Imagine a life where you understand yourself and your relationships deeply. Where you’re no longer stuck in unfulfilling patterns because you have the tools and the experience to build genuine, lasting connections.
Imagine you’re confident and skilled in expressing yourself and your needs. You know how to navigate relationships with empathy, compassion, and assertiveness. And when challenges arise, you have the skills and the courage to tackle them head on.
While this may seem like a pipe dream for men who have only gone through individual therapy or none at all, it’s the reality for those who have gone through a good therapeutic coaching group.
Well, group therapeutic coaching offers certain advantages over individual coaching and can fast track your personal growth, leading to more authentic relationships.
In today’s episode, I reveal the four advantages group dynamics have over individual therapy dynamics, how therapeutic group work helps you confront unfulfilling patterns in real time (versus always looking to the past), and why it’s a more effective route for transformation.
Show highlights include:
- Why reading another self-help book or going through another online psychology course only delays your success in creating authentic relationships (1:13)
- How therapeutic group coaching is like going through the therapeutic process with a jetpack strapped to your back (2:08)
- The “Corrective Emotional Experience” secret found in group therapy settings that fast tracks your ability to create meaningful connections (5:51)
- Have you tried individual therapy sessions and are still stuck in bad patterns? Here’s why a therapeutic coaching group can finally break these patterns… (8:07)
- How group therapeutic coaching mirrors your outside relationships, leading to quicker and more permanent transformations (8:52)
- Why endlessly analyzing your childhood can keep you stuck there (and how the “here and now” approach of group settings forces you to address problems as they arise) (14:26)
- 4 proven reasons why group therapeutic coaching unlocks faster and more transformative change than individual therapy (23:37)
For David Tian’s “Healthy Dating & Relationships” small-group coaching program, which is mentioned in this episode, click here: https://cf.davidtianphd.com/hdr-og
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, I’m going to let you in on something truly powerful. We’re diving into the most efficient method to remove any barrier standing in your way of creating and nurturing lasting, intimate relationships. This isn’t just about finding some quick fix. It’s about deep, transformative change.
In the chaos of today’s world, the majority are stumbling around in the dark when it comes to building or sustaining intimate relationships. They’re stuck and they don’t even know it, or if they’re in individual therapy, they’re often taking a slower, more time consuming route. What I’m about to share with you in this episode is a complete game changer. It’s the faster, more effective path to understanding yourself and enhancing your relationships, and enabling you to create authentic connections naturally. [01:13.0]
But first, let’s address this myth that often gets in the way. There’s this pervasive idea floating around that if you just read enough self-help books or take enough online psychology courses, you’ll figure it out all on your own. This is a fallacy. While these resources are valuable, they’re often not enough to catalyze real, lasting change.
Here’s another myth, the belief that individual therapy is the most efficient way to grow. Now, don’t get me wrong, in certain contexts, especially for severe trauma, individual therapy can be more effective, and individual therapy is something I do for myself and that I do for others. But if you’re aiming for accelerated growth, especially if the issues you want to work on are related to interpersonal relationships, then there’s something else you should consider—and, no, I haven’t mentioned its name yet, but I will, and it’s a complete game changer. [02:08.2]
This method is like strapping a jetpack to your back on your journey to personal growth and better, more authentic relationships. It’s a way of supercharging your therapeutic process. Imagine not just walking, but flying towards a deeper understanding of yourself and forging stronger, more authentic connections.
This new method is a particular type of therapeutic group coaching. Alright, so let’s break this down. Let’s jump right into one of the most dynamic elements of group therapeutic coaching, which is interpersonal learning and feedback.
In a group setting, you’re not just working through your own stuff. You’re actively engaging, interacting and connecting with others. This interaction is a goldmine for personal growth, especially with interpersonal issues. Imagine this, you’re in a room with others who are on their own journey of self-discovery. You talk, you share, you react, and you get immediate, unfiltered feedback on how your behavior and communication style land with others. It’s like holding up a mirror to your interpersonal skills. [03:13.7]
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re someone who tends to be a bit assertive, maybe even bordering on aggressive without realizing it. In an individual therapy session, it might be hard for your therapist to fully capture the impact of this trait. But in a group setting, the reactions are going to be right there, right in front of you. Someone might say, “Hey, when you speak like that, it actually feels intimidating for me,” and that can be a really powerful moment. It’s real. It’s raw, and it’s incredibly enlightening.
