in extracts different than FDA approved psychotropic medications.
 
I can tell you that Kava Kava is illegal in some countries because of its link to liver problems and extreme skin rashes.  St John's wart has been mostly linked to alleviating mild cases of depression, but is hasn't been proven effective with anxiety disorders.  If you take any psychotropic FDA approved medication, such as a SSRI - an added adjunct of St John's Wart - will more than likely not interact well with the SSRI.  The two substances combined (SSRI and St John's Wart) will probably cause you bad, even possibly damaging, side effects.
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Quacks prey on us Anxiety Disorder sufferers as part of the Mental Health community, since we can be desperate for healing.  Don't be victimized, instead be EDUCATED about  QUACKERY!!!!! http://www.quackwatch.com/ 

Online insights

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 01:56:03 AM »
Have you heard anything good or bad about kava kava or st. john's wart?

While there are some small scale studies showing St John's Wort can be beneficial for depression, these all use a standardized pharmaceutical grade SJW. Commercial SJW can vary greatly in potency not only between brands, but between batches too.

Kava Kava has a number of problems which should rule it out. It has caused social problems and severe health issues in some Australian indigenous communities where it replaced alcohol as the main drug of abuse and it is now listed as a controlled substance. I understand there have been similar problems in North American First Nations communities too.

Do not take either with antidepressants or benzodiazepines.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline glavey

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Re: What should I expect from group therapy
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 06:10:30 PM »
Thanks for the warnings, I'll avoid both and stick to what I get prescribed to me.
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