I am more and more convinced that healing must take place through the vehicle of relationship. I view relationship holistically from that standpoint of relationship with ourselves, with others, and with God. That being said, I find that the most growth happens in the context of community. A healing community doesn't just happen because people meet together. It happens when we feel safe. It happens when we know that what we say or do will be held within the group and we won't be judged, rejected, or corrected. It means that those in a group allow each of us "to be as we are" and to experience acceptance for our being. It requires an implicit knowledge of "being with". Meaning that you know because you know that others "feel" your pain. It is in the place of experiencing "being known" that we begin to be healed. When we are known by others, we experience the most fundamental and core needs that we matter, that we are understood, and that we can count on another to be there with us.
Group therapy invites us to start taking the risks of being known both currently and historically. Trust, security, and safety has to be earned by a group but not demanded. It is once you get a sense of that security that you can begin to open up. Group gently invites us to be authentic by seeing others authenticity. I have heard it said that "vulnerability begets vulnerability". Our group motto is "come as you are, be as you are." Which means that there is no time table / pressure to this process other than showing up. The reality is that group is just a microcosm for a larger sense of community.
Parker Palmer says it well when he says:
"The Soul is like a wild animal -- tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek." ~ quoted from Let Your Life Speak.