The Group as a Laboratory
Group therapy is a microcosm of one’s own interpersonal world, and can serve as a social laboratory to experiment with more helpful patterns of engaging with ourselves and with each other.
If You Relate To People By:
1. Complying, giving in, being self-effacing
2. Resisting suggestions; holding back
3. Always talking; filling any silence with words because you feel uncomfortable.
4. Waiting for someone to say something, then reacting
5. Always smiling, even when annoyed or angry.
7. Trying to get people to stop feeling a certain way.
8. Being polite; not showing anger or judgment.
9. Expressing anger easily.
10. Deflecting praise.
11. Feeling bored but being too polite to say anything about it.
12. When attacked, defending yourself.
13. Being afraid and hiding your fear.
14. Always complimenting others.
15. Trying to get everybody to approve of you.
16. Giving advice.
17. Always helping other people.
18. Always asking for help.
19. Controlling your feelings and suppressing them.
20. Keeping things secret.
21. Playing it safe.
You Might Experiment With:
1. Saying no.
2. Taking a risk; trying something new.
3. Being silent for a minute; getting in touch with uncomfortable feelings; talking about those feelings.
4. Initiating something yourself, for someone else to react to.
5. Talking without smiling when feeling sad or angry.
6. Simply responding with what you feel (e.g., “ I have an impulse to explain”).
7. Simply accepting the way they feel; at the same time exploring your impulses and feelings.
8. Saying and/or showing your feelings.
9. Checking to see what feelings are underneath the anger.
10. Accepting praise and trying to take it in.
11. Talking about your feelings of boredom.
12. Not saying anything in rebuttal-but exploring the feelings you have.
13. Being openly afraid; letting everyone know it.
14. Telling others how you really feel about them.
15. Being what you are and accepting that some people may not improve
16. Reporting “I feel like giving you advice” – but not doing it.
17. Asking for help, letting yourself be helped.
18. Helping someone else.
19. Experiencing your feelings and exploring them.
20. Disclosing something about yourself that is hard to say.
21. Taking a few risks.
In trying these experiments, the important thing is to do something that feels challenging. Old, familiar ways of behaving will probably not result in productive experiments. A new behavior may seem difficult at first, but with practice, it gets easier. Then the new behavior may be added to your repertoire and is available whenever you need it.
-Adapted from DePaul University