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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been sorting through some emotional issues for some time now. I have come to a decision that I am frightened to make: I want to ask my dad and stepmother to join an upcoming group therapy session with me. My therapist recommended that we sit down together, as a lot of my issues stem from the way they treated me when I was younger. I’m very nervous to ask them because I’m sure they have no idea I’m feeling this way. How should I approach this? — Group Therapy
DEAR GROUP THERAPY: Be gentle as you approach your family. If possible, go to see them and bring this up in person. Tell them that you have been going through some challenges and sought therapy to address them. Explain that some sensitive topics have surfaced that include things that happened when you were younger and still living with them. Tell them that your therapist has asked for the three of you to come together to talk through these sensitive topics, and you hope that they will agree.
It is likely that they will try to get you to reveal what the topics are. This is where you would do best to stand your ground. Tell them that it has been difficult for you to get to this point in your healing process. You believe you need the therapist’s professional support to help the three of you examine what comes up. Assure them that this is not an ambush. Instead, coming together with your therapist will present a safe space for you to talk together and sort through whatever comes up.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.