Here’s another scenario. Maybe you’re the quiet, reserved type, and in a group setting, someone might point out to you, “When you don’t share much, we feel like you’re not really with us, and we’re curious about what you’re thinking and feeling. We want to connect with you,” and that’s valuable feedback. It helps you understand how your reticence affects group dynamics and relationships. [04:08.7]
This process of giving and receiving feedback is a two-way street. You learn about yourself, and you will also learn how to provide constructive, compassionate feedback to others. This isn’t just about pointing out flaws. It’s about fostering growth, both in yourself and your fellow group members.
Think about how this translates to your everyday life. The dynamics in the group mirror your interactions outside, whether with friends, family or romantic partners. The self-awareness you gain here is a powerful tool. It helps you navigate your relationships with a clearer understanding of how you come across to others, and how to adjust your communication for healthier, more fulfilling interactions or to achieve the effect that you desire to create in others. [04:56.3]
In a good therapeutic coaching group, we’re not just talking about change. We’re living it. We’re practicing it in real time with real people. It’s active. It’s engaging, and it’s incredibly effective. You’re not just learning about theories. You’re experiencing change in the moment as it happens. This method is a fast track to deeper self-awareness and more meaningful connections. It’s about breaking down barriers, opening up new pathways of understanding, and reshaping the way you interact with the world.
If you’ve been feeling stuck in the same old patterns, unable to figure out why your relationships aren’t as rich or as rewarding as you’d like, consider this approach. It’s not just talk therapy. It’s a transformational experience that equips you with the tools to build the kinds of relationships and connections you’ve always wanted.
All right, let’s dive into a second critical aspect of group therapeutic coaching, the corrective emotional experience. In good group therapeutic coaching, members have the chance to relive and reexamine their past relational dynamics. It’s like going back in time, but with a new set of tools and perspectives. [06:11.1]
Here’s what happens. In a safe, supportive intimate group setting, you might find yourself naturally recreating the patterns or dynamics that you’ve had in past relationships. Maybe you always felt overshadowed by a dominant sibling or perhaps you struggled to connect with a distant parent. In the group, these dynamics can resurface in your interactions with other members. But then here’s the twist—you’re not just replaying these old patterns. You’re dissecting and understanding them in a way you never could before. It’s like finally getting a map after wandering lost for years.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Imagine you’re someone who always felt unheard in your family. In the group, you might initially find it hard to voice your opinions. But then as you share this struggle, the group supports you, encourages you. They actively listen, and suddenly, you’re not just the quiet one. You are being heard, maybe for the first time in your life, and that’s a corrective emotional experience. You’re repairing that old wound of feeling ignored in real time. [07:18.1]
Or consider someone who’s always taken on their caretaker role, always putting others’ needs before their own. In the group, they might start doing the same, always offering support, but never asking for it. But then, through feedback and reflection, they start to see this pattern. The group encourages them to express their own needs, to be vulnerable, and in doing so, they start to heal that part of themselves that always felt they had to be strong for others or to caretake others.
These experiences in a group setting can lead to profound healing and growth. It’s about confronting and mending the emotional injuries we’ve carried with us, often without even realizing it, and this kind of healing offers a different perspective than what’s typically achieved in individual therapy. [08:06.8]
In individual sessions, you’re often reflecting on past experiences. In the group dynamic, you’re actively reliving and reshaping them in real time. It’s not just about talking through your issues. It’s about experiencing change in real time, with real people who are going through the same process. It’s a shared journey of discovery and healing.
So, if you’ve been carrying the weight of unresolved emotional wounds and burdens, if you’ve felt stuck in patterns that you can’t seem to break, group therapeutic coaching might just be the key to unlocking that door. It’s a new powerful method that goes beyond traditional therapy, offering a path to deeper self-awareness, healing and growth much faster.
Now, let’s dive into the third factor that I’d like to point out here about good group therapeutic coaching. It’s like a mini society, what is called a social microcosm. This setting is powerful because it mirrors the larger world of relationships. It provides insights into how we interact with others, giving us a condensed real-time view of our relational patterns. [09:15.8]
Imagine this. In a group therapeutic coaching session, you’re not just dealing with one therapist. You’re engaging with a diverse group of people, each bringing their own personalities, issues and backgrounds, and this variety is like a sampler of the societal interactions we face daily. The more intimate the connections emotionally and psychologically between the members, the more likely and more powerfully you as a member will recreate in the group, a microcosm of your outside social world.
