One of the hardest parts about dealing with a mental health condition is the isolation, loneliness, and lack of connection one struggles with. It's the exact opposite of what's required when going through a difficult time.
This is where group therapy comes in.
What is group therapy? Simply put, it’s a form of psychotherapy involving one or more therapists working with a group of individuals struggling with similar issues. While it can provide the often-needed support to the clients, on the flip side, it might seem intimidating and scary to open up to strangers. What’s important is for the individual to join the right kind of group at the right time to be able to realize the many benefits of group therapy.
Types of Group Therapy
A person can join different types of group therapy depending on their preference and mental health condition. This is one of the reasons why group therapy can be so effective. Let’s explore the four main types of group therapy:
Psychoeducational Group Therapy
As the name suggests, psychoeducational groups are aimed at providing knowledge to clients about their condition and help them cope with it. These groups work well for conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and phobias.
Support Group Therapy
Support group therapy has unconditional acceptance and encouragement as its goal. People in this type of group share their stories and challenges while seeking support from other members. Alcoholics Anonymous is an example of a support group.
Process Group Therapy
Process groups, while led by a licensed therapist, are more unstructured in nature. Unlike psychoeducational groups, they don’t focus on a single topic.
The focus is on the interpersonal processes. People encourage each other to develop self-awareness and foster deep connections.
Skills Development Group Therapy
Skills development groups are highly effective in cultivating and honing specific, constructive skills. Members can practice these skills with each other in the group setting and later implement in their real life. An example of a skills group is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group.
Benefits of Group Therapy
Group therapy isn’t as popular as individual psychotherapy and thus its many benefits aren’t widely known. However, people who do go through group therapy come out with fresh perspectives, better strategies to cope with their condition, and even new friendships.
Here are some ways in which group therapy can prove to be highly beneficial:
Reduces the feelings of loneliness and isolation
Struggling with a mental health issue is an incredibly difficult experience. What makes it worse is the feelings of isolation that accompany it. Group therapy helps one realize that they are not alone and there are many others who can truly empathize with them.
Offers support and encouragement
Since the people in the group understand what it’s like to deal with a mental health condition, they are highly supportive and encouraging towards others. Every small victory is cheered and every setback is met with support.
Opens you to new perspectives
Hearing others talk about their situations, challenges, and how they cope with it can provide a unique perspective on the problems one is facing.
It allows you to be open-minded and think differently.
Gives you a safe space
Group therapy lets everyone freely talk about their problems and deepest emotions without any fear of judgment. Every voice is heard and respected.
Just as in individual therapy, groups remain confidential so that each member can be their authentic self.
Instill hope and optimism
In the throes of a mental health struggle, the light at the end of the tunnel is barely visible. Hearing stories of others who have overcome similar challenges can make that light seem a bit brighter, reigniting hope and optimism in recovery.
Teaches you adaptive strategies
A trained therapist is often there to guide the group therapy session and teach adaptive strategies to cope with issues one is facing. Learning also comes through other people who share what helps them overcome certain challenges.
Group therapy comes with a myriad of advantages. It can seem a little daunting at first, which is natural for everyone in the beginning, but as you meet others, that feeling of awkwardness fades away and a sense of belonging sets in. We at PSYCHē provide virtual group therapy covering various skills. Every group is led by a handpicked licensed clinician who is an expert in their field.