Group therapy is a different approach to the one-on-one model of traditional therapy. Instead of developing a relationship and working through your challenges with just a single counselor, you and 8-10 others work through your challenges as a group.
A group setting might be scary for some people, but it’s been found to be beneficial for those who experience social anxiety. A one-on-one setting can seem daunting for many. This kind of therapy is a great option for someone who isn’t quite ready to commit to a one-on-one setting, but has a general awareness of what their issue is.
Group therapy benefits clients by offering a place to:
Find support from peers
Gain new perspectives
Give voice to feelings
Promote social skills
1. Find Support From Peers
Camaraderie can go a long way. Group counseling gives members a place to meet new people and find others who are experiencing similar things to you.
During sessions, you won’t only receive support from the therapist, but also from everyone in the group. It also gives you a chance to offer support to those in the group. Giving and receiving support creates a tighter therapeutic bond between those in the group.
Support is important for continuing and maintaining mental well-being. Being a part of a support system that can offer you help when things get difficult can prevent mental health relapses. Group therapy is a great place to find a support system.
2. Gain New Perspectives
While you attend group therapy you’ll hear from people who are experiencing something similar to you, but who have a different perspective from you.
As members of the group start talking about their own perspectives, you may learn something new. Hearing these new perspectives can give you new approaches and skills.
3. Give Voice to Feelings
You might be the kind of person who doesn’t talk about your feelings much. Maybe it’s hard for you to do that. Group therapy can help you better explain and understand your feelings and struggles as you listen to how others talk about their experiences.
Group therapy gives you a platform to talk about yourself without needing to filter or adjust your message for your audience. Once trust has been established, you should feel free to talk however you want.
The accountability in group therapy is very different from individual therapy. Peer-to-peer accountability is just as, if not more effective than one-on-one accountability. When you’re aware that others want to see you succeed, it’s easier to stay focused on your goals.
5. Decrease Cost
Group therapy is less expensive than individual therapy. Even though most insurance companies will help people get the treatment they need, the additional monthly cost might be too much for some people.
Being able to receive care in a cost-effective way is a big deal for a lot of people. Group counseling options can be one-third to half the cost of individual counseling.
Group therapy sessions encourage you to share with others how you’re feeling. You don’t need to share anything you’re uncomfortable with, but there’s a high level of confidentiality and trust most groups aim to develop.
7. Teach Psychoeducation
Psychoeducation is a major component of group therapy. It’s essentially when the counselor teaches the client and their support group everything they’ll need to know about their issues and their treatment.
During sessions, the counselor will help guide the group through learning about a given topic. For example, if you’re meeting with a skills-focused group you’ll learn about coping mechanisms and techniques.
Psychoeducation should be an aspect of any form of therapy, but group therapy particularly gives clients a wider perspective of psychology and how it works.
How Inner Balance Does Group Counseling
Inner Balance offers two counseling groups that meet once a week. Each group is focused on different kinds of therapy. One is a skills group, and the other is a processing group.
Skills Group Counseling
Group counseling for skills is focused on teaching positive coping mechanisms and techniques to help members work through whatever situation they’re experiencing.
When the group meets, they:
Learn new skills and exercises
Practice them together
Talk about how they’ve used new skills throughout the week
This group is focused on practical skills and is a good addition to individual therapy or if you want to learn new skills.
Processing Group Counseling
Processing group counseling is more intensive and long-term than the skills group. It offers similar practices to traditional psychotherapy
Here, you and the other members will talk about troubling emotions and experiences. The rest of the group is involved in the feedback process through encouragement and offering perspectives.