So, instead of us, as group members, relying on your hearsay report about how somebody else in your life is bothering you or blaming you, or complaining towards you or criticizing you, you will end up with be creating those dynamics right there in the group, and what that allows us to do is to work on it right there and then, which is far more direct and effective than just talking about it. [10:12.8]
For instance, in the group, you might find that you’re drawn to certain types of people that will mirror your outside relationships. Maybe you gravitate towards nurturing figures, replicating a need for parental approval that you’ve always had, or perhaps you find yourself clashing with more assertive personalities, reflecting a similar struggle in your personal or professional life.
Now, let’s bring in a case study to really flesh this out. Take John for example. In his group sessions, John noticed he would always try to play the peacemaker, smoothing over conflicts, much like he did in his family growing up, and this role made him feel valuable, but also exhausted and unappreciated. [10:56.0]
Through the group’s feedback, John realized he was replicating his family role, always putting others first at his own expense, so in another session, he decided to experiment. He voiced his own needs and opinions, even when they conflicted with others, and this shift was uncomfortable at first, but it led to a breakthrough. John learned to assert himself, a skill he then applied in his personal life, leading to healthier, more balanced relationships in the outside world.
This microcosm effect of group therapeutic coaching is crucial for anyone seeking deeper, authentic connections. It’s a safe space to experiment with new ways of relating to break free from unhelpful or maladaptive, or toxic patterns. You start to see yourself more clearly, how you impact others and how they impact you. This insight is invaluable. It fosters a level of authenticity and genuine connection that’s often hard to achieve in our day-to-day interactions. [11:58.3]
In the group, you’re not just learning theoretically about relationships. You’re living them, breathing them, practicing them. You’re seeing in real time, how your actions and words affect others and vice versa. This dynamic is a powerful tool for anyone looking to deepen their relationships and become more authentic in their interactions.
If you ever find yourself wondering why certain patterns keep showing up in your relationships or if you’re struggling to connect authentically with others, consider the power of group therapeutic coaching. It’s a mirror to your world, offering insights and opportunities for growth that can completely transform your approach to relationships and your entire experience of connection.
Alright, let’s talk about a fourth pivotal factor that makes group therapeutic coaching so powerful, which is working in the here and now, and this is about tackling issues as they pop up right in the moment. This is a stark contrast to the often reflective nature of individual therapy, where you might spend weeks or months unpacking past experiences, often with your eyes closed. In group therapeutic coaching, you can take advantage of what’s happening right now in that room or that Zoom Room with the other group members. [13:11.0]
This approach isn’t just immediate. It’s incredibly impactful. It allows you to delve deep into your emotions and reactions as they unfold. You get a real time understanding of your own behavior and how it impacts others. Okay, here’s an example to illustrate. Picture Luke, a member of a therapeutic coaching group.
No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.
Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.
Learn more about this transformational program by going to DavidTianPhD.com/EmotionalMastery.
That’s D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.
Luke finds himself feeling anxious and defensive every time a particular group member speaks. In a traditional therapy session, Luke might spend sessions analyzing why he feels this way, probably tracing it back to something in his childhood, but in the group, he addresses it as it happens. He shares his feelings, and in turn, learns that his reactions are more about his current insecurities than about the other person, and this revelation changes how he interacts, not just in the group, but outside of it as well. [14:58.5]
This here-and-now focus has a ton of advantages over solely digging into childhood memories. Obviously, understanding our past is important, but endlessly analyzing distant memories can sometimes keep us stuck there. In good group therapeutic coaching, we use the dynamics of the group, this social microcosm effect to understand how our past affects our present. We work with it as a live issue right there in the session.
Take Mark, for instance. He always felt overshadowed by his older brother, growing up. In his group sessions, he noticed a pattern of withdrawing whenever he felt someone else was taking the spotlight. Through the group’s immediate feedback and his own real-time introspection, Mark started to understand how this pattern was affecting his current relationships. He began to assert himself more, both in the group and in his personal life, changing a lifelong pattern of behavior. [15:56.3]
Working in the here and now means we’re not just talking about change. We’re actively practicing it. It’s a hands-on approach to self-awareness and personal growth. You’re not just revisiting your past. You’re reshaping your present and your future. If you’ve ever felt like therapy was too much about the past and not enough about the present, group therapeutic coaching might be what you’re looking for. It’s about addressing what’s happening right now in real time, and it’s very practical, and understanding how that shapes your relationships and your life.
