Embracing Change Together: The Transformative Power of Group Therapy

The power of Group Therapy

Tanya Cole-Lesnick, psychotherapist share the transformative power of, group therapy, and why there is, strength in numbers. She delves into the profound impact of, group therapy, in fostering personal growth and transformation. In this post Tanya shares how the power of collective support and shared experiences as individuals come together to navigate life’s challenges, heal emotional wounds, and help others embark on a journey of self discovery. This podcast  offers a compelling exploration of the transformative dynamics found within the context of, group therapy.

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Bio

Tanya Cole Lesnick has been a psychotherapist which is a licensed clinical social worker and coach since 1995. She received her master’s degree in social work from New York University after, group therapy, changed her life. She has extensive experience in outpatient hospital mental health, private practice and Wellness from those experiences. Over the years she has identified her most important focus helping people to live lives that light them up.

She does this by helping clients to access and honor their truth, change habits that do not serve them and to heal faulty narratives so they are living in alignment inside and out. Her work result revolves around intimate groups as she shares the inner words and being human together in a safe space is what she finds to be the most powerful way to transform Our Lives.

Myrna: In your bio Tanya you said that, group therapy, changed your life can you share that experience with us because I’m curious.

Tanya: I actually started my career out as a graphic designer and in those early days, I was very much longing for a, long-term love relationship, and I was struggling to find a partner and relationships were not lasting. I didn’t really understand what was in the way for me.  The idea of therapy came to me but  I felt a lot of stigma associated with therapy.

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Introduction to group therapy

I also was very dismissive of my issues and thinking well that was aren’t legitimate enough for me to explore therapy. But as time went on and my longing continued and the pattern wasn’t changing, I decided I didn’t really care if I was the right candidate or not I wanted something to change. I started therapy with this wonderful woman named Bonnie and right away that experience was very healing.

I felt like I could tell her what was going on. I did not feel judged by her, it felt emotionally safe to share my story and so that part was great. But very early on she suggested that I add, group therapy, and the thought of it was very terrifying, because I was much more vulnerable with her than I really ever had been. So the idea of sharing some of that stuff with people who at that time were strangers to me scared me.

But I was building some trust in Bonnie and she thought it was going to be helpful and I was sort of intrigued, so I said yes and started that process. It was really a combination of the two being in a group situation and then processing some of what came up for me separately with Bonnie and then going back to the group, where I was able to grow in lots of ways.

Number one, the reason why I thought maybe I wasn’t able to have a long-term love relationship might have been because I wasn’t lovable that was what my own brain was explaining to me. Maybe I was unlovable, maybe that was what the problem was, so by going into this group therapy, I was able to get to know people that I really admired and learn about their insecurities that were so similar to my insecurities.

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Group therapy helped me peel all all the false messaging

I was able to kind of peel away some of those messages that were just not true and got more comfortable in my own skin and developed some confidence became more embodied, because I think while I was trying to meet somebody. I kept curating the version of myself that I was going to show up at and trying to decide what somebody else was going to like rather than showing up fully as myself, because that didn’t feel so safe.

And so all of that stuff happened. I did meet a man who became my husband pretty early on and he and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We’ve got two grown amazing daughters so that life that I loved or happened and fairly quickly, but the part that I didn’t anticipate was how much I was going to connect to myself, how meaningful that Journey was going to be for me and how much more satisfied with my life I became.

As I started to have a better relationship with myself, that’s when I decided to go back to school and become a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist and coach and have been dedicating my life to helping other people have transformations of their own.

Myrna: Wow that is a very good story and it’s almost original because you’re right you know I’ve not heard anybody go into therapy because they’re looking for a life partner, it’s usually going into therapy because of some kind of trauma or addiction or something you know whether it’s, group therapy, or not. So it’s amazing that you did and so which is what makes us the spin on this conversation so unique. I absolutely love that and I have some circle backs.

One is that what I know, group therapy, is what I’ve seen in the movies and what use the reason like you know they have the when you go into therapy and you say you know my name is Myrna and  I’m an addict or whatever the reason that they do that there is because everybody there is an addict and everybody there can identify and you can share your space.

