Group therapy

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Group therapy

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people cope with their mental health issues or negative experiences.

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which one or more mental health professionals deliver psychotherapy to multiple individuals during each session. Group therapy is a great way to reduce wait times and increase access to mental health care. Individual therapy can be combined with group therapy for some people, while others may only attend group therapy.

Group therapy
Group therapy

What can group therapy help with?

Anybody can participate in group therapy sessions. Group therapy is especially beneficial for those who have limited access to mental health care, such as those in low-income areas or rural areas that are often understaffed.

Group therapy has one goal: to bring together people with similar experiences. Group therapy focuses usually on a particular mental health issue, such as Anxiety or Depression. Other conditions that a group might focus on are:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance use disorder

Benefits of group therapy

People can also benefit from group therapy for:

  • Grief
  • Obesity
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight loss
  • Anger management
  • Domestic violence
  • Cultural trauma
  • Chronic illness
  • Hope installation
  • Universality
  • Providing information
  • Altruism
  • Corrective recapitulation for the primary family group
  • Socializing techniques
  • Imitative behavior
  • Interpersonal Learning
  • Group cohesiveness
  • Catharsis
  • Existential elements

Hope installation

Therapy can help group members feel hopeful by acknowledging the progress of former and current members. Groups are often made up of people in different stages of treatment. The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy state that watching others who are experiencing or recovering from similar problems gives group members hope for positive outcomes.


Group therapy is a way to bring people with similar experiences together. According to The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy, people can realize they are not the only ones going through similar situations. The book states that understanding their universality can help people overcome emotional and physical isolation.

Providing information

Therapy group members can support each other by sharing their knowledge and offering advice.


Group members can support, reassure and help one another improve during treatment. This helps to improve self-esteem and confidence according to The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy.

Corrective recapitulation for the primary family group

The Theory and Practice for Group Psychotherapy states therapy groups are often like family groups with one or two parent authority figures and some peers siblings. Group therapy sessions allow people to confront early childhood experiences and relationships with their “parents” and “siblings.” They can identify the negative or harmful beliefs and behaviors that have shaped their early experiences and learn from them.

Socializing techniques

The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy states that group members can provide and receive feedback to help them interact with others outside of the group.

Imitative behavior

The group members may mimic the behavior of therapists or senior members. According to The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy, this helps group members gain a greater understanding of themselves.

Interpersonal Learning

The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy states that the therapy group should reflect an individual’s social world. Group members can learn from each other and gain insight into their interpersonal behaviors by asking for feedback.

Group cohesiveness

According to The Theory and Practice Of Group Psychotherapy, members can feel connected when they are part of a group that has a common goal. According to the author, members might feel more comfortable speaking up in front of the group. The treatment may make them more open to implementing the behavioral changes that they have learned.


People can release anger and other emotions by sharing their experiences and feelings with others. The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy states that this process can result in sudden insights that change the way people see and respond to life.

Existential elements

According to The Theory & Practice of Group Psychotherapy, group therapy sessions allow people to explore difficult existential issues such as death and loss. Group members can develop a greater sense of self-reliance and independence by understanding that they ultimately control their actions, behaviors, and choices.

Types of group therapy

There are many types of group therapy. The treatment models differ from one group to the next.

  • Psychoeducation group therapy
  • Skills development groups
  • Cognitive behavioral groups
  • Support groups
  • Interpersonal process groups

Psychoeducation group therapy

Psychoeducational Group Therapy is focused on teaching members about their condition and giving them new coping strategies. These groups often focus on a particular condition such as substance abuse disorder, anxiety, or fear.

Skills development groups

Skills development groups are focused on improving and introducing the skills members need to deal with certain mental health conditions.These groups could include aspects of psychoeducational group. The overall goal is to strengthen the members’ cognitive and behavioral resources in order to make better choices and avoid dangerous situations.

Cognitive behavioral groups

Cognitive behavior group therapy seeks to change the beliefs that lead to harmful or negative behaviors. Cognitive behavioral groups that are focused on substance abuse disorder, for example, begin by identifying the environments and situations that can trigger addictive behavior. This understanding allows members to develop management strategies that encourage reduced use.

Support groups

People can find support groups to help themTrusted Source deal with life’s major changes like the death of a loved-one. Support groups allow members to give and receive unconditional acceptance. It encourages members to examine their beliefs and behavior.

Interpersonal process groups

To promote positive change, the interpersonal process model uses a psychodynamic approach. Psychodynamics A school of psychology that considers a person’s childhood experiences, subconscious beliefs, and feelings as the basis of their personality and behavior. Interpersonal process groups are more focused on the dynamics of interpersonal groups than individual psychology.

Effectiveness of Group Therapy

Group therapy is effective for:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Substance use disorder

What should you expect?

One or more psychologists lead small groups of up to 15 people through group therapy. The group sessions last approximately 1-2 hours and meet once a week.

Group therapy sessions are possible in hospitals, libraries, and other healthcare facilities. The groups will meet in quiet rooms with chairs around a circle, so members of the group can see one another.

Group members will introduce themselves at the beginning of each session and explain why they are attending group therapy. The group members may discuss their progress, as well as any setbacks or obstacles they have faced since the last session.

Group therapy sessions can vary in terms of the activities they include. These activities are designed to foster open and honest communication between members of the group and their psychologists.

Group Therapy Advantages

Group therapy has many advantages:

  • Group therapy is a way for people to get support and encouragement from other members of the group. The group helps people feel less alone by allowing them to see how others are feeling.
    Group members can be role models for others in the group. Watching someone overcome a problem can help others in the group see that there are options for recovery. As each individual progresses, they become a role model for others and a support person. This can foster feelings of achievement and success.
  • Group therapy can often be very affordable. Instead of spending their time with one client, the therapist can focus on a larger number of clients. This reduces the cost to participants.
  • Group therapy provides a safe place. This group allows individuals to learn and practice behavior and actions in a safe and secure environment. Working in a group allows the therapist to observe how each individual responds to others and how they behave in social situations. The therapist can give valuable feedback to each client by using this information.

Things to Consider

There are many things to consider if you or someone you care about is considering group therapy.

You must be willing to share

If you have social anxiety or phobias, it might not be a good idea to share in a group. Some types of group therapy include role-playing or intense personal discussion. This can make it overwhelming for those who are very private and uncomfortable around strangers.

It may be necessary to try a few groups

You might need to shop around to find the best therapist. However, it is not uncommon to need to test out several groups before you finally find the one you like. Consider what you are looking for and what your needs are. Then, consider which group might be the most compatible or best suited to you.

It’s not meant for crisis

Group therapy has its limitations and not everyone is a good candidate. Individual therapy is better than group therapy if you or someone close to you is experiencing crisis or suicidal thoughts. Group therapy is best for people who aren’t currently in crisis.




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