What is group therapy? All you need to know

this is a drawing of three people at therapy

Group Therapy

What is group therapy

Group therapy is where groups of people experiencing depression, eating disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or any other mental health struggle may choose to take therapy sessions together. Instead of deciding to talk one on one with a therapist. Group therapy can have anywhere from 5-15 participants and use one therapist or multiple.

Here is What is group therapy? All you need to know.

In this blog, we aim to tell you everything you need to know about group therapy. This way, you will have a much clearer idea of whether group therapy is the best type of therapy for your preferences, needs and overall health. 

Like structural family therapy, which addresses a group of individuals together in the same room, group therapy also works with a group of individuals at once. The difference is that group therapy individuals are not there because they share ties or history, but they may have common goals or mental health needs.

That said, this therapy can assist you in achieving and meeting a wide range of objectives, from overall mental health improvement goals to specific mental health conditions.
People who have mental health issues that find it difficult to function daily may benefit from the therapy. Others who engage in this therapy may not be suffering from pressing problems but seek support nonetheless.

Some of the themes covered in group therapy treatment include:

Group therapy can also help individuals work on communication issues and skills that can benefit them in their relationships.

A therapist might sometimes recommend group therapy over other types of treatment. This might be the case because it is a better fit for that individual or more effective in treating their condition.

Many individuals combine group therapy with medication, individual counseling, or other forms of therapy. You might be hesitant to participate in treatment while sitting next to strangers. There are several advantages to participating in this therapy, though.

Group members might be able to provide strategies for coping with problems that many in the group face, sometimes sharing areas in their life that connect with you on needing support. They can also provide social support when things get tough. The diversity of a group setting may assist individuals in discovering new methods for keeping their mental health in good shape.

Finally, hearing about other people’s personal experiences might help you to comprehend your feelings better.
Also note that when deciding what type of therapy you need, there is a huge distinction between this therapy and self-help or support groups. The major distinction is that at least one licensed therapist leads each group therapy session. A psychologist delivers research-based techniques that provide skills and valuable information to participants during group therapy sessions.

The group setting of this therapy is a consistent source of support as individuals go forward. Whether you aim to grow, enhance social or coping skills, or ease your symptoms, this therapy may help you accomplish it

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is a type of talk therapy that involves the participation of one or more therapists with many individuals – anywhere from five to fifteen – at the same time. This form of treatment is readily accessible in various settings, including private therapeutic clinics, hospitals, mental health facilities, and community centers. It can aid in improving mental health but is frequently used to address a specific mental health concern.

The therapy is sometimes used on its own, but it is frequently included in a comprehensive treatment strategy that includes individual therapy. Groups will typically meet for one to two hours weekly.

What is group therapy used for?

Depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, or substance abuse are just a few issues that group therapy may help with. Other groups concentrate more broadly on enhancing interpersonal skills and helping clients deal with various concerns, including anger, shyness, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Groups also frequently assist those who have experienced loss, whether a child, spouse, or a loved one who died by suicide.

What are the different types of group therapy?

Group therapy is divided into several types depending on your mental health issue and the clinical technique employed during treatment. The following are the most frequent forms of group therapy:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and eliminating faulty or incorrect thinking patterns, emotional reactions, and behaviors.

Interpersonal groups

Interpersonal groups, which are concerned with your interpersonal connections and social interactions, such as the amount of assistance you receive from others and the influence these relationships have on your mental health.

Psychoeducational groups

Psychoeducational groups educate patients about their issues and coping methods that are typically based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) principles.

Skills development groups

Skills development groups are groups for adults with a mental health condition or an intellectual disability that focus on improving social abilities

Support groups

Support groups address a wide variety of mental health issues to help individuals and their family members.

What are 3 advantages of group therapy?

Joining a group of people for therapy is intimidating for most, but group therapy has advantages that individual therapy may not. Group members are frequently astonished by how gratifying the group experience can be, according to psychologists.

  1. As individuals progress, they might begin to serve as role models and support figures for other group members. Group members may become inspired by seeing someone deal successfully with a problem. When this happens, it promotes hope and encouragement for recovery or improvement.
  2. As group members hear your stories and conflicts, they may help you develop ways to improve your specific situation and work through challenges. It can help to have additional insight and accountability from individuals other than the therapist.
  3. Group therapy is typically highly affordable. Instead of focusing on one client at a time, the therapist focuses their time and attention on a larger group of people, which lowers costs for each participant. If cost is a major factor for you, other types of therapy prioritize cost-effective therapy that you can explore before deciding. 

Group therapy activities

In many cases, the group will gather in a circle so that everyone can see each other. Members of the group may introduce themselves and explain why they are in therapy at the start of a session. Ice breakers can be useful if used appropriately. Members might also talk about their past experiences and how they have progressed since their last meeting

How the session goes is determined largely by the group’s goals and the therapist’s approach. Group activities may help people communicate, trust one another, and grow as individuals. Some therapists advocate for a more free-form discussion style, such as reading and telling stories in which each participant is encouraged to participate however and whenever they feel inclined.

