What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapies were initially developed to help patients who suffered from tuberculosis (TB). However, they’ve since been expanded to treat various mental health issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders as our personal lives and everyday life have become too hectic in today’s world. Group therapy programs help people who have mental illness learn new effective methods for dealing with stress, depression, substance abuse, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and feelings of anxiety! Originally this form of psychotherapy was called “psychodramas.” During the recovery process, people acted out their conflicts by playing roles and improvising scenes together. After World War II, these treatment methods, such as group therapy, became increasingly common for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Often we think about therapy; we think of individual therapy sessions. This is where the mental health professional offers one-on-one attention to their client. However, some clients may get several sessions from various therapists throughout their therapy program. A group therapy session usually includes diverse people with different therapy experiences, varying in their mental health condition, and people who have worked with varying therapy techniques. Therapy sessions may involve anywhere from two to twelve people per session. Researchers who study psychological therapies tend to agree that the ideal choice for the number of participants in a therapy session is between 6 and 12 persons. In addition to research suggesting that having multiple classes of people working simultaneously could improve performance, some experts believe that having two separate teams might help each team focus better on its task.
There are several benefits of Group therapy over individual therapy, including fewer sessions, greater anonymity, increased social interactions, sharing multiple personal experiences, interpersonal learning, and reduced stigma associated with seeking help from others.
List of Benefits of Group Therapy
Some of the benefits of group therapy include:
- In group therapy, people feel less sense of isolation because others understand their feelings and experiences better than they would if they were talking to just one person. This leads to a greater sense of relief and hope in the individual.
- People get help by receiving support from their peers; they offer support to each other. This built a greater sense of community. Giving support to others helps them grow by allowing them to learn new things. Receiving support from others is essential because it creates an atmosphere where people feel safe to open up and share their feelings. This is vital in the treatment process.
- Therapeutic alliances occur across different types of therapies. Groups provide an environment for people who share similar experiences to form stronger bonds. It lets us incorporate multiple perspectives into our writing.
- People learn to recognize their feelings through observing another person’s difficult experience.
- Sharing one’s experiences with others with similar problems is often therapeutic and leads to more emotional growth.
- People tend to help people feel safer discussing personal issues, it could effectively address any concerns you might have regarding your mental health condition.
- People share their personal stories, members may learn from one another by modeling each others’ successes and failures. Learning through modeling involves observing the behavior of someone else and then trying out similar behaviors yourself.
- Major benefits of Group therapy is that it is usually cheaper than individual therapy.
Negative effects of Group Therapy
Several disadvantages to group therapy are:
- Your job is not to be focused on the client but instead on yourself. In addition, because group interventions tend to be less intensive than individual therapies, they’re often used when there aren’t enough resources available to provide individual treatment.
- In group settings, there’s usually not enough time for each person to talk freely without worrying about eavesdroppers. Group members are typically told not to share any information outside of the group without permission from their therapist. However, there’s always a chance that someone could leak information out of the group if another member feels threatened.
- Social loafing refers to the phenomenon where people who participate in groups tend to underperform compared to when they would be working. While some people in groups may change their behavior without changing themselves, most people need to take personal responsibility for making positive behavioral changes before they see results. A group allows people who don’t care enough to show up for meetings to get away without feeling like they’re missing out.
- In group therapy, there may be less focus on the therapeutic alliance than in individual therapy because people tend to bond better when they’re in groups rather than one at a time.
- Typically support meetings meet at certain times. Therapy sessions tend to be shorter than individual counseling sessions because they’re usually scheduled at set times rather than by appointment.
- Group therapy may be inappropriate for specific individuals, such as individuals who suffer from social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, extremely shy, impulsive, passive-aggressive, or psychotic.
When an alliance forms within a larger group, there may be times when one member targets another for reasons related to their plan. An influential therapy group needs to avoid having too strong an alliance between any two people. However, there may be instances where two particular people in the group form stronger bonds than others.
There are many benefits of group therapy. Call our intake specialist to see if group therapy is the right choice for you!