Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. This type of therapy is widely available at a variety of locations, including private therapeutic practices, hospitals, mental health clinics and community centers. Group therapy is a form of therapy, which posits that people benefit from shared experiences. Usually, it’s focused on a particular issue, like obsessive-compulsive disorder or anger management. While a therapist usually manages the group, contributions from other members are considered valuable since all in the group share similar issues.
Basic forms of Group Therapy:
Engaging patients in a form of focused activity or work is the oldest form of therapy group and has played an important role in helping to rehabilitate patients from the earliest days of the asylum up to the present. Groups using cooking, exercise, craft or art work can help to develop social skills and address hidden anxieties and also foster a sense of communality.
Although activity groups require a high level of leader activity and have specific therapeutic aims, the opposite is true of support groups. They provide a psychosocial network and offer opportunities for problem-sharing, usually for patients with chronic mental and physical illness for whom a more exploratory dynamic form of therapy would not be indicated.
Problem-solving and psycho educational groups
The ranges of groups that fall under this heading are similar to support groups, in that they provide opportunities for interpersonal learning and ego support. Unlike support groups, they tend to be made up of individuals with similar problems working towards clearly defined aims.
The aim of psychodynamic group therapy, in all its different forms, is lasting personality change brought about through non-directive free association.
Benefits of group therapy:
- Validation: A major benefit of group therapy is validation. By being in a group with a number of people struggling with the same problem, you can see that you are not alone in your struggles. In addition, you may learn that some people in the group are having a hard time coping with the same difficulties, such as relationship problems, substance use, sleep difficulties, or impulsive behaviors.
- The instillation of hope: The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
- Learning from Others: Another benefit of group therapy is being able to learn from the experiences of others. You can hear about what coping strategies other people found to be effective and what coping strategies were not effective. You may also learn new ways of addressing a problem in your relationships or at work. By being in a group, you can be exposed to other perspectives on your problems that you may have never considered.
- Altruism: Group members are able to share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
- Social Support: group therapy provides an excellent way of receiving social support from others. It has been determined over and over again that finding support from others can be a major factor in helping people overcome the negative effects of a traumatic event and PTSD. A group setting can provide you with the opportunity to develop supportive, trusting, and healthy relationships with other people.
- The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. Within the group, each member can explore how childhood experiences contributed to personality and behaviors. They can also learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in their real life.
- Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
- Group cohesiveness: Because the group is united in a common goal, members gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
- Catharsis: Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt or stress.
- Existential factors: While working within a group offers support and guidance, group therapy helps member realize that they are responsible for their own lives, action and choices.