Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Group therapy, ugh, you might be thinking. “Why would I share my painful experiences and challenging issues with other people when I can barely deal with them myself?” And besides, you never know who is going to be in the group, and “what if someone makes me feel uncomfortable?” “I don’t think that group therapy is for me, and I can’t see any advantage in doing group therapy.” These are all valid questions and common concerns, especially if you have never done group therapy before or don’t know much about it. However, I’m going to show you some surprising benefits of group therapy, how helpful it can be, and why you might want to consider it.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy, just as the name suggests, is a group of people in therapy and led by an experienced counselor or mental health professional. Groups can vary in size and length, and the topics can vary. Some groups are based on age groups (e.g., groups for millennials), some are based on topics (e.g., depression), and some are more general support groups. Group therapy can be done online or in-person, and, just like the saying, is more than the sum of its parts.
Benefit 1: You Don’t Feel So Alone
One of the most common complaints that I see from people coming into therapy is that they feel so alone. You may believe that no one understands you, and that you alone are experiencing or feeling your unique pain. And while it’s true that your experience is your own, there are many other people out there having similar-enough challenges and issues that together you have some shared experiences. Feeling connected with others on a deeper level, regarding similar pain and challenges, can help relieve your pain, guilt, or stress.
Benefit 2: You Get Support and Encouragement from Others
By connecting with others, you are able to get positive support and encouragement that you may not get elsewhere in your life. You will also be able to give your own support and encouragement to other group members, and this combination of getting and giving is very powerful. Perhaps in your regular life you’re feeling unappreciated, unheard, or unseen, but in group therapy, other group members help you feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Benefit 3: Practice in a Safe Environment
Groups often teach new skills, or facilitate healthy interpersonal interactions, and the group provides a safe place to practice before trying them out in the real world. If you are just learning a new relaxation skill that helps with anxiety, and you’re nervous about trying out the skill in your everyday life, practice it in the group and get feedback from other group members and the therapist. Changing behaviors and actions takes practice, anad group therapy is a great place to practice.
Benefit 4: More Affordable
While group therapy is not a substitute for individual therapy, it is usually more affordable than doing individual work. One group session can be between 1/3 and ½ the price of one individual counseling session. Usually, group therapy consists of several sessions (between 6-12) although sometimes groups can continue on indefinitely, as long as the group members keep coming.
Group Therapy is Effective
Group therapy is an effective way to learn new skills in a safe, supportive environment that helps you feel more connected to others and less alone. You may not have ever even considered group therapy before now, but hopefully this information helps you change your mind about group therapy and how it might be helpful for you. The benefits of group therapy are significant, and this is why many therapists offer group therapy in addition to individual counseling.
Check out the current groups that Catalyss Counseling is offering right now if you’re interested in how group therapy can help you rediscover your everyday joy!
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Group therapy can meet many of your counseling needs. But, we know that is not all you might need. So, 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 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! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.