When you’re dealing with a mental health challenge, therapy can help restore peace to your life. Although you might assume all sessions involve a therapist and one individual, many people benefit from group therapy instead. If you’re currently looking for therapy options, here’s what you should know about this unique outlet.
What Is Group Therapy?
In group therapy, one or more psychologists help a group of people navigate through life issues. Most groups focus on one specific challenge, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, grief, chronic pain, trauma, or substance abuse. Since the group members are all experiencing similar challenges, they’re able to share their experiences and feelings while getting feedback and support from people who relate.
Along with talk therapy, group therapy can include educational workshops, group outings and activities, yoga and meditation, and expressive therapies, including art, poetry, and drama. Although you can use group therapy in place of individual therapy, many people find that combining the two forms works best. There are also forms of intensive group therapy called Intensive Outpatient Programs that can help with more life interfering or debilitating symptoms.
What Are the Benefits?
It’s easy to feel alone during a difficult time, especially if you’re experiencing a stigmatized mental health problem that few people discuss. In group therapy, you can connect with people who have similar experiences, helping you feel less isolated.
While discussing your challenges with family and friends is often vital to recovery, you may not feel entirely safe or supported when talking to people who can’t relate to your experiences. In group therapy, you’ll be surrounded by people who’ve faced similar challenges and guided by a psychologist who specializes in those challenges, allowing you to feel safer as you open up.
Getting feedback from people who’ve been in similar situations can enhance your self-awareness and help you develop more effective coping skills and goals. Since you’ll meet regularly, your peers can also hold you accountable as you work toward those goals.
Improved Communication Skills
As you talk about your struggles and listen to others describe theirs, you’ll likely find that your interpersonal and communication skills improve. Along with enhancing your therapy experience, this will help you more effectively manage a variety of issues throughout your life.