Different types of therapy have unique advantages and disadvantages, so learning about each one can give you a better idea of how to approach you or your loved one’s treatment. Group therapy is a common form of psychotherapy, where several clients receive help simultaneously from one or more counsellors. Generally speaking, this is a more socially orientated form of treatment, which gives it several advantages over individual therapy. It’s important to note that it might not be the best option if you or your loved one feels uncomfortable disclosing their issues to a group which includes non-professionals.
The basic idea behind group therapy is that everybody receives some individual help during each session, but the conversation will be held in front of numerous other group members. Generally, there will be between seven and twelve people in a group, and each one could attend sessions for around a year. This could change depending on the individual’s requirements, of course, so fewer or more sessions are also possible.
The groups sit in a circle, so everybody can see the therapist and the other group members. This fosters positive social communication and ensures nobody feels excluded. Sessions will generally begin with the counsellor asking the attendees how things are going since the last session, and they will share any relevant stories. Alternatively, some sessions start with each person briefly introducing who they are and the reasons they’re in treatment. The specific structure of the sessions from that point onwards is in the hands of the therapist.
Group therapy sessions are organised according to the specific problems the clients are struggling with. Ordinarily, you will attend a group which focuses on the issue you are facing, such as anxiety or depression, which means that all of the other attendees are going through the same problems. This means there is an inherent understanding between the different individuals attending, and they can learn from one another and give advice based on their own experiences. As a result, group counselling sessions generally have a positive, therapeutic atmosphere.
Each member of the group may be experiencing the same issues, but they will probably be at different stages in treatment. This is useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, those who have learnt to deal with their condition more efficiently can help the newer members through their first-hand knowledge. The newer members will also look up to the ones who’ve been in treatment for longer, and can use them as positive role models for overcoming their issues.
The main principles of group therapy all relate to the social interaction between the members and the benefits it can have. The group becomes like a family, because everybody is in need of support and has experiences which may be of value to the other members. There are cathartic benefits to sharing your stories with an accepting group, and being able to assist others going through similar problems helps to boost individuals’ self esteem.
Studies have shown that group therapy is most effective for people suffering from depression and stress disorders, but it can help people with a wide variety of issues, such as addiction, anxiety disorders and anger management. If you think that group counselling might be the right approach for yourself or your loved one, we can help to ensure you get the right treatment. We’ll explain the other types of psychotherapy to you, assess of your requirements and suggest the best options for your circumstances. You can visit us either in person at our Luton offices or get in contact with us via telephone. We’re here to help you.