Sharing can be healing. Sometimes sharing with others makes you feel good. It is an effective way to process your feelings and thoughts. Group Therapy can be a powerful way to express your emotions and to work through your issues. When the group therapy environment is emphatic, it may help you to find your inner strength. Many people are more socially active than others. Depending on your personality, you can decide on counseling. You may benefit most from individual counseling, group therapy, or a combination of both. The question is, ‘Is group therapy right for you?’ How is it different from other kinds of therapy approaches? Let us find out more about group therapy.
What Is Group Therapy?
As the name suggests, group therapy is a form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that involves one or more therapists treat a small group of people together at the same time. These groups are made of people who deal with similar issues and challenges. For instance, a group may include people who are struggling with an addiction.
In the traditional group therapy session, a therapist leads the group of people suffering from the same issues. The counselor teaches the group new coping skills and even encourages them to share their experience with each other. Usually, the group consists of 5 to 15 people. The people in the group work together to learn and offer support to each other.
In group therapy, some groups work as closed groups. It means people join the group at the same time, and no one can enter the same group later. The closed group can be helpful as it allows the group members to form a comfortable and safe connection among them.
However, there are open groups as well. As the name suggests, these groups allow people to join the group at any time. People can come and go anytime during the duration of the group. This is one of the most significant advantages of an open group. While, for joining a closed group, a person may have to wait for a little before finding the group that is scheduled to begin when you want to join.
How Traditional Group Therapy Is Different From A Step-Program Group
There are programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or AA that walk people through steps to recovery. Many people think that this is how all group therapy works. A 12 step program group shares some similarities with traditional group therapy, but there are few significant differences. For instance, the people attending AA do not offer advice to each other. They just share their own experiences and progress. No skilled or licensed therapist led this kind of group; it is a peer-run. These peer-run groups are mostly free of charge. Whereas to attend traditional group therapy, you have to pay. Therapy groups can be beneficial, but they are not for everyone. Some mental health issues are better suited for individual counseling.
Advantages Of Group Therapy
Group therapy has some advantages compared to individual therapy. Below are some of the advantages of group therapy.
1. Groups Provide Support
Hearing a similar kind of issue from others helps you realize that you are not alone in your challenges and struggles. If none of your friends and family members struggle with similar problems, it can make you feel embarrassed to confess your challenges. It can be harmful as feeling alone can lead to other mental health issues like depression. In group therapy, you are with others who understand your challenges and experiences. There are many individuals in group therapy, and everyone has their own perspective on similar problems. In this way, you can learn a lot from each other.
2. Groups Teach You About Yourself
Every person has a different vision to see challenges. Sometimes it can be difficult for an individual to describe his feelings. In group therapy, when you listen to people sharing their issues, you find an opportunity to share yours as well. It becomes more comfortable for you to find your voice. It is an essential part of recovery.
3. Groups Promote Social Skills
Social skills do not come naturally to everyone. Some life situations increase social anxiety. In group therapy, one can learn skills that can help cope with the anxiety of interacting with others. Groups help reduce the sense of isolation and provide opportunities to build and strengthen relationships with others.
4. Groups Provide Hope For Progress
In group therapy, when you hear other people coping with mental health issues, you feel motivated. You will be with people who are in various stages of treatment. Some of them might be starting, while some have already ahead in the process. It gives you hope that progress is possible.
5. Groups Build Confidence
Mental health issues reduce the confidence of a person. Group therapy helps individuals to find their voice. It helps to build your confidence.
6. Group Therapy Costs Less
As compared to individual therapy, it is much cheaper. However, it does not mean it is not effective. It can be mighty powerful.
How To Get Most From Group Therapy
Many group therapy techniques can help you to improve your mental health. Let us check some ways to get the most out of your group sessions.
· Listen: In group therapy, you have the advantage of listening to other people. You can take advantage by paying attention to what your therapist and other people say in the group.
· Share: In group sessions, you can sit and listen to other people in the group. You can participate in sessions and share your story; it will help you regain your lost confidence.
· Participate: There might be days when you do not want to talk. It is completely fine. However, the more you will participate, the more you will get out of it.
· Try: A group may be the best place for an individual to practice communication skills.
The goal is to put the new skills into practice in real life. From groups, you can very well start. However, the real changes happen when you start applying them outside the group.
It is just one part of the treatment for many. You can talk to the counselors about what kind of treatment or therapy is right for you. They can guide you on your options of therapy, including group therapy.