Many people experience mental health difficulties, but few speak openly about them, especially to people they don't know well. So imagine joining a group of strangers on a wellness journey and group therapy session. While joining a group of strangers may sound scary at first, group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Psychologists say, in fact, that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which you and other people meet with a counselor at the same time to discuss shared issues and coping strategies helpful. There are different groups for different needs: family therapy, anger management groups, weight loss groups, groups for victims of domestic violence, support groups for grief, substance use disorder groups, etc. Groups can be as small as just five or six people or may be larger depending on the type of therapy the group is intended for.
Benefits of Group Therapy?
It provides perspective: Oftentimes, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you're not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they're going through, and realize you're not alone. In group therapy settings, group members report that going through the process of healing with others can help make them reflect on their trauma from a new perspective. Regularly talking and listening to others also helps you put your own problems in perspective. When you see others open up about the symptoms they’re experiencing, you can see that your condition is normal and other people go through what you go through every day.
It provides space for Shared Healing: Group therapy environments are a safe space for people to learn, share, and grow. During sessions, people in the group can lift each other up and help one another make progress. Beyond getting support and help for yourself, you also have others there to hold you accountable and remind you of your goals. You can gain a community that reminds you that you are not alone physically, or mentally.
It provides a support system: Some people lack a natural support group in their life. A strong support system can improve your mental health- a positive support system can uplift you whereas a negative support system can lead to or exacerbate poor mental health. Group therapy can provide a new support system that brings a level of accountability into the lives of group members, but can also aid in the development of feelings of hopefulness. It’s a lot easier for someone coming from an objective place to see the truth for someone else. This insight that another group member may give you could be life-changing.
It improves social skills: Not only does it help you learn about yourself, but group therapy can help with social skills. Active listening and mindfulness during group meetings can encourage you to become a more compassionate, empathetic individual as it allows you to listen to others’ stories. If you are anxious, engaging with a group of people who know exactly how you feel might make it easier to interact without panic.
At RAI Counseling, our group of culturally sensitive counselors are available to connect. We offer family therapy sessions, individual therapy and trauma treatment. We have also created a calm and comfortable space where you can talk about the struggles you face openly with others who share the same difficulties. Join 'Bravely Resourced', our 6-week Virtual Trauma-Informed group session for adults 18-25, where you will feel heard and supported by others with similar needs, learn and practice coping strategies you can add to your self-care toolbox to be more grounded or neutral in your response to stressors. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.