The Benefits of Group Therapy

March 3, 2020 by Lauren Francis

Humans are social creatures and some very important aspects of the human experience are the relationships that we develop. Think about the different groups in your life of which you are a part. Do you have a circle of friends who provide support and enjoyment? Do you have a group of coworkers with whom you have developed relationships and appreciate spending time with? Have you ever been part of an athletic or educational team? What about a social media group based on your interests?

Maybe you have made long-lasting connections and bonds with people that you met during your time in a group or maybe you felt a sense of community and belonging after getting to know your fellow group members. We are all aware that entering a group of individuals we don’t know can be intimidating at first, but in considering these examples, I think we can safely say that there are some major benefits as well.

Now, imagine combining the positive aspects of being part of a group with the impact of a genuine therapeutic experience. Group therapy typically consists of three or more individuals being led by one to two clinicians. Many groups are designed to target a specific concern, while others may focus on a particular modality of treatment to target several different concerns. Groups can be an excellent supplement to individual therapy, as they provide several benefits that individual therapy does not offer.

  • Group therapy creates a support network of individuals experiencing similar concerns. It is always validating to know that you are not alone in your struggles. Attending a group that is focused on a specific concern of yours can allow you to feel a sense of support and to show you what different stages of recovery look like.
  • Group therapy allows you to not only receive but also to give support. Have you ever heard the saying “the best way to learn is to teach”? Group therapy provides the opportunity to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective in order to give others who have similar struggles feedback, which in turn can be helpful in re-framing your own thoughts and emotions about a situation.
  • Group therapy helps in the development of social and communication skills. Group therapy provides a safe space for you to express your thoughts and opinions about a variety of topics. This can provide a good way to practice navigating differences in opinion with others in the group setting.
  • Group therapy aids in improving self-awareness. Hearing others talk about situations and concerns that are relevant to you can encourage reflection about the ways in which you handle similar situations and promote growth when relevant.
  • Group therapy can provide you with several perspectives. There is not any one right answer for everyone when it comes to mental health. Being part of a group gives you access to the ideas of several people who have been in your shoes. Maybe someone has an idea for targeting an unhelpful thought or behavior that you have never thought of. It can be helpful to hear a lot of different thoughts on one situation in order to avoid getting stuck in the same pattern of thinking repeatedly.

Whether you are a seasoned group attendee, or you have never attended a group before, joining a new therapeutic group always offers fresh opportunities and experiences. Give it a shot – you never know what you might learn about yourself and those around you!

Lauren Francis, MA is the therapeutic office assistant at Chrysalis Center. Lauren assists in administrative duties, facilitates groups, and ensures authorizations for IOP are in place with insurance companies. Chrysalis Center offers multiple outpatient groups. To learn more about our groups, or to sign up, contact our office at (910) 790-9500 to find out which group may be the perfect fit for you!

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