People often think of therapy as a method of self-help that focuses on just that: the self. Although therapy is a space that takes great care to focus on you and your individual needs, there is an added component to the wellness experience that also deserves attention: Community Building. 

Community Building is a key ingredient to achieving optimal mental health. Community or interacting with groups that share common interests, environments & circumstances – can all help alleviate feelings of isolation, low motivation, and hopelessness. This is because human beings must have access to Universality, which is a term developed by Group Psychologists to describe the benefits of not feeling alone in your struggles. Meaning, despite the fact that every person’s experience is unique, you can still share similar themes of resilience with your peers.

In the therapeutic space, you can expect your provider to ask you questions about your interests, your cultural background, your spirituality, your neighborhood and your interactions with people who are separate from your close family – to assess your community involvement. A therapist may then help you brainstorm means of connecting with others, such as finding classes, events, meet-ups, protests, places of worship, health resources, or group counseling offerings.

Increasing workplace demands, and parasocial (one sided) relationships via social media, as well as pandemic recovery, and a loneliness epidemic – have made it increasingly difficult to initiate community building.

Here are some ideas for becoming more involved in your community:

  • Volunteer at your local community garden, hospital, animal shelter, soup kitchen, clothing drive or afterschool program.
  • Apply for a public library card and view postings of upcoming cultural events + readings.
  • Visit local businesses instead of ordering supplies to your home: Say hello and learn the names of your cashiers, pharmacists, florists, fruit vendors, dry cleaners, baristas, even your bodega cat.
  • Attend a peaceful protest for a cause you believe in.
  • Join a local sports league, band, or art collective.
  • Introduce yourself to your nextdoor neighbors.

It can be scary to meet new people, however, with guidance, intention and a desire for universality – community can activate feelings of joy, connectedness, and mutual understanding.

Schedule appointment

Phil Glickman

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Wellness Road Psychology

A leading provider of mental health services, offering a range of evidence-based treatments to help our clients improve their mental wellbeing.

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