What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a beneficial type of psychotherapy that allows individuals to grow and recover together.

Understanding Group Therapy

Group therapy is one of many types of psychotherapy. Here, individuals can come together to discuss and work through problems together, all under the supervision of a professional therapist. Group therapy allows individuals to interact and learn together while also benefiting from a therapist’s professional guidance.1
Group Therapy

How Is Group Therapy Different from Support Groups and Self-Help Groups?

While both support groups and self-help groups can be beneficial, they aren’t types of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is unique because it’s led by a professional and licensed therapist, while support groups and self-help groups aren’t.

However, it’s important to note that certain forms of support groups and self-help groups may be considered group therapy. This depends on whether a therapist is present, and how the group is conducted.

What Happens During Group Therapy?

During group therapy, individuals from similar backgrounds and situations will come together to discuss their problems and successes. This is beneficial as it includes people from all phases of the recovery process, which allows for a shared system of instilling hope in one another. In group therapy, individuals can help each other by sharing information. This can also help them better themselves in return.

It’s also important to note that group therapy is still a type of psychotherapy with the same rules as other sessions. This means that what happens in group therapy stays in group therapy. Here, individuals can openly share about themselves and their struggles with no worries about judgment or consequences. This helps to focus on growth and overcoming problems.

What Group Therapy Proposes

Like any other form of psychotherapy, group therapy is defined by certain ideas and methods. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is defined by its focus on creating a better understanding of how thoughts affect behaviors.

Values of Group Therapy

Some of the ideas, techniques, and focal points of group therapy may include:

  • Persistence of hope
  • Being one
  • Imparting information
  • Altruism
  • Corrective behavioral commentary
  • Remaining social while healing
  • Imitation
  • Interpersonal learning
  • Catharsis
  • Existential factors

What Group Therapy Can Help With

Group therapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatment methods to provide a multifaceted approach to recovery. While many people consider therapy as a treatment for mental health disorders, it can also help with conditions such as chronic pain.2

Some of the things that group therapy can be beneficial for include:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder
  • Anger management
  • Chronic pain

Types and Models of Group Therapy

There are several types and methods of group therapy. Each of these addresses a different need and provides unique benefits. Some focus on raising awareness about certain aspects of mental health and even certain skills. Others resemble other psychotherapies, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, but in a group setting. Lastly, others are focused on building healthy support systems.3

The types and models of group therapy may include:

  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Skills development groups
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy groups
  • Support groups
  • Interpersonal process groups

Benefits of Group Therapy

For many, therapy alone can be beneficial. Often, therapy isn’t only used for recovery but to create a better sense of awareness and mindfulness. Group therapy can offer these benefits and more because of the group environment.

Some of the benefits of group therapy may include:

  • Improvement in self-awareness, self-responsibility, and instilling a motivation to change
  • Ability to practice and learn new positive skills and behaviors
  • Feedback from peers
  • The ability to build confidence and self-esteem
  • Chance to build interpersonal relationships with like-minded peers
  • Improves honest communication skills, both external and interpersonal
  • Ensures that isolation and withdrawal don’t happen
  • The ability to discuss personal issues directly allows these issues to come to the surface easier
  • Solving personal issues is achieved more easily under the guidance of a therapist and other members

The exact benefits of group therapy differ based on the individual. It also depends on the time and effort placed into sessions, as it’s a collaborative process.

Things to Consider Before Starting Group Therapy

Just like with any form of psychotherapy, it may be beneficial to learn more about group therapy before your first session. This can help you to better prepare and understand what to expect.

You Need to Be Willing to Share

Like any therapy session, you will get the most out of a session if you are open and honest. However, it is also important to understand your own boundaries and go at your own pace.

You May Need to Try a Few Groups

Because group therapy is a collaborative process, a lot of the success depends on the overall chemistry of the group. As a result, if you don’t initially feel like your group is the right fit for you, you may find it best to switch to a group better designed to offer the benefits and techniques that you seek.

Remember, because there are so many different types and methods of group therapy, not all group therapy sessions are created equal.

It’s Not Meant for Crisis

Group therapy is a beneficial part of recovery because it creates a shared learning environment. Here, individuals can come together and work through their problems by sharing healthy coping techniques and stories. However, group therapy cannot help in the middle of a crisis. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, it’s vital to reach out to the appropriate sources for immediate help. Once recovery has begun, group therapy can then be implemented as a type of treatment method.

Get Started with Group Therapy at Essence Healthcare

Group therapy can be a beneficial treatment method for many types of mental health disorders and other conditions. At Essence Healthcare, you can experience a variety of group therapy sessions led by a professional and licensed therapist. Essence provides a compassionate staff prepared to help you, no matter where you are in your mental healthcare journey.4
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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.