Come on in, take a seat, and tell us how you really feel. Group therapy is a powerful type of therapy that has many unique benefits compared to other therapy options. Although group therapy has a long, rich history in the field of mental health, few people truly understand what is group therapy? And how does it work?
What is group therapy?
Group therapy is a type of therapy that involves one or more trained therapists working with several people at the same time. Typically group members all have something in common such as survivors of trauma or those who experience high levels of stress in their lives. Group therapy is sometimes offered alone, but it can also be helpful in conjunction with individual or couples therapy. People in group therapy improve not only from the interventions of the therapist, but also from observing others in the group and receiving feedback from group members.
What can I expect from a group therapy session?
Support groups vary, but the basic format is a small group of people (usually no more than 10) who meet on a regular basis to discuss their experiences and provide mutual support. Trained therapists are present to offer suggestions and ask questions, but the goal is to invite members to share what feels most relevant to them and interact with each other in an honest and open manner.
When joining a support group, you may be uncomfortable at first when it comes time to discuss concerns in front of strangers. However, the fact that others are facing the same type of situation may help you open up and discuss your feelings. In addition, everything that takes place within the support group should be kept confidential.
What are the benefits of group therapy?
1. Increased Feedback. You can benefit from the group by sharing and listening carefully to others. Most people find that they have important things in common with other group members, and as others work on concerns, you can learn much about yourself. In the group environment, others serve as mirrors that reflect aspects of yourself that you can recognize and improve upon if you choose to do so.
2. Modeling. By seeing how others handle similar problems, you can start to learn new strategies and ideas of how you might handle situations differently. In addition, the experience of being open and honest with others can improve self-acceptance and help you realize that you are not alone.
3. Improved Social Skills. Many people learn to improve their social skills in group therapy, even though this issue may not be the focus of the group. You will learn from your therapist and other group members how to communicate more clearly and effectively. As you continue to learn and grow in group, you will likely experience improved relationships with important people in your life outside of group.
4. Less expensive. And lastly, an important benefit of group therapy is that it is affordable. This means that you can continue in therapy for as long as you continue to benefit.
If you are considering group therapy but are frightened by the idea, you are not alone. Sharing intimate information and details about your life with others is never easy. However, challenging yourself to do so not only benefits you in the ways described above, but it also will give you increased confidence in knowing that you can overcome your fears. With each group meeting you will likely find that you are more comfortable sharing and feel better about speaking freely. The psychological safety of the group will help you express feelings, learn more about yourself, and receive the kind of support that you need.
To learn more about group therapy offered at Therapy Changes, please visit our Group Therapy page or call 619-275-2286 to speak to someone and have your questions answered.