And I and I think they do that for the same reason that you said there’s commonality, you feel that you’re not alone. But what I don’t understand you know maybe we can unpack a little bit so you felt that you weren’t able to have a permanent relationship because you’re unlovable and when you went into therapy you were able to realize that message wasn’t true.

So if I’m thinking of me, I’m putting myself, if I think that I’m not lovable and I go into therapy and I see someone else that thinks that she’s not lovable how is that going to change me? How is that going to transform me?

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How group therapy transforms your thinking

Tanya: These relationships happen over time, this particular group was every week, so week to week we might have different layers to very similar conversations. So if I’m watching somebody else who is talking about feeling unlovable and I can see how untrue it is, it opens up a little bit of possibility in my own mind that could be the case for me too.

If I can see how lovable she is and she can’t see it for herself, maybe it’s not that I’m unlovable, It’s just I’m struggling to see it for myself which are very different things. So that was part of it. I think sharing more of my honest self with people and having people respond to that in such positive ways, I think helped me.

Also see that my inner world wasn’t so off-putting. I thought it was, and so I would take a little more risk a little more risk as the relationships within, group therapy, grew. Everybody would share a little bit more and there was a very like in real time opening up that either happened or didn’t. Some, group sessions, we maybe stayed a little bit more on the surface, other group sessions maybe we went a little bit deeper depending on sort of what got brought into the room and how we all responded to it; but the cumulative impact was really touching on these very deep places.

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Group therapy allowed me to touch deep places

In these deep places that was not typically happening in my life outside of group or or most of us we don’t typically go into such a deep place.
As  I practiced in, group therapy, It felt safer for me to start doing some of that outside in the world. This allowed me to meet my husband very quickly because I started to show up differently.

Myrna:  Why you think people fear, group therapy? I think you probably kind of hit the nail on the head earlier that people don’t like to tell how they’re really feeling, even in, group therapy, in a relationship. They always want to out on a mask.   I’m pretty sure that’s one of the reasons. So why do you think people fear, group therapy?

Tanya: I think it’s the vulnerability piece. I think it’s what we are working on when we go into either a therapy or a, group therapy, situation ,we want to improve some things that aren’t going well for us. So to be honest about what’s not going well for us, I think does feel very vulnerable and there’s real fear about how we’re going to be received if people hear how badly we’re struggling with something.

Myrna: In your experience what helps clients move forward towards the changes they long for and what keeps them stuck?

Listen Notes Transform Your Mind
Listen Notes Transform Your Mind

Getting unstuck in group therapy

The  transformation starts when we recognize what we’re each bringing into adulthood, what are our, limiting beliefs.  First off getting curious and checking in and recognizing where you’ve got messaging that’s not serving you and then starting to make some changes which can bring up some  emotions. When we start to challenge some of this old beliefs, we start, getting unstuck.

Myrna: How do they go from being clear about what they want in life and starting, group therapy, or even regular therapy?

Tanya:  The first step I think starting to recognize the pain points can be really helpful, so it can be something like when are you agreeing to things that you’re dreading that you don’t want to be doing that you notice like emotions coming up that are really negative connected to that. Or you are getting depleted, feeling resentful because you’ve said yes to things you don’t want to be doing.

Our energy actually gets maximized when we’re living in alignment and we’re not stuck in our heads weighing everything out assessing things, ruminating about things.

Myrna:  Let’s say that you go into, group therapy, and they’re saying Tanya do you have something to share, and you’re sitting there and you’re thinking of all the things that goes on in your mind. The messages in your mind.  And you tell yourself, I am not going to share nothing because they are going to think badly of me.   When do you decide to take the risk and share with the group?

Transform Your Mind Podcast Pandora
Transform Your Mind Podcast Pandora

Taking risks of sharing in group therapy

Tanya: We take a risk like that in therapeutic environments all the time so for me it’s not unusual to see it, but what I see in groups and I run little Retreats as well.  I see people taking those kinds of emotional risks with each other where they’ll share something they feel maybe some shame about and feel uncomfortable to share, when I see people do that, I’m always sort of celebrating them.

