I thought this group therapy stock image was hilarious. Also when I googled group therapy pictures they sit a lot closer together than we do in real life. And this group looks pretty youthful for the chronic pain groups.
There are different classes or sessions I can attend at the pain clinic, but I kinda lump them into one category I fondly call “group therapy.”
Today I went to the Dialectical Behavior Therapy group. We went around and each shared how we’ve been using the tools from DBT with our pain and in our lives. The check ins around the group took about half an hour and so much reverberated with me.
My little check in was that I’ve been finding “radical acceptance” and “willingness” to be helpful lately because the chronic pain journey keeps changing and when new challenges come up, I have to keep “turning the mind” and getting to a positive place. Today I could relate to at least something if not all of what each person said. It sounds so cheesy but it feels really good not to be the only person going through this.
Today topics ranged from having our partners and families now on board and and tuned into our tools so they’re able to help us in unique and thoughtful ways, better communication, overcoming the habit of isolation, struggling with old habits and thinking patterns, and recognizing and letting go of unhelpful expectations.
Both facilitators brought up things I thought were interesting. One said that we may get more aware of a thought pattern and emotion, but we still need to feel and acknowledge the actual emotion. For instance we may feel guilty we can’t do things the old way. We may have identified where this is coming from, and identify that we’re having that old cycle come up, but we should still FEEL that guilt so we can overcome it and our brain can move past it.
The other facilitator, who is my case manager and source of wisdom for me, brought up that to move from old habits to new habits, we shouldn’t resist and squash the old habits. It’s more effective to build new habits, and the brain will begin to see more options. She also said being in the present moment is the portal to nudge and create more space around something, whether it’s an emotion or pain. It takes us out of the pattern and brings us to an infinitely more open place.
I guess I can’t beat that so I’ll stop here. I do love me some group therapy.