What Are the Advantages of Group Therapy?
Group therapy is one of the many mental health treatment resources available. Typically group therapy consists of a group of about 5 to 15 patients who meet together with one or more practitioners leading the session.
Often groups are created to address a particular topic or problem. Group therapy can focus on specific topics and diagnoses, such as:
- Generalized anxiety
- Substance abuse
- Chronic pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Group therapy can also address more general issues, such as:
- Grief and mourning
- Domestic violence
- Life transitions
- Loss of a loved one to suicide
- Low self-esteem
There are many types of group therapy as well. The psychologist or practitioner leading the group may use a variety of approaches, so you will be able to find a group that works well for your particular set of issues.
The benefits of group therapy sessions can go beyond just getting psychotherapy or counseling. Group therapy brings its own set of unique advantages.
Group therapy provides a very realistic setting to see and hear how we respond, react and engage one another in social and personal situations. Participants are able to experience their own behaviors in that setting, which can lead to more effective and efficient or accelerated therapy. People may realize quicker interventions and a more significant impact than individual therapy.
The Advantage of Realizing You Are Not Alone
While the idea of group therapy may be intimidating at first, the experience of sitting with a group of people and being able to know that you are not the only one struggling with a particular issue can bring a welcome sense of relief. Often the participants in a group are at differing points in their personal journeys and this can help other participants increase their awareness of the progress they have made, or goal they may achieve.As psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom states in his book, The Theory, and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, “There is no human deed or thought that lies fully outside the experience of other people.”
The other participants can offer examples of their own experiences which can help you problem-solve and come up with new ways of looking at things. Sometimes even if another participant is saying something that feels challenging to you this helps you sort through how you may be feeling about a situation. The challenge of opening up in front of your peers in a safe place also helps you learn ways to communicate your feelings and perspectives. The opportunity to receive reassurance and support from others facilitates your healing.
The Advantage of Helping Others
Research has shown that being kind and helpful to others is also helpful to ourselves. Acts of kindness such as showing support for others actually increases certain neurotransmitters in our brains which can elevate our mood and decrease depression. Kindness towards others can even lower blood pressure.
The Group Therapy Advantage of Belonging
A feeling of belonging often occurs when someone is part of a group with a shared goal. This sense of community and acceptance can reap many benefits. While everyone will start out as strangers, the connection created by a sense of purpose can facilitate healing old psychological wounds. The understanding of confidentiality, meaning no one shares anything said in the group outside of the group, adds to the feeling of belonging.
Feeling accepted and a sense of belonging can allow you to really challenge yourself around your thinking and your actions. Knowing the other members of your group therapy will also be waiting to hear the results of trying something new also helps keep your promises to yourself to grow and change. This can be especially helpful when dealing with common issues such as social anxiety.
The experience of opening up about painful memories or experiences in a supportive group setting is an especially helpful way to release stored anger and emotions. The therapist or practitioner who leads the group will always be on-hand to facilitate any challenging situations that may come up.
If you would like to learn more about group therapy and the options available contact us to get the up-to-date treatment information you need.