The connections that happen when people feel permission to share is enormous.  Taking that chance and giving themselves permission is great. Someone else listening then says to themselves if they can do it, then I can do it too.  Those relationships in the groups that get formed are a special kind of communication that happens from this inner place that’s so beautiful to watch.

Myrna:  I absolutely absolutely agree, because a lot of times when people are depressed they don’t want to talk, they don’t want to talk to anybody they hold it all in and therapy is talking, which is why talk therapy has become so popular.  In, group therapy, what you’re doing is seeing that there’s other people that feel the same way and then you don’t feel so badly about yourself.

Tell us about your work with groups and how you help your clients and how listeners can connect with you and be a part of your work and your group.

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Transform Your Mind Amazon

Activate group coaching program

Tanya: I run a coaching group program called Activate where people get a combination of group sessions with a few individual sessions; so that people can focus on identifying what it is that they want to work on and bring that to group.  It’s a six-month commitment and then sort of Midway through we assess what’s shifting, where are they and continuing to adjust goals along the way; so people continue to clear whatever’s in the way for them energetically and start to focus on building the lives that they really want to be living.

I do that group coaching program and do some small Retreats as well, because all my work is virtual except for The Retreat, so that’s just a more intensive weekend when people can really check in and do some of the work that we do in group, but a little bit more intensively. I have one coming in New York in October so not you know a number of months away we just did one in April which was amazing and so anybody that’s interested in working with me in any way.

I offer a free Discovery session that somebody can schedule themselves right on my website and it’s 20 minutes to chat about whatever they might be thinking.  My website is  www.clearenergeticclutter.com

my social media handles are Tanyathetherapist 

 Conclusion

I think the thing that I often say at the very end is just to remind people number one to be kind to yourself This is a tricky process and I know that people have a tendency to get frustrated with themselves especially if you start to recognize patterns you’re not thrilled about that you want to change it takes some time and energy to change some of these patterns so to be kind to yourself and allow yourself some quiet and some space to get in the habit of connecting to yourself. Those are the two things that I hope people really hold on to in this process.

That’s good advice  To know yourself is to grow yourself so you got to know yourself. I got an aha moment almost from my first question why was, group therapy, different from regular therapy and you answered that right away and that was my aha moment and. I get it, I understand it so yes it was a good conversation.  Thank you Tanya for being on the show and for illuminating our our awareness of, group therapy.

If you’re listening to this and iTunes we’d love for you to rate and review if you’re listening on YouTube would love for you to subscribe. Until next time namaste

Additional Resources

Becoming Flawesome: The Journey to Self-Acceptance

7 Ways to Get Unstuck and Take Back Your Power

One of the worst, negative emotions, in my opinion, is the feeling of, being stuck; defined as moving forward or going back looks worse than staying in the misery of your current situation. How do you, get unstuck?

Our topic today is How to, Get Unstuck. This is a, life coaching, session with, coach Myrna

Transform your Mind Stitcher
Transform your Mind Stitcher

Being stuck, is a place of no personal power

https://youtu.be/w4Qxq23FzPQ

What it feels like to be stuck

A few months back I received a note on LinkedIn from a young lady who said she was,  stuck. I felt her pain deep within my soul so I offered her a free, life coaching, to, get unstuck.

She was in an, abusive relationship. Her boyfriend was physically abusive to both her and her 2 year old daughter and she feared for her life. She had the courage to pack up and leave that situation. She lived in Florida and her only family lived in Atlanta, Georgia. In order to, get unstuck,  she quit her job, left her boyfriend and fled to her sister’s home in Atlanta. Her sister was unemployed and had 6 children. She was dependent on her husband for support. This young lady felt uncomfortable living in her sister’s home, because she didn’t have anything for herself and now she had to feed her and her child. She called me because she felt she should go back to her, abusive relationship!

How many of you can feel her pain?
Being stuck, is  when the pain of staying in your current intolerable situation looks better than the pain of leaving.
It could be a domestic situation.
It could be an intolerable boss.
It could be a demeaning job.