Therapists may use various methods in their sessions, including role-playing or having participants practice new skills with other group members. Physically engaging team-focused exercises are sometimes used in group therapy sessions. Dancing and cooking, which require participants to work together to accomplish a goal, are examples of physically engaging exercises. These activities aim to create trust and respect.

Role-playing, outdoor activities, and other games can all be used to enhance group member trust. These may also assist individuals who are part of a therapy group in gaining self-esteem and confidence in others. Other hobbies such as painting, acting, or playing music may be utilized to encourage creative expression.

Group therapy for teens

According to research, group therapy is very successful for teenagers and young adults, and there are several reasons for this. Teens have an excellent cognitive understanding of emotions and can distinguish subtle distinctions in feelings. However, this is a time where they are also learning how to think conceptually and evaluate their thought processes. These thought processes tend to lead to conflicting feelings and, ultimately, feelings of overwhelm.

The therapy allows adolescents to express themselves in a way that normalizes their emotions and experiences. They may learn about themselves, the impact their behavior has on others and get feedback from their peers. Not to mention, teenagers are developmentally prone to value peer feedback over adult feedback, which is another incentive for teenagers to be more receptive to this type of therapy.

Group therapy for children

Group therapy can also help young children. Group treatment may be beneficial if your child is dealing with anxiety, depression, socialization issues or has recently gone through a loss or transition. This therapy is extremely successful at treating a wide range of difficulties while teaching coping abilities and fostering peer bonding.

Children are often extremely impressionable and reactive, with a limited understanding of emotions. But because childhood is a time of rapid development and change, emotional intelligence can be improved by engaging in directed conversations with peers. This is important for developmental milestones for this age group.

Also, because children have an innate ability to express themselves and resolve conflicts through play, group therapy is designed to encourage them to do so in a safe and supervised environment. Groups for young children may include various types of play as part of the session, including unstructured free play or structured role-playing, drawing, or board games.

PTSD group therapy

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the various conditions that group therapy can help with. The success of group therapy for PTSD patients may be dependent upon a variety of factors.

For one, members of a group may offer guidance on dealing with circumstances that many in the group find difficult. They also provide social support during tough times. Group therapy can also be extremely beneficial since it allows individuals to see that they are not alone.

Listening to other people share their own stories might assist you in placing your thoughts into perspective. Finally, the catharsis that comes with telling your feelings and experiences to a group of individuals can be very therapeutic.

Another way to address PTSD in a more new-age approach is MDMA Therapy, read our founders’ personal account doing this for his PTSD and anxiety.

Social anxiety group therapy

If you have social anxiety, group therapy could be highly beneficial for you. Group therapy can help you improve your social skills, as it allows individuals to learn by socializing.

The therapist works based on principles of active listening, offering helpful feedback, and giving encouragement. Group members also offer input on interpersonal interactions that you and others may pick up on overtime and begin using in the group context and outside of group therapy. It is also possible that by spending more time sharing with others you will feel more comfortable overall, which is one indirect way this therapy can help improve social anxiety.

All that said, you must be willing to share for group therapy to be effective. So, in some cases, sharing in a group is not the best route for those with social anxiety or social phobias. Furthermore, some forms of this therapy involve activities like role-playing and deeply personal conversations, which might be too intimidating for those who are exceptionally private or uncomfortable around new people.

What is a major benefit of group therapy

The group setting itself is one major benefit of group therapy.

It can be comforting to know when others are going through similar struggles. In this way, a group setting naturally promotes greater support and encouragement for everyone involved.

It is also worth noting that, while it may seem like talking about someone else’s personal experiences wouldn’t be very beneficial, if they are working through similar struggles, they can be a great source of insight. Listening to others talk about their own experiences might help you put your situation and thoughts in perspective. Finally, group therapy can assist individuals and provide them comfort by helping them to realize they are not alone.

Group therapy near me

To get started with finding group therapy near you, take the following steps:

  • Consult with your doctor to determine which type of group therapy is ideal for you.
  • Consider your preferences, such as if an open or closed group therapy session is best for you. In an open group, anyone can join at any time. In a closed group, everyone joins at the same time, taking part in a series of sessions together.  You may also opt to check out online group therapy.
  • Contact your health insurance to inquire about group therapy coverage.
  • Search online for group therapy near you.

Group Therapy conclusion

No matter what form of therapy you choose, the very first session is the hardest. Take some tips from our post on what to say at your first therapy session to help make a smooth start to this helpful journey.

Does group therapy sound like something for you?

If you have tried it before, please leave an honest comment below on how it went, it will help our readers immensely.

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