Group therapy is another form of psychotherapy treatment where a licensed professional leads a group of individuals in a supportive and structured session. The groups are designed to target specific problems and offer a sense of community.
Although it may sound intimidating to open up to a therapist, much less in front of other people, residents find great rewards in building a support network and finding a group that can be a sounding board. Many individuals participate in group therapy in addition to their one-on-one therapy sessions.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
Small group therapy sessions typically include between 3-6 individuals and larger groups of 6 or more individuals. There may even be groups led by more than one licensed professional. Above all, it is essential for residents to feel comfortable enough to share and be willing to open up.
Residents are likely to be encouraged to attend group therapy sessions on a regular basis, depending on their individual treatment plan.
While there is never a requirement to share during group sessions, many find that they get the greatest benefit when they are open to sharing and contributing, as well as listening.
11 Key Principles to Group Therapy
- Universality: suffering is universal and finding community among other individuals who understand your pain.
- Hope: offering hope to newer individuals in group sessions who can see that others have overcome the same challenges.
- Information: other group members can serve as a resource of information.
- Group cohesiveness: shared sense of belonging and sharedness in struggles and challenges.
- Catharsis: talking through feelings can offer a sense of relief from pain, guilt, stress, and anxiety.
- Socialization: a safe environment to practice new behaviors and develop social skills.
- Altruism: the principle and application of caring for the well-being and happiness of other human beings.
- Interpersonal learning: receiving feedback from a professional in a group setting can help an individual learn more about themselves.
- Existential factors: facilitate the realization that individuals are responsible for their own actions even in a group setting.
- Corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: individuals explore childhood experiences, personalities, behaviors, and emotions, aiming to recognize and steer clear of destructive patterns.
- Imitative behavior: individuals can positively model or imitate behaviors.
Is Group Therapy Right For Me?
The stigma surrounding mental illness, along with the associated challenges, can create feelings of loneliness and frequent isolation. However, with group therapy, many have found comfort in finding a group with similar struggles and being led by a professional through everyday triggers. Groups can also offer perspective and serve as sounding boards or accountability partners. Sharing with others who understand what you’re going through can be helpful in finding healing.
Every participant in group therapy comes from diverse backgrounds and unique experiences. Consequently, group therapy provides a distinctive opportunity to engage in listening to others’ perspectives while also contributing your own.
Benefits of Group Therapy
Observation and feedback by therapist
Allows role modeling
Provides a safe environment
Breaking The Stigma
Seeking therapy session can seem like a daunting task, especially with such stigma around mental illness. Creating a safe space between yourself and a professional in a group setting can be a life-changing experience as you delve deeper into life’s triggers while improving your overall wellness, mentally and emotionally.