In most romantic comedies from North America you will often find a scene or several scenes with support groups. What makes it so popular in broadcast media? One reason is that support groups help to address issues arising in various aspects of human existence.
A support group is made of people who share a common condition and are each seeking comfort, advice, or support as they share their personal journey. Another variation is group counselling. Usually, support groups are made up of a few people and a leader, who engages in counseling.
Members of the group are encouraged to express themselves, share their journeys, emotions, thoughts, and concerns without judgment. There are support groups that help people deal with recovery, loss, bereavement, adoption, etc.
It begs the question, is group therapy effective and why would people opt for it? Group counseling helps people ReGain themselves and whatever was lost such as self-esteem, the will to go on, perspective, etc. People find it effective for many reasons. One being that they are able to connect with people dealing with a similar situation to theirs and they can interact with them, ask questions, and receive support.
It is not unusual to find that when people are going through something, everyone else around them seems to be far removed from that particular situation. They feel alone, abandoned, or overwhelmed and it seems like no one can relate to their situation. Therefore, when they go for group counseling or to a support group they have a chance to meet people who appear to be in their tribe.
Why do most romantic comedies dramatize support groups? Romantic comedies are films that focus on lighthearted plot lines, and are slice-of-life fiction. They tend to end with a resolution of situations and mostly have a happy ending. It stands to reason that group counseling would be depicted in these movies.
Group counseling provides a number of benefits including emotional support and connection for participants. The environment is safe, welcoming, and filled with reassurance. The environment is also designed to reduce or totally eradicate the stigma associated with whatever condition the group counseling is addressing. These are prime themes for romantic comedies.
In support groups the participants share humour, inspiration, develop emotional ties, and find resolution to the challenges of life. The environment is one of positive reinforcement, hopefulness, and emotional support that motivates and encourages members to continue their journeys in healthy and empowering ways.
In group counseling, participants get a psychological and emotional boost. They help improve the mood of participants and provide reassurance and decreased anxiety. Human experiences can be complex, and based on antecedents everyone develops a framework to deal with problems. Group counseling helps people break negative patterns that are self-defeating and choose a more positive and helpful way of approaching issues.
Where self-esteem has been lost or never existed, group counseling helps to ReGain it. Most dramatizations of support groups and group counseling in romantic comedies are positive and they point to the counseling sessions helping participants connect with new people in a meaningful way while solving a problem in a specific area of life.
There are some factors that make a person’s participation in group counseling and support groups work. One is that a participant needs to practice active listening. It is a technique used in counseling, and it requires the listener to concentrate on what is being said, understand it, respond appropriately, and remember what has been said.
The second factor is that a participant really has to be ready to participate by asking questions, answering questions, sharing experiences, and making contributions that benefit others. The third factor is the skill of the leader of the group or the counselor. A skilled counselor will move the group to achieve results.
It is no wonder romantic comedies dramatize support groups and group counseling often, the dynamics in these group settings make for good entertainment and feel good stories.