I love group therapy. Obviously, as a therapist, I’m a fan of therapy in general, but I genuinely feel that group therapy doesn’t get the recognition it deserves! It has been shown to be just as effective as individual therapy for many conditions and it comes with added benefits.
Group therapy is often more affordable than individual therapy and you get to experience affirming relationships with people who may be navigating similar experiences. In some types of groups, you get to practice the skills you are learning in real-time with others which strengthens your access to those resources when you need them ‘in the wild’.
Maybe you might already know you want to join a therapy group, but the options feel overwhelming. It can be difficult to understand the differences in types of therapy groups and what they can offer. Today we’ll try and equip you for the task of finding the right type of group for you!
The Basics of Therapy Groups
Therapy groups are typically smaller, ranging from 4 to 12 participants. Here at Catalyss Counseling, we limit our groups to 6 members. Groups typically meet at a regularly scheduled time and are facilitated by a qualified therapist.
Therapy groups also usually have norms that serve to create and maintain a safe and supportive environment. These usually include agreements around confidentiality, respect, and participation.
Group formats can vary widely, meeting virtually or in-person. Groups can also be specific to certain genders or age groups, and they may be closed (only selected group members can attend) or open (anyone is welcome anytime). The makeup of groups can also be more general (a broad mix of people and backgrounds) or more specific (ex., limited to people with an ADHD diagnosis).
Psychoeducational or Skills Based Groups
Psychoeducational or skills-based groups can be open or closed but are typically time-limited and focused on a very specific topic. They may be less interactive and more focused on delivering content.
If you join a psychoeducational or skill development group, you can expect lots of information about specific conditions, coping mechanisms, and practical skills to help manage specific issues. You will be learning alongside others who are facing similar challenges and gaining some excellent resources for navigating certain issues.
One of my favorite parts of support groups is being exposed to new perspectives. Even as a facilitator, I have this experience frequently and it is eye-opening. Support groups bring people together who can connect meaningfully which supports therapeutic change by providing understanding and a sense of belonging.
In support groups, there is usually space to share personal experiences and provide mutual support with people who really get what you’re going through. In this sense, support groups are usually related to a specific life challenge or demographic. At Catalyss Counseling, we offer these different types of support groups:
All of our support groups are currently virtual which means they can also be open to folks outside of the Denver area as well.
Process groups are my personal favorite. These groups have a unique function that really capitalizes on the relationships among and between group members. We leverage these connections to practice new skills or ways of communicating and you get feedback about how you are perceived in real-time.
A process group invites you to notice your own experiences as you interact with others and how those dynamics might be impacting your well-being and the quality of your relationships. You will get to learn with and from people who also want to gain insight into their own patterns. These groups are particularly powerful for developing self-awareness that can help with navigating relationship challenges. I facilitate in-person Relationship Process Group twice a week at our offices in Englewood.
Benefits of Group Therapy
A sense that you are not alone! Hearing others share about their experiences and having the opportunity to express your own can reduce feelings of isolation.
Feeling supported! Groups are specifically designed as safe spaces for sharing which means you can count on receiving feedback in a way that feels safe too. If for any reason something doesn’t feel safe, it can be addressed right there in the group.
Fresh perspectives! Groups offer exposure to others which can open up new insights into your own experiences.
Accountability! Group members are committed to showing up for each other. This creates opportunities for trusting others with the goals and challenges you are navigating. Being committed to the group yourself can help you keep showing up for your growth goals.
Cost-Effectiveness! As I previously mentioned, group therapy is often more accessible than individual therapy, especially if you are paying out of pocket.
Finding Your Best Fit Group
Now that you know more about your options, it’s time to decide what you want! When considering a group, make sure you can name your goals and needs. Will the group you’re considering help support your process?
I would also encourage you to talk with the therapists who will be facilitating your potential groups. You should be able to address any concerns or questions you might have. Here at Catalyss Counseling, we offer individual screenings for group participation to ensure that you feel connected with your facilitator and ready for the group experience.
How We Can Help
When you find the right fit, groups can be a powerful way to support your transformation.
Reach out to us today to find out more about how a therapy group may be a fit for your healing journey.
Follow these simple steps if you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more balanced life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling, couples counseling, and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision with Firelight Supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Jessica Carpenter is an intern therapist with Catalyss Counseling who works with adults who have experienced stress or trauma to develop better self-regulation skills. Jessica is also a licensed massage therapist, yoga therapist, and TRE provider. She is passionate about making wellness accessible to everyone. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.