If you are considering psychotherapy, several options are available; one of these options is group therapy. Depending on the nature of your problem, group therapy can be an ideal choice for addressing your concerns and making positive changes in your life.
Group therapy involves one or more therapist/facilitator who lead a group of six up to fifteen clients. Typically, groups meet for an hour/two each week.
Some people attend individual therapy in addition to groups, while others participate in groups only.
Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as
- panic disorder,
- social anxiety,
- chronic pain or
- substance abuse.
Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as
- low self-esteem.
Groups often help those who have experienced loss, whether it be a spouse, a child or someone who died by suicide.
Benefits of Group Therapy.
Joining a group of strangers may sound intimidating at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Therapists say, in fact, that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be. Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. Other members of the group often help you come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge, and hold you accountable along the way.
Regularly talking and listening to others helps you put your own problems in perspective. Many people experience mental health difficulties, but few speak openly about them to people they do not know well.
Often at times, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you are not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they are going through, and realise you are not alone.
Diversity is another important benefit of group therapy. People have different personalities and backgrounds, and they look at situations in different ways. By seeing how other people tackle problems and make positive
More than Support
While group members are a valuable source of support, formal group therapy sessions offer benefits beyond informal self-help and support groups. If you are involved in an anger-management group, for instance, your therapist will describe scientifically tested strategies for controlling anger. That expert guidance can help you make the most of your group therapy experience.
How alike are the group members?
Groups usually work best when members experience similar difficulties and function at similar levels.
Is group therapy enough?
Many people find it is helpful to participate in both group therapy and individual psychotherapy. Participating in both types of psychotherapy can boost your chances of making valuable, lasting changes in your life.
How much should I share?
Confidentiality, respect, acceptance (unconditional positive regard), empathy and being congruent are an important and essential part of the ground rules for group therapy. Groups work best where there is open and honest communication between members. Group members will start out as strangers, but in a short amount of time, you will most likely view them as a valuable and trusted source of support.
© 2015 – 2016, Content: Dr Vasilios Silivistris – Artwork: Ian Francis. All rights reserved.