What is Group Therapy and how it is helpful?

Doctor counseling people at group therapyd

Depending on the nature of your problem, group therapy can be helpful for addressing your concerns.

group therapy
Group Therapy Session

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that usually involves one or more therapists working with many people at the same time. It can be a group involving three or more members.

This type of therapy is widely used at many locations including private therapeutic practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, and community health centers.

It can be integrated into a treatment plan of an individual along with medications and personalized individual therapy.

How it works?

It works in multiple ways. To keep it simple for your understanding, we are going to discuss the “the 11 primary factors.” from a book “The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy” by Irvin D. Yalom in which he had outlined the key therapeutic principles that are involved in the group therapy process:

  1. It Instills hope: The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
  2. Universality: By being part of a group of people who have the same experiences helps people to see that what they are facing is universal and that they are not alone.
  3. By Imparting information: Group members can help each other by sharing useful information.
  4. Altruism: Group members can share their strengths and help others in the group, which can help in boosting self-esteem and confidence.
  5. The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. Within the group, each member can explore how his/her childhood experiences contributed to personality and behaviors. Through this, the participants learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in real life.
  6. Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
  7. Imitative behavior: Individuals can model the behavior of other members of the group or observe and try to imitate the behavior of the therapist.
  8. Interpersonal learning: By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and the therapist, It helps the members of the group to gain a greater understanding of themselves.
  9. Group cohesiveness: It helps the members to gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  10. Catharsis/Ventilation: Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt, or stress.
  11. Understanding Existential factors: It helps the members to realize that they are responsible for their own lives, actions, and choices.

Who is Group Therapy For?

Group therapy is helpful for people to work toward and meet many types of goals depending on the nature of their needs. Sometimes, a therapist might suggest group therapy along with other forms of treatment.

Therapy groups can be helpful for people whose mental health makes it difficult to get through daily life. It is beneficial for many conditions such as:

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What to Expect in Group Therapy?

Group therapy sessions vary in nature, but the basic format remains the same which is meeting of a small group of people on a regular basis to discuss their feelings and problems and provide mutual support to each other.

These sessions are guided by a professional therapist who is specially trained in group therapy. During the session, the therapist acts as moderator and may suggest a “theme” or topic for the group’s discussion. Sometimes, the therapist will allow the group members to pick the topic for the session.

As part of the session, members try to change their old patterns of behaving in favor of newer and more productive ways. It involves a great deal of healthy interaction and discussion among the members of the group.

The members might also undertake specific activities, such as addressing certain problems, fears, and anxieties. The sessions usually last for an hour or two. They are conducted once a week.

Doctor counseling people at group therapy flat vector illustration. Men and women in psychologist session talking about problems. Medical support and addiction and psychotherapy concept

Benefits of Group Therapy

  • It provides a support system and a safe environment to share your feelings.
  • Groups provide a sounding board. 
  • It helps you to propel forward.
  • Group therapy promotes social skills. 
  • Usually, group therapy sessions cost less than individual counseling. 
  • Groups teach you about yourself. 
  • It helps your therapist to provide valuable feedback to each client.

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Dr. Ankit Gaur

Dr. Ankit Gaur is a Counsellor and Family Therapist. He is an experienced healthcare professional holding two post-graduate degrees (MSc in Counselling and Family Therapy, and PharmD}. His area of specialization lies in the field of counselling and family therapy covering all types of patients from different age groups such as pediatric, geriatric, adolescents, adults, and marital couples.

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