How do you make the decision to, get unstuck?

How do you find the strength to want something better?

How did I coach this situation?

This is the major benefit of, life coaching, the ability of the, life coach, to see the frame.

You see you can’t see the frame when you are the picture!

Transform Your Mind iHeart Radio
iHeart Radio

Coaching to Get Unstuck

I knew that one of the reasons that my coachee was thinking of going back, was because she still loved her, abusive relationship. She was trying to get someone else to agree with her.
So I asked her “Do you still love this man?” And she said yes.
Then I allowed her to become aware of what her brain was doing. It was, stuck, in repeat.
I told her that because she still loved this man, she is using the situation of her sister’s lack as the reason to return.
I asked her “Do you think your sister would want you to go back to that situation and maybe end up dead”? She said “no.”
I said think about it. What exactly are you taking from your sister? Space. Space doesn’t cost them anything.
I asked her if she had any money?
She said “yes.” So I said, use that money to buy food for you and your daughter so you can feel better about being a charity case.
.
After we got past the, negative emotions, we were then able to plan for the future to , get unstuck.

You can’t plan and have hope when you are busy wallowing in, negative energy, and self-pity of, being stuck.

I asked her about job prospects and she told me she had an interview scheduled for the next day.
That my friends is the First secret to, get unstuck.

1: Hope and Faith are important to getting unstuck 

Faith, that God can make a way out of no way.

Faith, that even though you can’t see the entire stairway you know that the stairs are there.

The message of, faith, in this story is that you can’t think that God intended for you to live in an, abusive relationship,  being dependent on an abusive man for your survival. You have to be able to get out of the valley, get unstuck, and see the light of the mountain top. You have to know in your heart that you were meant to be more. You have to want more for your children.

Once you find that, positive energy, things will begin to open up. Opportunities will come your way, God will open doors shut by the devil and your negative emotions.

My coachee got the job we are moving in the direction to, get unstuck.
She now lives in Atlanta and she is happy!
The devil is a liar, don’t let him convince you that you are, stuck.

Deezer Transform Your Mind Podcast
Deezer Transform Your Mind Podcast

2: Another way to get unstuck is to move the energy around.

The universe is made up of energy. We are a bundle of energy.
When you have, stuck, energy it causes disease.
So you have to force yourself to get off the couch, you have to do something, anything.
Do it until you feel like doing it. Do the things you don’t feel like doing until you feel like doing it!

Another client of mine got fired from his job so he sat around all day with his hurt feelings.
Blaming his boss and all his friends who did not support him.

You have to get over disappointment and hurt so you can get on with it.
Don’t let tragedy destroy you and keep you, stuck.
Don’t stop, continue to stay busy.
Continue to work your plan take small steps if you can’t take big steps
Automatic negative thoughts don’t take any effort on your part they come naturally like weeds in your garden.
But if you want to grow roses or orchids in your garden it takes special effort and a process.

Similarly, being stuck,  on something someone did to you is natural.
Feeling angry when your kids are ungrateful for the sacrifices you made for them is natural.
Being fired after working at your job for 10 years, never taking time off for your kid’s soccer matches or dance recitals is natural.
Feeling vengeful at the betrayal of your spouse is natural.

It is natural to be angry, hurt, disappointed, vengeful; but it is important not to stay there.

It is important to, get unstuck, remove , negative emotions. You have to get over them and move on.

3: Seek the council of others when you feel Stuck

What my friend on LinkedIn did was good. She contacted a, life coach. She received council and got a fresh perspective.
Even if she not heed my advice, she still moved the energy by doing something.

One way to do this is to memorize and recite the, serenity prayer, several times per day

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

One of the first things they taught us in coaching school is that you can’t coach someone that is not in front of you. Why was this important? Because most coachees will come into the coaching conversation complaining that their life is a mess because of the actions of someone else. The only person that you can change is yourself. You have no control over the behavior of anyone other than yourself.

4: Another way is to find peace with the situation if you can’t or won’t move right now.

