The benefits of group therapy are many. However, what is group therapy? Let’s find out.
Group therapy delivers a form of therapy to multiple people at one time. Group sizes vary, but typically remain at ten or less. Support groups may be the sole element of a treatment plan or they may be integrated with other methods depending on the addiction or mental health disorder in question.
The focus within group therapy can also differ. Some common types include cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, skills development, and psychoeducational. Lastly, group therapy may also be categorized as open or closed. Open means new participants can join over time, with participants shifting from session to session. Closed means the same group of participants will be at session until the therapy reaches its natural conclusion.
Benefits of Group Therapy
The benefits of group therapy largely coincide with those of individual therapy. In addition, its multi-person structure exposes people to benefits specific to group therapy. Here are five of the biggest benefits of group therapy:
Addiction and mental health issues can be isolating. Many people feel as if they are alone with the struggle and that nobody else understands what they are going through. If nobody close to them has had a similar problem, they are in some sense correct. That’s why group therapy can be a special healing setting. It offers a chance to hear about how other people navigate the same challenges. Moreover, there’s less isolation because people interact with others in similar circumstances.
Another benefit of group therapy is its provision of multiple perspectives. Hearing how others have dealt with a challenge can broaden a person’s view of the situation. Also, people in group settings may be at different stages of healing or recovery. In that case, participants can hear how others use coping strategies or have navigated hiccups in their journey.
Group therapy is a great source of accountability. Everyone in the group is pulling toward a similar goal even if each individual’s path is unique. Not being alone in seeking sobriety can be a great motivator.
Social Skills Development
Addiction and mental health disorders generally damage key relationships. They also disrupt communication and interpersonal skills. Support groups provide safe spaces to relearn many of the life skills that addiction interrupted.
Health and positive outcomes should matter more than cost considerations whenever possible. Yet it is notable that group therapy is typically a cheaper option than individual therapy. This cost savings in no way means patients receive lesser service. In fact, the benefits of group therapy outlined above show just how powerful group therapy can be as a healing tool. When budgets are strained, group therapy may be the perfect treatment option that won’t cause financial stress but will still result in progress.
Maximizing the Benefits of Group Therapy
The benefits of group therapy are clear. But that doesn’t mean it is a silver bullet nor some magic cure. Group therapy requires work and effort to maximize its benefits. Like many other types of therapy, people who enter with the right mindset and who put the most into the process will experience the greatest outcomes.
Many times, group therapy requires each member to sign a pledge at the outset. These often make expectations clear and note the ground rules for participation and conduct. While it may seem trite, taking this pledge seriously is an important first step. Group settings work best when every participant is fully committed.
Two other ways to capitalize on the benefits of group therapy are to participate and share. There may be days where sharing is difficult but those are often the days where healing leaps occur through vulnerability and bravery. In addition, sharing an experience could resonate with another participant and catalyze something in their journey. Group therapy is meant to be a mutually-beneficial experience for all involved. That means enabling each person’s healing and supporting each other person in the room.
Is group therapy the right treatment method for you? Contact us at 833.641.0661 to find out.