Insight Behavioral Health – For people experiencing a mental health condition, substance abuse, or a difficult life event such as grief, sometimes it can feel like you’re all alone. Even if you have a trusted therapist or family and friends you are comfortable confiding in, it may seem like they will never understand what you are going through or have the ability to provide the support you need. If this is something you are experiencing, you might benefit from group therapy, a form of counseling that involves a therapist working with several people at different stages of treatment. This format of therapy is highly effective and allows people to share their successes and challenges in a safe and structured environment. It also provides a much-needed support system, accountability, and different perspectives that will help you make connections and begin to heal. To help you decide if group therapy is right for you, here are eight common benefits participants can expect.
You Are Not Alone
One of the most important reminders for anyone experiencing a challenge is that you are not alone and that others have gone through or are going through similar experiences. Dealing with mental health issues is often isolating and it is easy to withdraw, which leads to depression, anxiety, and further complications. In group therapy, you are surrounded by people who care, are non-judgemental, and can relate to how you’re feeling in ways friends or family may not.
Another benefit of group therapy is that everyone is at different stages in treatment. When you are experiencing a mental health condition such as depression, it is easy to get bogged down in your thoughts and feel like there is no solution. However, group therapy gives you an opportunity to hear how your peers have persevered, reconsider your circumstances, and begin to develop strategies you can use in your daily life. It is also empowering to know that your experiences will help new members and others along the way.
Hold Yourself Accountable
When people participate in individual therapy sessions and do not have a strong support system, it is very easy to get off track and revert back to old habits. The support from your peers in group therapy plays an essential role in helping you stay accountable and meet your goals. When it comes to accountability, it is important to remember that this does not mean judgment or pressuring others to feel guilt. Instead, accountability comes from within. The positive feelings you experience, when you continue to make progress and reach milestones together with your peers, are a strong influence to stay determined no matter what you face.
It can be very difficult to discuss your feelings with anyone, especially strangers. However, people who participate in group therapy often find the camaraderie, safety, and knowledge they gain to help them build their confidence and find their voice both inside and outside of sessions. It is also very reassuring knowing people have your back if you stumble and need help getting back on course.
Having knowledge of our strengths and areas where we need to grow is key to making improvements in all aspects of life. Yet many of us have blinders on that prevent us from identifying and addressing the underlying causes of our problems. During group therapy, participants will often see reflections of themselves in others’ stories and start to build awareness of areas that need to be addressed that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
As you build trust during your sessions, people often find their fellow participants to be ideal sounding boards on a variety of topics or issues you are facing. Whether you are experiencing challenges in your personal relationships or conflicts at work, chances are someone else has experienced something similar and can offer an objective point of view.
Build Social Skills
People often experience various levels of social isolation prior to joining group therapy. But as you work together and learn to manage certain situations and relationships, you will also have many opportunities to acquire and practice valuable social and problem-solving skills. Becoming more comfortable in social settings is particularly beneficial for those struggling with social anxiety and depression. Stepping out of your comfort zone in a small environment of understanding peers is not only reassuring, but it may also be a foundational part of helping you make progress in your treatment.
Trust is essential for group therapy to be successful. Just like with individual therapy sessions, participants in group therapy agree to maintain confidentiality outside of meetings. This not only lays the groundwork for a safe, supportive environment, but it also allows for open communication, respect, and candid exploration of emotions and experiences. In order for group therapy to be successful, clear boundaries, expectations, and structure must be established from day one. Therapists leading sessions will help manage difficult conversations while considering the boundaries and needs of each person.
For many people, group therapy can be more effective than individual therapy. From helping you remember you are not alone to finding your voice and learning how to relate to others, group therapy can be a safety net for people of all ages and backgrounds. Insight Behavioral Health specializes in a wide range of mental health services, including group therapy. For more information, contact us today or text (810) 213-0279 to schedule an appointment.
Q: Who can participate in group therapy?
A: People of all backgrounds participate in group therapy, including those who are experiencing mental health conditions, grief, or difficult life circumstances. Most groups are tailored for certain problems, such as depression, chronic pain, or substance abuse.
Q: How long does group therapy last?
A: The duration of group therapy varies, with sessions ranging from two months to a year or more. Groups typically consist of five to 15 patients and meet for one to two hours each week.
Q: Can you receive additional support while in group therapy?
A: Yes. Many therapists recommend a combination of therapies and techniques. It is also common to try different approaches to find what works best for your needs.