I remember a sermon I heard from my first Pastor. He said whenever he felt like complaining about his wife he would pray and ask God to change him!

So for example if you are, stuck, in order to, get unstuck, you have to become aware of your thoughts. Change the way you look at the bad things he or she does. If he or she talks to you with disrespect. You can tell yourself it is not personal, that he or she speaks to everyone like that because he doesn’t know any better.

If he only talks to you with disrespect you can tell yourself that he doesn’t know you and let his words not penetrate your consciousness. He can talk but you do not hear or transfer the words. It becomes just noise.

This is a simple example but it works to, get unstuck. This is also called the Law of Allowing. It especially works in intimate relationships.
When you stop resisting and allow your partner the freedom to self-express, you open up the path towards healing the brokenness and allow the relationship to become healthy.

Concentrate only on what you are doing and saying. Stop reacting to stimuli and watch what happens.

5: Another technique is to notice when you are stuck and distract yourself

  • Come back to the problem later
  • Write out options and solutions
  • Write out the worrying situation
  • Write what you can do about it
  • Write what you cannot control about it.

6: Most importantly are your thoughts. Whether you are stuck or not, your thinking makes it so.

The thoughts that matter most are your self-thoughts.
It is never the situation that causes you to be, stuck, but your thoughts and feelings about the situation that makes you feel stuck.

Your thoughts influence your emotions, so to, get unstuck, think differently, and you will feel differently.

Sometimes, how you think someone should respond to you, blocks your blessings. If you move yourself and your ego out of the way.
Then maybe God can give you what he has in store for you.

Look at the bible story of Naaman. Naaman was angry because the profit did not come out and greet him and bow down to him when he came to him to heal his leprosy. Instead the profit Elisha sent a messenger out to tell Naaman to go wash himself in the river Jordon seven times and he will be restored. . Naaman went away angry because he felt disrespected. But he was smart enough to accept council from one of his servants. The servant told him he had nothing to loose by following the instructions of the profit. The servant was able to see the frame around the picture. Naaman could not. He could only see the situation that was making him mad. He decided to follow the profit’s instructions.
He went and dipped himself in the river Jordon seven times and he came out perfect and clean!.

Naaman almost missed his blessing by reacting to what he considered disrespect.

Some of you are, stuck, because of poisonous thinking.
Your thoughts can poison your spirit, and then you never see positive only negative.

As Neapolitan Hill said

As a man thinking so is he.

Shakespeare puts it another way

“Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

7: You have to know yourself to grow yourself

You have to know where your pattern started.
You have to make the connection between your old story and your current circumstances

Eg. If your mother gave you up for adoption and your feeling of abandonment are keeping you stuck in Low self-esteem,
you should become aware that your past has nothing to do with your future.

You know better, that you are not your mom and she had her reasons.
The deeper truth is that you are responsible for your life and not what someone did to you.
You have to shift and take responsibility, you have to know that you keep getting into these situations because of your lack of self-esteem or because of your need for security.
Awareness is key. Once again, a coach can help if you can look at your patterns objectively.

What are you blaming?
What is your pattern? What is the evidence of your pattern?

I had a coaching client who had 3 failed marriages where the men stole from her.
We had to find her pattern and why she kept attracting and falling in love with the same type of man.

We discovered that she loved how her dad took care of her mom and paid all the bills, so she kept looking for that trait in a man.
She ended up getting the opposite.

Use your negative energy to get unstuck

Did you know that nothing exists without its opposite?
You can’t know light without knowing darkness.
In order to know if something is good you first have to experience bad!

She had to learn to create a new pattern.
She had to go inside and use her feminine power of intuition to pick a mate.
She had to listen to her inner desire and not the outer desire for material pleasures.
When she did that she shifted her pattern and created a new one.
Now she is in the best relationship of her life.

She tells me that she has touched the moon and it feels so good!

To read about my personal journey of getting Unstuck, pick up a copy of my book
” Out of the Snares, a story of hope and encouragement”
Adobe Photoshop PDF

Out of the Snares

Additional Resources

How to Heal Your Brokenness

How to be Happy with Less