One of the advantages of attending group therapy is that you'll occasionally see someone else in the group who possesses the same traits that you do. In many cases, these will be the traits that you're working on resolving through therapy, so it can be advantageous to see someone else who is essentially playing the role of a mirror by allowing you to see a version of yourself. You can take advantage of this situation by pursuing a number of steps, including the following. By going through these steps, there's a good chance that you'll be able to successfully work on the issue, and perhaps you can even play a role in helping the other person work on his or her issue, too.
Be Honest About What You See
If you notice another group therapy participant who appears to possess an undesirable trait that you know is present within yourself, your first reaction may be to downplay what you see. For example, you might note that the person appears stubborn and difficult to reason with, but that you're not nearly as bad as this person. Therapy isn't a venue for assessing who is "better" or "worse" in certain areas. You'll get more out of this awareness simply by being honest about what you see.
Bring It To The Therapist's Attention
It's a good idea to bring what you've noticed to the attention of the therapist who is leading the group session. If your session has multiple therapists leading it, choose to raise the issue to whichever therapist you most frequently interact with. Group therapy sessions sometimes have breakout groups, meaning that one therapist will take certain members together to talk to them. You might suggest that because you see similarities in your issue and the issue of the other person, a breakout session could benefit you both.
Role Play With The Person
If your group therapy session allows controlled role-playing between participants, it can be worthwhile to role-play with the person. Doing so will give you the opportunity to assess how other people might feel when interacting with you. For example, perhaps you're very stubborn, and the other participant demonstrates signs of stubbornness, too. Role-play a scenario of your choosing and notice how the other person's stubborn nature makes you feel. It can be exasperating to deal with someone who is stubborn, and this interaction may be the catalyst for encouraging you to change this trait in yourself.
For more information, contact a therapist like Donald McEachran, PHD.