Category Archives: group therapy

Updating Everyone Especially Stephanie (My Pet)

Hello faithful legions of readers!

It has been five entire fun-filled days since I have last written. Although the yearbook is tapping its toe, and threatening to send me to the principal’s office if I do not complete it, I have decided it is now time to bravely update the world on my doings from the week!

Many great highlights from the week. Kepler and I went to his new physical therapist and I really like her, and I think Kepler does, too. He thinks physical therapy is super-duper fun, and since we only go once a month, it’s always new to him. The facility is updating their computer system (again) to the biggest, best, and newest program so we had a slight delay, but since none of our information has changed, we got through pretty quickly.

Tuesday, I went to my first personal training session with my very own trainer, Javier. I had had two free half-hour sessions with him a couple weeks ago and decided I just didn’t like his style. But I’ve had enough trainers to know that they all have their strengths and weaknesses and own styles, and I decided to give the training relationship a chance. The main thing about personal training is that I LOVE it. And I already feel more fit and healthy and balanced.

Tuesday night I went to my special Food Group where I meet with other women who have eating disorders or food issues. What a sweet time that was. When I arrived at group, I was feeling very tired but when I left I was feeling beautiful and energized!

Wednesday I went to my regular therapy group, the first meeting I have attended since Mark left. You can read more about that change here..
I wondered what the group dynamics would be like, but overall I thought it was a great improvement, even though we will miss his input and presence.

Thursday, I became a temporary pet owner. We are pet-sitting Mason, a sweet, sweet dog belonging to friends of ours. Valerie was hired to take care of him but she was at camp this week, so the rest of us walked him (and stuff). I think everyone who knows me know that I would most certainly NOT call myself a dog person. I have had one dog in my life, and even though “Bernadine” was our family dog, I doubt that I ever even petted her, let alone walked her, or cared about her. (Fortunately for Bernadine, my two sisters loved her dearly, so she got lots of love and attention.) Anyway, surprisingly, I have really enjoyed having Mason here. He will be here for 2 1/2 weeks.

Friday, I had my other personal training session of the week. It was really probably a little more intense than I like, but it’s always a process to figure out how to work with the trainer. Maybe I have hindsight disease, but I don’t remember my first trainer ever having any trouble figuring out good weights, reps, exercises for me. Javier isn’t having any trouble figuring anything out, but I want to make sure the exercise time is the most value it can be, and if I work out too hard that is no better than working out too easy.

I will post this and write another post on the major learning I did this week.

My Group is Changing

Last night was Wednesday and Wednesday is group therapy night. As the clock struck 7, I sped out of the office. I felt sort of embarrassed about that, because I’m sure people noticed that I was quiet and left immediately. Actually, part of the reason I left so quickly is because I’m NOT sure anyone notices me. I have brought up two things that were important to me, and they were not followed up on the next week. I know I can bring them up, but one of the things I would like in this group is for people to remember and ask the next time, especially because the two things I am talking about were going to be ongoing. I even asked for accountability.

So, I’ve been one of the main talkers in the group. And I already mentioned that the other main talker is leaving the group. Next week is his last week. Last night, I was reminded just how important he is to the group. I’m starting to wonder if I want to keep on with the group, because the other members barely ever talk. We might be in for some really quiet meetings, especially if I start talking less than I have been.

I will have to miss our session in two weeks, so both of the main talkers won’t be there. I wonder what that session will be like.

Either we will move into some new, better phase, or we will regress into total silence. I look forward to seeing which it is.

Broken People – Part II

I started with this therapy group at its inception at the beginning of last August. Five of us, plus two psychotherapists met together for several months before we ultimately ended up with eight patients and two therapists. My group has been a great place for me and has been a great experience.

This past Wednesday, though, I left feeling quite sad. One of our members has reached a point where he feels like he is ready to leave the group. Others in the group were being all, like, “That’s great you’re ready to leave and you’re taking care of yourself.” “Hey, if you can do it, maybe I can, too.”

But I was feeling sad about him leaving. His contributions to the group have been huge. He has a wonderful way of distilling down what you’ve said into the basic issues and I have found his questions and comments to be very helpful to me over the months. As well as the impact he has had on me personally, I know that he and I are the ones who do the most talking in group, and I believe I may have started feeling that I CAN’T leave the group yet, regardless of whether or not I have reached my original goals.

Our other members are still in varying degrees of deep brokenness — the kind where they feel inadequate, unworthy, and unlovable. I feel like I have made huge progress i this group. You know what? I bet the others feel like they have as well. I guess what I am dealing with is feeling some responsibility to my group members, to stay and offer what I can. But what if it is time for me to move on? The very fact that it is so hard for me to make this decision makes me think I probably still have some work to do!

The truth is that sometimes I feel like a junior facilitator in our group. I see the facilitators affirming what I am saying, and building on what I have said. But the truth is that our facilitators are very good at what they do, and I don’t think they really need me to make the group work. Such a challenge to find that balance between embracing the truth of making a valuable contribution, and realizing that I’m a work in progress just like everyone else in the group.

I love the people in my group. We have no contact outside the group, in order to make the group environment as safe as possible, so I don’t think I will see any of these people after they or I leave the group.

For now, I know I still have issues that I can work on in group. So, for the time being, I will keep making my way to the office on Wednesday at 5:30.

What is Marriage Anyway

I am part of a therapy group that meets on Wednesday evenings. I love my group. We have been meeting since last August, and have lost one member and gained three, so we have a full group now with eight members. Our newest member is unhappily married and soon to be divorced. Because of confidentiality, I cannot even share in this format anything else about his story, but our meeting Wednesday night really made me think alot about marriage.

We have been married for 23 years. And I believe we will stay married for good. I was so distressed to hear the conversation at group about “taking care of yourself” and “honoring your truth.” I think there is a place for that kind of thinking, but when it comes to marriage, sometimes “taking care of yourself” can cause some huge problems in a marriage where one of the people is unwilling or unable to change his or her behavior. I do not advocate abuse of any sort. Abuse changes the reality and taking care of yourself is an extremely important thing to do.

I like to think there is a solution for most problems. Sometimes, or even most of the time, the choices we make as young people are not the choices we might make as forty-somethings, so the pragmatist might think that it’s a good idea to jettison “bad” choices and find true love now that he/she really knows what he/she wants in life. But I believe that marriage is a great refiner of each of us. We learn to think of someone other than ourselves. We learn to give of ourselves, even when we might not want to. When both people really love each other, I believe ANYTHING can be gotten through.

When Kepler was born, even as strongly as Greg and I feel for each other and are committed to each other, I looked at him one day in the first week and told him I could understand why tragedies (which Kepler’s birth and diagnosis were NOT, but it was still a difficult time) cause relationships to break apart. And I told him I thought we needed to be really aware of that possibility and re-up on the commitment side of things, and make sure we talked about what was going on. I shudder to think what might have happened if each of us had started focusing on “taking care of myself” to the exclusion of taking care of the other person at the same time.

How can anyone stay married these days without a sense of a larger meaning to life? If someone is unhappy in their marriage, why should they stay if they aren’t happy anymore? If what matters is only now, and only what I want, then divorce makes a lot of sense. But if we are part of a larger story, which I believe we are, then there are great reasons for staying and working through things.