What do I do that creates distance? How could I bring others closer? How can I have more satisfying relationships with friends, family, spouse, and co-workers?
Many of us learn to keep certain parts of ourselves hidden: our anger, our love, our jealousy, our fears, our vitality. We grow up hardly knowing these parts of us because they were too difficult for our families to handle. As a result, we often wind up feeling incomplete and lacking in a sense of wholeness.
Being in a group and getting feedback about how we come across to others, gives us an opportunity to explore these different parts of ourselves. Finding out that these hidden aspects are not necessarily “bad”, allows us to begin to incorporate them into our being, and become more of our “authentic” selves.
In the safe and supportive Interpersonal Therapy Groups, which I have facilitated for the last 30 years, we emphasize the expression of feelings, honesty, openness, risk-taking, and relating more directly to others. We try to stay in the present (here and now) and respond to others with integrity, and compassion while being as honest and direct as we can be.
After learning new ways of speaking and communicating, and incorporating more parts of ourselves in our interactions with others, we find our lives changing in our outside worlds.