What is Group Therapy?
When working in a therapy group of about 8 people, each member’s participation in the group is central to their own and other members’ treatment. The group therapist or co-therapists lead the group and help members to develop an understanding of each person’s mind and personal situation. This type of therapy is concerned with how things are here and now. However, with the guidance of the therapist the group will also look at how the past is relevant to the present.
How does Group Therapy work?
The object is not to prevent ups and downs in life but to build resilience so that you become more able to cope with the problems and frustrations of life. It can also help you realise you’re not alone in your experiences. Group therapy works partly because putting things into words, sometimes for the first time, and being understood is a relief and is itself a valuable experience. While a group may seem a bit intimidating at first, many people find that, once they’ve overcome this worry, they really benefit from sharing and meeting with other people in this managed setting.
Why Group Therapy?
Some people prefer to be part of a group and find that it suits them better than individual therapy. Conversely, many others are immediately put off by the notion of group-based treatment. Either stance does not mean that group therapy is the right approach for you. You can only enter group therapy after a detailed individual consultation, which takes place over several sessions. The individual consultations give you and your therapist a sense of how helpful talking to someone in a group setting would be.
Benefits of Group Therapy
Importantly, during a group you are exposed to different points of view and have the opportunity to learn from others and receive feedback and support. Each individual brings their history, temperament and personality with them and this contributes to any group situation. Understanding people’s differences and sometimes coping with the frustration this can cause can help someone understand both humanity’s differences and its similarities. Similarly, it can feel difficult to have to share the therapist with other group members, but this is also like problems in life. Discussions in a group must be kept private and confidential with no social or online contact between members outside the group setting. This is an essential ingredient required to protect the group as a safe place to express and discuss difficult things.
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