What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a form of counseling in which a small number of people come together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another, usually around a specific topic. This therapy has been widely used and has been a standard and effective treatment option for over 50 years. In group, not only do people receive tremendous understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspectives, ideas, and viewpoints on those issues. Group therapy, like individual therapy, is a powerful vehicle for growth and change, and is intended to help people who would like to gain support, increase self-awareness, and learn new ways to cope with personal or interpersonal challenges.
Is Group Therapy as good as individual therapy?
Individual and group therapy have different benefits and help people in different ways. Research studies have shown that group participants are equally if not more satisfied than people who participate in individual therapy. While neither form is inherently better than the other, there are some struggles that are better suited for group interaction, such as developing communication skills, getting interpersonal feedback, obtaining social support, and understanding relationship patterns.
Will I be forced to speak in group therapy?
Participants are often encouraged by one another to share their observations, internal reactions and experiences of the group, but in a way that feels comfortable and supportive. Guidelines for the group are discussed at the beginning, and are mutually designed for your benefit and feeling of safety. Difficult topics can be discussed in groups; if a group member does not feel comfortable talking, they simply share this preference with the group and ask that the group trust them to speak when they are ready. And, in listening to the insights and experiences of others, a group allows an individual to observe and reflect, which are powerful learning tools in and of themselves.
Will I be forced to share my deepest darkest secrets in group?
No one in group is forced to disclose anything that they are not comfortable with, and in fact some thoughts, feelings, or emotions are so personal that keeping them to oneself may be more beneficial than disclosing them to a group. Group members learn to identify their personal boundaries and respectfully communicate those boundaries to one another. They disclose personal information over time and in a way that feels comfortable.
Will your groups look like stereotypical groups I see in movies and on TV?
No. Although there are plenty of stereotypes of a group member throwing something or getting angry and storming out of a room, this type of behavior rarely happens. Group members are encouraged ahead of time to put their feelings into words instead of actions, so that they can help others to understand what they are going through, and to help themselves learn effective ways of managing difficult or intense emotion. A strong group is a supportive, responsive entity like none other!