Was there a time you heard about psychotherapy and became curious about it? Ever considered the idea of attending one? The benefits are promising, especially if you get the therapy that suits you well. The good thing is it is available in a wide array of options, one of which is group therapy.
In a group therapy session, a therapist works with several individuals simultaneously. Some therapies demand active participation from individuals to easily form a bond that can help improve the quality of the sessions.
What Are The Types Of Group Therapy?
There are different variations of group therapy depending on what you need. Its types include the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Groups
This type of therapy group focuses on redirecting your thinking patterns, analyzing your emotions, and realizing how these manifest in your behavior.
- Support Groups
Support groups establish a rapport with people who go through the same situation as you. Its main goal is to create relationships amongst the members and boost up one another.
- Skills Development Group
In this therapy, the aim is to develop social skills for individuals battling mental disorders or developmental disabilities.
- Psychoeducational Group
Lastly, this type of therapy focuses on empowering members with information about their conditions. These can help them take actions towards their betterment.
In addition to the abovementioned groups, therapy sessions may be closed or open. The former is strictly for the members; no new participants are anticipated to attend. Meanwhile, the latter accepts anyone who wants to join at any time.
What Happens In A Group Therapy?
Group therapies are conducted regularly. Members, together with the leading psychiatrist, meet weekly for a specific duration. A session lasts for an hour or two. Sometimes, a few members are required to attend one-on-one meetings as well.
Group therapy sessions may differ depending on the therapist’s style. Some therapists encourage participation more than listening. They follow a free-form flow for the therapy session. On the other hand, others plan how the discussions will run. Meanwhile, some therapists require members to develop a new skill.
However, there are some things you can always expect to happen during group therapy. Here are the stages a therapy group goes through:
- Forming stage
During this stage, group members introduce themselves to each other. They share and listen to stories as well. It is also expected for the therapist to orient the members on the flow of the therapy and the rules within the group. Most concerns are raised during this period.
- Transition stage
The goal of the therapist in the transition stage is to gain the trust of the members. Since this is the transitioning period, some have yet to be comfortable. They can be reluctant to share or participate.
At this stage, therapists expect the members to develop cohesiveness. By this time, they should have already familiarised themselves with each other. They should also be completely aware of the flow of the sessions.
- Performing stage
With the established rapport after going through the previous stages, members are now expected to feel comfortable. They can now freely express themselves. Growth and productivity are prevalent in this stage.
The name of the stage says it all; it marks the end of the sessions. Members, together with their therapists, look back and discuss how the group therapy helped them. The therapist also shares what they noticed about your individual and group growth.
Why Should You Consider Attending Group Therapy Over A One-on-One Session
Group therapies can be very beneficial. Along with proper medication, it can be very helpful to people suffering from different conditions such as:
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorder
- Anger management
- Stress management
- Chronic illness
Group therapies are also advisable for people experiencing challenging life events like divorce, domestic violence, grief, and loss.
Unlike individual therapies, you get to mingle with other people. So, you get to see the world from different perspectives. Their stories can help you find purpose and appreciate the beauty of life. You learn not just from your own experience but theirs as well.
From group therapies, you get to have support and encouragement not only from your therapist but from the people who go through the same battles as you. By actively listening, you’ll realize that in this world, you are not alone. Furthermore, group therapy enables members to gain confidence. People lacking in communication and social skills may learn from their experience within their group.
Another pro when it comes to group therapy is that it is usually less expensive than an individual session with a therapist. Since the therapist no longer devotes a specific time for each client, group therapies are often more affordable.
But before engaging in group therapy, you must get a doctor’s recommendation. Based on your condition, you will be assessed on whether or not you are a great candidate for this type of therapy. It would help if you also put into consideration your preference. Since you will be participating in a group, it is expected that you would interact with other people and be okay with sharing what you are going through.
Remember the old saying, no man is an island? It may seem a bit cheesy, but it holds especially true for people going through tough times. If you are going through a rough patch yourself, consider joining a group therapy session near you. It will never hurt to surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.
You may be uncomfortable at first. But once you establish trust with your fellow therapy members, you will find the sessions more smooth sailing. You will be able to find a haven where you can share your thoughts and feelings. You might even find friends for life. Most importantly, you will find a group that will help you grow and develop as a person.