Group Therapy for Mental Health
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Group Therapy for Mental Health
Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy involving one or more therapists working with several people at once. This therapy type is widely available at many locations, including mental health clinics, private therapeutic practices, hospitals, and community centers.
Although group therapy can be used alone, it is more commonly integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that also provides individual therapy.
Group Therapy Sessions: What to Expect
A typical group therapy session will consist of two or more therapists and five to 15 people. Usually, these groups meet for an hour or two, two to three times a week. Many groups are targeted around a specific problem, such as mental health issues and conditions.
More generally, groups will focus on improving social skills while helping participants with their mental health concerns.
Types of Group Therapy
Group therapy can be categorized into different types depending on the mental health condition it’s intended for and the clinical modality employed during group. The most common types of group therapy include:
- Cognitive behavioral groups
- Interpersonal groups
- Psychoeducational groups
- Skills development groups
- Support groups
In some cases, groups may be as small as three or four but can get up to eight to 15 people too. Group therapy meetings may be open or closed, and new participants are welcome to join open groups anytime. While only a core group of members are invited to participate in closed sessions.
What Conditions Can Group Therapy Help With?
Group therapy is used to treat various mental health conditions, including:
- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- eating disorders
- generalized anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- complex post-traumatic stress disorder
- substance use disorders
Group Therapy Techniques and Activities
Most group meetings happen in open room settings with chairs in a circle so that it’s possible to see all group members at once. A session may involve people introducing themselves and sharing why they came to the meeting. Group members can also share their past experiences and progress since the prior meeting.
Depending on the overall goals of the group and the therapist’s treatment style, groups may participate in open dialog where anyone can speak, or they might practice specific skills with other group members.
Common group therapy activities include:
- icebreakers to help members to get to know each other
- gratitude activities, such as mapping out what members are grateful for in their life
- sharing activities, where members ask each other open-ended questions
- goal visualization activities, which help to set goals and make a plan to achieve them
Benefits of Group Therapy
There are so many benefits to mental health group therapy, including:
Support and Encouragement
Group therapy provides support and encouragement to those who need it most. Anyone participating in a group can see that others may share in their struggles, which can help them feel like they’re not alone. This setting permits people to practice behaviors and actions within the group’s security.
Group members can also serve as peer role models for other group members. By witnessing others’ success, others may draw the conclusion that they are capable of recovery too. As individuals progress, they can take turns serving as role models and support figures for others. This can help foster feelings of connectedness and accomplishment.
Improved Social Skills
Working within a group setting, the therapist can see first-hand how a client responds to other people and how they tend to behave in social situations. This information can then be used to inform their private therapy sessions and provide valuable feedback.
In most cases, group therapy is very affordable. Instead of focusing on one client at a time, the therapist can interact with multiple clients, which greatly reduces the cost of treatment.
Group Therapy Effectiveness
It has been found that group therapy is effective for mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. In a randomized clinical trial, 496 adults with BPD participated in combined individual and group schema therapy. This combination was significantly more effective than treatment without these therapy options.
Is Group Therapy Right for You?
If you’re considering group therapy, there are some things to consider, including:
- You will need to be willing to share personal information.
- You may need to try a few groups before finding the right one.
- It’s not meant to help with acute symptoms or a crisis.
Joining a Group
Are you or someone you love in a place where you could benefit from group therapy? You can join a group by contacting your primary care physician for a recommendation. Be sure to consider your preferences, including if you’re comfortable in an open group setting or prefer a closed group. You can also contact your health insurance to see if they will cover the cost of group therapy.
Before joining a group, it’s also important to ask yourself if that alone will be enough to help support you where you’re at. Still need help deciding if a group is right for you? Contact the team at Truhealing. Our helpline is open 24/7 to assist you. Call (833) 641-0572.
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American Psychological Association (AMA) – Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy
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