3 Reasons You May Want Group Therapy
In my time as a Psychologist I have really come to realize the benefits of group therapy. What is group therapy? Group therapy is exactly what it sounds like, a group of people coming together for the benefit of some therapy. There are groups that are more general ongoing groups and focused on people learning to express themselves and dealing with whatever issues arise. There are also time-limited groups that are designed to work with specific issues such as groups for anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, etc... Here are some benefits of group therapy:
- You're not alone: The number one healing factor of these groups is that people understand on a deep level that they are truly not alone - there are others who struggle with similar issues. This sense of connection that occurs breaks the isolation the person feels and cultivates a sense of resilience in the face of adversity.
- Getting ideas: Sometimes it is easier to hear suggestions and ideas from others who are struggling with the same issue. Hearing another's story and what has worked for them or not worked for them can lead to a sense of hope. If it is a skills group, you will develop these through psychoeducation and practice.
- Working with fear: Going into a group helps us work with fear. It's natural to feel a sense of discomfort in sharing issues and emotions with total strangers. Allowing yourself to gently share these feelings gives you the understanding that it is possible to talk about feelings and allows for the development of communication skills.
If individual therapy is too expensive, group therapy can be a less expensive alternative and for some, provide even more dynamic support. There are therapists who ask their clients to be in individual therapy at the same time as group therapy as an effective combination of treatment.
If you have never looked into group therapy before and you are struggling at the moment, it might be a good idea to Google group therapy in your area. You may also want to try an online group as those are popping up more and more. The only caveat there is that there is still room to hide behind the computer and it won't have the same interpersonal effect as an in-person group which can be powerful. However, it could be a good stepping stone.
If you have had experiences with groups before or have any questions about it, please share your thoughts below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.