You are the golden eternity because there is no me and no you, only one golden eternity.

— Lawson Fusao Inada

Being Known:
Group Therapy as a Catalyst to Identify,
Foster and Express the Whole Self

Rena Pollak, LMFT, CGP

August 20, 2022

1:00 – 5:00 PM PT


The search for identity does not end in high school. The questions that plague us — Who am I, Who do I want to be, How do I fit in or stand out, Who do I like and who likes me, and What is important to me — are some of the identity questions that our clients grapple with throughout their lives. 

Clients may struggle with these questions because the answers they found as a child were maladaptive and unsatisfying. Clients may find their old beliefs insufficient to support them through the different stages and challenges of life. 

Group therapy provides a uniquely effective environment for client’s ongoing work regarding identity and living from their fullest self.  Helping clients explore their identities throughout their lifespan, encouraging them to embrace who they are now while also creating new possibilities for how they want to be, leads to greater flexibility and aliveness.

This workshop will demonstrate the power of group therapy to activate identity work through the use of mirroring, bridging, examining judgments and experiential learning.

We will start with a review of identity development and the value of ongoing identity work.  This discussion will include the impact of family of origin as well as larger cultural influences on identity formation.  I’ll explain the many aspects of group therapy that activate identity work.  Models, mirroring, bridging, examining judgments and experiential learning will be explained and modeled.  We will learn how to work with judgment to increase cognitive flexibility and facilitate progression instead of regression.   

I will demonstrate a group therapy session so that volunteers and observers can experience the power of interactions that activate insights regarding self and others.  Following this experience we’ll evaluate what we’ve learned.

The training will include a discussion of the challenges that may arise to prevent exploring identity and how to use those challenges to deepen the work.  Anxiety, shame, and communication difficulties are examples of potential blocks that will be discussed.  

This workshop will help you:

  1. Summarize the developmental stages and impact of social influences on identity
  2. Utilize modeling, mirroring, bridging, examining judgments and experiential learning for client’s identity exploration
  3. Compare the use of judgments that lead to progression or regression
  4. Recognize potential blocks to identity work
  5. Demonstrate interventions that reduce blocks to identity work.
Rena Pollak, LMFT, CGP, has dedicated herself to the practice of interpersonal group therapy since her traineeship in 2010.  She provides group therapy as well as individual and couple counseling in her private practice in Encino.  In addition to leading process groups, Rena has led cancer support groups, child and adolescent grief groups, and parenting groups.  
Rena has had hundreds of hours of group therapy training, involvement in group therapy consultation as well as being a participant in therapy groups.   She has earned a Certification in Group Therapy from the International Board of Group Therapy.