Advantages of Group Therapy

Group Therapy, a type of psychotherapy, attempts to help solve emotional or psychological problems using a group of people facing similar issues. In this way, the psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor conducting the session, enables his clients to benefit from the experiences and views of the participants. This can lead to helpful new perspectives on the issues discussed.

Group therapy sessions usually have six to twelve participants. The sessions can extend over 10-15 days, months and even years, depending on the severity of the problems involved. Some of the issues covered are bipolar disorders, divorce, alcoholism, depression and social maladjustment.

Group Types

There is the typical psychotherapy type of group and the psychoeducational type which is based on the class format. In psychoeducational groups, the emphasis is usually on areas such as anger and stress management, relationships, managing life after divorce, parenting issues, etc. These are usually limited to 10 to 15 sessions.

Healing Challenges

This therapeutic technique of group therapy can make a big difference because in a typical one-to-one counseling session, the counselor does not challenge his client’s views. He only examines them.

However, in a group therapy session, participants are encouraged to challenge and comment on each other’s views (within set limits). This adds clarity to the therapeutic process. For instance, a client suffering from suicidal tendencies may not admit to them unless challenged by another who recognizes his own tendency to suicide.

Emotional Healing

In a Group Therapy session, participants communicate with people of different sexes, ages and cultures. This gives them a sense of belonging. They feel that they are not alone in their pain. They can also support each other during difficult times.

A Cathartic Experience

Participants in a group therapy session are encouraged to open up and share their experiences with each other. This is can be cathartic for them. As they share their secrets, they may feel a burden has been lifted from their shoulders.

An Opportunity to Help Others

Group Therapy provides a platform for people with altruistic tendencies who have battled with problems and won. For instance, a recovered alcoholic may participate in an Alcoholics Anonymous session to help those who are still in the recovery process.

Ideal for Those with Relationship Problems

Since group therapy is based on interactions with others, it especially helps participants who have relationship problems. They learn how to harmonize with other people; how to listen to them and how to communicate effectively.

A Transforming Experience

Discussing a personal issue with others facing similar problems helps participants to identify the behavior that is causing the problem. Once this is done, changing the behavior pattern becomes possible.

Musts for Group Therapy Participants

Participants in group therapy are expected to commit a certain amount of time to the process – usually between 3 to 6 months. They must attend every week, be punctual and very important – maintain the confidentiality of the information shared during the sessions. Even the names of participants are to be kept confidential. During sessions, participants are not forced to share their experiences, but are encouraged to do so as this is crucial to the success of the therapy.

Group therapy is a tried and tested method of psychotherapy. In comparison with one-on- one therapy, group therapy helps participants gain a wider perspective on their problems. It helps them feel less isolated and provides a cathartic release.


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