Share, Learn, and Support: How Group Therapy Can Benefit Gay Men
Do you find yourself struggling to connect with others?
Is it difficult to build intimate relationships with other men?
Are you feeling burdened by the obstacles of your past?
Coming-out, though an important step, is not always the hardest step. For gay men, the journey to self-love can be arduous.
You may find it difficult to reconcile previously held shame about who you are. Likewise, the social assignments of gender can feel impossible to break. These past experiences can hinder the ability to create healthy relationships in your present life.
Unresolved Self-Beliefs and Traumas
Gay men often spend a portion of their lives in secrecy—whether as a child who was not ready yet to come out or as an adult in certain environments that are unwelcoming. This secrecy brings with it a certain degree of repression.
In addition, feelings of detachment occur. Gay men become conditioned to keep their distance from forming deep connections often as a form of protection.
This protection is warranted in many situations as physical safety is a real concern among gay men. However, when we cannot process our past traumas or current behaviors effectively, we risk suffering from growing as an individual and building community.
The Consequences of Unprocessed Emotions
For those who have yet to resolve the emotional experiences of their past, the consequences can be sincerely detrimental. These effects appear in a varying degree and scope in a person’s life.
Left unresolved, individual struggles can lead to:
- Inability to form deep connections with other
- Failure to maintain relationships long-term
- Self-doubt and/or morphed self-image
- Regression from social engagements
- Undeveloped modes of communication
- Anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions
Clearly, these emotions need to be processed in some way to open the way for closer relationships.
Why Choose Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a wildly successful tool for many gay men. This form of therapy can provide a wide range of positive impacts on an individual’s progress.
It helps you recognize your behavior.
What we cannot recognize in ourselves, our group members will. Group therapy is a great resource for discovering the blind spots that we have in regards to ourselves and the relationships we are in. These recognitions will be both positive and critical.
Group members will remind you of your strengths and self-worth while also asking you to stop and pay attention to certain behaviors and negative self-beliefs.
It teaches you how to communicate effectively.
Often, gay men feel as though they have, in some part or time, been silenced from expressing who they are and how they feel. This leads to a difficulty or discomfort in using their voice in other situations.
Group therapy provides a safe space for you to experiment and develop your own mode of communication.
It encourages you to develop intimacy with other men.
There is a pattern among gay men to avoid deep intimacy. This is most likely a result of social upbringing and the roles dictated to men. In a relationship with a man and women, the female usually encourages intimacy having been raised in a social system that elects women as more sensitive. In a relationship with two men, it can be challenging to break through these social norms.
Group therapy is a space where sharing and encouragement is a fundamental component. This exchange of feelings and ideas encourages intimacy among members that will eventually reflect in each participant’s life.
The journey to happiness and self-love is an ongoing process that takes time and patience with oneself. Starting your journey with the support of a group can set you off on the right foot. Consider exploring therapy groups in your area to find the best fit for you. Together, with other forms of self-care, you can create a better future.
If you’re in the Dallas area, you can learn more about our group for gay men here.