The final factor that I’d like to highlight here for you to explain why and how group therapeutic coaching is so much more powerful than other therapeutic methods is in the area of building authentic connections. At this time in this modern world, where the dating culture often feels superficial, where connections can be as fleeting as I swipe left to right, the need for genuine deep connections for our happiness and fulfillment has never been more pressing. [16:56.2]
Group therapeutic coaching steps in as this unique space that fosters a sense of community and belonging, and connection. It’s a stark contrast to the often isolating and surface-level interactions that we find in modern dating. In the group setting, you’re not just a face in a crowd. You’re part of a community, a collective journey towards growth and understanding.
Let’s take Sam, for example. Sam came into group therapeutic coaching, feeling disillusioned by his experiences in the dating world. Like many, Sam found himself in a cycle of short-term, unfulfilling relationships and flings. In the group, he found something different. He found a place where he could be more of his true self, where he could share his fears and desires without the fear of judgment, and this environment of trust and authenticity was new to him.
As Sam engaged more in the group, something amazing started to happen for him. Sam began to form genuine connections with the other members. These weren’t romantic relationships, but they were deep and meaningful. The group became a training ground for authenticity. He learned to listen, to open up and to connect on a level that went well beyond superficial banter. [18:07.2]
As Sam developed these skills within the group, he found himself applying them in his personal life. His approach to dating started to shift. He looked for deeper connections for women who resonated with him on a genuine level. He became more discerning, more aware of what he truly sought in a partner.
But it’s not just about dating these skills, this focus on authenticity, they spill over into all areas of your life. You start building healthier, more meaningful relationships across the board with family, friends, and colleagues. The group therapeutic coaching setting teaches you in a very real sense how to connect with people on a deeper level.
Let’s take another case. Let’s call them Alex. Alex joined the therapeutic coaching group mainly to work on his social anxiety. In the group, he found a safe place to explore his fears of rejection and judgment, and through interactions with a group, he learned to express himself more openly to share his thoughts and feelings without the fear of not being good enough. [19:10.0]
As he practiced these skills, his confidence grew, and this newfound confidence had a ripple effect in his life. Alex’s relationships outside the group began to change. He found it easier to initiate conversations, to be present in interactions, and to form connections that were authentic and lasting. His fear of judgment, which had once held him back, began to diminish. He wasn’t just surviving social situations. He was thriving in them.
So, if you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of unfulfilling flings or relationships, or if you’re craving deeper, more authentic connections, the therapeutic coaching group might just be the missing piece for you. It’s about so much more than just talking about your problems. It’s about learning in a very hands-on way, how to build the kind of relationships that enrich your life. [19:57.4]
Now, as of this recording, for the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with different types of coaching groups and different dynamics, and I’ve found this one special, most effective type of group work, and this is building on the foundation of the legendary psychotherapist, psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom’s pioneering work in group therapy—and adding into it IFS therapy and Gestalt therapy, and CBT and DBT, and my own personal experiences as, for several years, a successful pickup artist and coach, and dating coach, and my own personal experiences as professor of philosophy, and all that stuff mixed in there, and for the past few years testing this and various beta groups that have been incredibly successful.
One of the most powerful parts for me, as a practitioner and superintendent of the group process versus me as an individual therapist is that there are often protective parts in someone who are stuck in these neurotic roles that were effective when they were young children, but are now maladaptive as adults and are causing problems in their personal lives, and in their professional lives when it involves other people. [21:05.5]
These parts stuck in these neurotic, protective roles that are no longer very effective are based on limiting beliefs or cognitive distortions, and a turning point in the therapeutic process is enabling the client to have a higher perspective to see that these are, indeed, limiting or false beliefs, or that they are distortions of reality.
If it’s just little old me trying to present this different perspective, often I will get a lot of resistance from these parts, because they’ve been stuck in these old beliefs for, in many cases, decades, and it’s hard to suddenly switch or shift, and they just don’t believe me. So, I have to go very slowly and gently, and sometimes that takes weeks, months, in a few cases, years, to come around to seeing a higher perspective.
