GROUP THERAPY

Be More Chill Senior Year, Group Therapy

“We are not having this conversation again.”
“You eat in our shower! I stepped in goulash this morning, doesn’t that disgust you even a little bit?” The therapist sighed looking up from her notepad at the teens. Ever since the incident last year the drama club had been going to group therapy and today it seemed to be more Rich and Jake’s couple therapy.
“You’re such a girl Jake, I mean it’s just a little food.”
“Who eats in the shower?”
“I thought we were supposed to be talking about how our first few days at school were going.”
“We are, can you please save your argument for later.”
“I’m sorry but isn’t therapy where I’m supposed to talk about my personal life?”
“Not your love life, if you want to that you can sign up for couple’s counseling just down the hall.” Both Rich and Jake glared at each other before the therapist turned to Christine. “I heard you say your all participating in the school musical. Tell me about that.”
“Ohh! Mr. Reyes posted the cast list! I’m going to be Crystal!” Brooke excitedly sat up from where she had been laying on Chloe. “If you want I can sing-”
“NO!” The group collectively agreed that Brooke could not in fact sing. Even Chloe had said no.
“I mean you need to save your voice for practice.” Chloe added quickly seeing Brooke’s face.
“Oh, yeah.”
“And I’m the plant, Rich auditioned too but he’s just the stupid dentist.”
“Suck my dick Jake.”
“Isn’t that your job?”
“Oh you wanna go right now?”
“Bring it, bro.” It took the combined efforts of everyone in the room to hold Jake and Rich apart from each other before they calmed down enough to sit down.
“What about you Jeremy? You’ve been awfully quiet this session.”
‘Yeah Jeremy, tell her about the mean voice in your head that won’t let you masturbate anymore.’
“I’m the main character.”
“Yeah, and I’m the main character’s girlfriend.” Michael made an over exaggerated kissy face at Jeremy who’s blush went unnoticed to everyone but the therapist and Christine.
‘Careful there Jeremy, don’t want to suddenly grown an inch in front of everyone.’
‘Please stop talking about my penis so much, it is making me very uncomfortable.’
‘Don’t worry, there’s not much to talk about.’ Looking over at the clock Jeremy saw it was almost five.
“Would you look at the time, I really need to go. Don’t want to be late for work again. Haha.”
“But you don’t work today.” By the time Michael said this Jeremy was already out the door.

Boundaries Exercises

We did a cool exercise in Group Therapy today about Boundaries.

The first one, we had a sheet of paper with 6 concentric circles with nearly an inch of space between the edges of each - so like a big bullseye. The center circle is ME - the absolute boundary, the things no one but me knows, feels, shares, etc. From there, we wrote the names of people in the rings around ME according to how close we let them. So total strangers *should* be outside all the circles, while your closest confidante/best-friend or partner might be in the inner-most ring next to ME. Other family and friends range along the rings like this:

Or something. The way I drew mine, I had names crossing over into multiple rings, with the name mostly in the ring it usually lived in, to reflect how close I will allow them or how far I have to push them away.

Then we did a similar exercise but with a house plan. We drew the house layouts ourselves on graph paper (so we could draw our actual homes or visualize one of our choice. Now that I think about it, I forgot to put a bathroom in my made-up house!)  The group therapist’s example also had front/back yards and the street. Here’s something like the one I drew (except I remembered a bathroom this time):

So with this drawing, you’d write people’s names where you’d be comfortable having them in your own, personal house. Obviously if it’s your own house, you may not be cool with your parents in your personal bedroom, but they’d be fine everywhere else. Maybe your best friend might sit on your bed with you to chat. Maybe your regular friends don’t go in your bedroom but can go everywhere else. Or maybe you’re not comfortable with people staying over. Strangers don’t’ make it past the front door and people who’ve hurt you can be thrown in the street (preferably with traffic). You can think of it literally, but I liked this one in addition to the first because it’s not so linear. I have family I’m closer to than some friends but I wouldn’t want them dropping by un-announced, or I wouldn’t let them stay over. It’s a different way of thinking about boundaries.

Feel free to try these out - it’s an interesting way to check in with the boundaries we have with the people in our lives.