One of the beautiful parts about a group setting is that there are eight or nine other people there, who, because it’s not their issue, are able to have a more objective perspective on that false belief or cognitive distortion, or have a more objective view of what’s happening for that person. [22:12.6]
It’s one thing to be able to dismiss your therapist as only one other person facing you, dismiss the therapist’s view as “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “You don’t understand what I’m going through,” or “The effect that I have on you is your fault” and you can maybe externalize the blame towards the therapist and offloading your own shame in that way. But it’s much more difficult to do that when there are eight other people around this group that knows you intimately and are supporting you in doing this, because they care, telling you the same thing, giving you the same feedback as a mirror onto your own blind spots. That’s one of the reasons why the therapeutic process goes so much faster, because when the higher perspective is reinforced by eight other caring people in your safe space, that internal unconscious resistance crumbles much faster and the protective parts are able to see that other perspective. [23:04.5]
Once they do that and trusting the intimate relationship that has to be set up within the group for that to happen, for the social microcosm in the here and now in the corrective emotional experience, and all of those therapeutic factors to kick in, and once they do, it’s much easier for that member to trust the process and to relax back, and for those protective parts to lean into the process instead of getting in the way and obstructing it, and of course, gaining the trust of the protective parts in each person is part of the therapeutic process itself.
Okay, so let’s wrap up through a quick recap.
First, we talked about the incredible value of interpersonal learning and feedback in the group context. This is where you get a real-world feel for how you come across to others, and then you can learn to adjust your interactions for healthier relationships.
Okay, then we delved into corrective, emotional experiences. In a group setting, you’re not just talking about your past. You’re reliving and then reshaping it. It’s about healing old wounds in real time. [24:06.2]
We also explored the group as a social microcosm. The group mirrors your real-life interactions and your outside social world, and this gives you insights into your relational patterns and how they’ve gotten you stuck in some ways and your blind spots, and then how to improve them.
Then we got into working in the here and now. This approach tackles issues as they arise in the moment, leading to a deeper understanding of your behavior and its impact.
Now, let’s bring all these elements together with one more case study. Let’s talk about Mike. Mike came into the coaching group feeling like his relationships were superficial. He had a hard time connecting on a deeper level and often felt misunderstood. In the group, he quickly realized that he had a pattern of avoiding vulnerability. He would joke or change the subject whenever things got too personal for him. [24:58.3]
Through the group’s feedback, he started to see how this behavior was keeping him from forming authentic connections. He began to take more risks, sharing more about himself, his fears, his desires. The group supported him, provided a safe place for him to be vulnerable, and then the real transformation occurred.
As Mike became more open in the group, he noticed a shift in his outside relationships. He started having deeper, more meaningful conversations with his friends and his family. He even entered a romantic relationship, where, for the first time, he felt truly seen and understood. Mike’s story is a testament to the power of group therapeutic coaching. It’s not just about self-improvement. It’s about transforming your entire approach to relationships and connection. [25:48.5]
So, what’s life like once you get into therapeutic group coaching? Imagine a life where you understand yourself and your relationships on a deeper level. You’re no longer stuck in unfulfilling patterns. Instead, you have the tools and the experience to build genuine, lasting connections. You’re confident in expressing yourself and your needs. You understand your impact on others and how to navigate relationships with empathy, compassion, and assertiveness, and when challenges arise, you have a toolkit of skills to tackle them head on.
This isn’t a distant dream. It’s the reality for many who’ve gone through a good therapeutic coaching group. It’s a journey of growth, self-discovery and life transformation. So, if you’re feeling stuck or if you’re craving deeper connections, or if you just want to understand yourself and your relationships in a deeper way, consider group therapeutic coaching. It could be the turning point you’ve been looking for.
As of the recording of this particular episode, I have a coaching group open for registration right now. It will either close at the end of the week or when all the available seats fill up, and already many of them have been taken. If you’re interested, I should have a link to that group registration page in the show notes, so take a look at that opportunity, if you’re interested in joining this particular coaching group. [27:08.1]
If this is bad timing for you, I will be doing more therapeutic coaching groups going forward, so keep checking back, and a great way to do that is to sign up for my newsletter on my website and you should get announcements whenever there’s an opening, which should happen a few times a year.
Thank you so much for tuning in, and until next time, keep striving for those deep, meaningful connections. They’re within your reach. If this episode has helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it. Hit a like, subscribe or follow on whatever platform you’re listening to this on. Leave a positive review and leave a comment. Let me know your feedback on this episode. I would love to hear what you think of it. I thrive on your feedback. Let me know. Get in touch. And I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out. [27:55.4]
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