Updated: Sep 14, 2021
If you’ve never done group therapy before, it can seem intimidating and nerve-wracking. I mean, who wants to join a group of people that you’ve never met before, share your deepest, darkest issues, and hope you’ll get something in return? The idea of group therapy, as opposed to individual therapy, can seem challenging, for sure. But, group therapy works. Doing counseling in groups led by a professional group leader is effective. Check out our blog The Surprising Benefits of Group Therapy for more information about how group counseling can be effective.
Why Group Therapy?
Group therapy is actually a treatment of choice, over individual therapy, for many issues, including but not limited to depression, social anxiety, panic, substance abuse, eating disorders, relationships, and chronic pain. One type of group counseling, interpersonal relationship groups, are highly effective in particular for developing your self-awareness of how you interact with others. Group therapy can also encompass support groups which are another effective form of group treatment when led by an experienced therapist.
Other Members of the Group
If you are attending group therapy, likely the other members of the group have similar challenges, issues, and symptoms that you do. Most groups are targeted for specific types of members and issues. In our Online Meaningful Connections Groups which is a group for young adults with anxiety and depression, other group members are likely experiencing similar troubling symptoms that you are. Of course, each person is different and every group member will bring something different to the table, but the point is that you will have more things in common with the other group members than not.
In a skills-based group, during the first session, and perhaps even the next few, of the group, the group facilitator may teach a skill or facilitate discussion among the group members, or a combination of both. It may be awkward at first, trying to share what you are feeling with others that you don’t know, but give it some time. The first stage of group therapy is the forming of the group, where members get to know each other and start sharing their stories. The group leader usually plays a major role in the discussions at this stage in helping the group get formed.
In our Relationship Process Group, the focus is more on the process of the discussion between group members and less on the content. No skills are taught, but the group facilitators encourage members to really be in touch with how you are interacting within the group. Improved self-awareness thus leads to better outside-world relationship outcomes.
It goes without saying that the best way to get the most out of your group therapy experience is through participation and sharing. In fact, you may learn more from the other group members than you will the group therapist. As the group progresses, the group members will start leading and facilitating the discussions more and more, and the group leader’s voice will slowly quiet. You may start to crave the support, encouragement, and acceptance of the other members, and the powerful effect this has on you. Group experiences can be transformative and healing in a way that individual therapy cannot reach.
Sharing in Groups
It can be scary to share your experiences and thoughts in a group setting, especially if you have any anxiety related to social or group situations. The more you share, though, the better the benefits for you. A typical Group Rule that is set up at the beginning of the group is Confidentiality. This means that it is expected that everything that is said in the group, by anyone, remains confidential within the group members. If confidentiality is broken by someone, that is discussed within the group and the group leader needs to make a decision whether to let that person continue on in the group. The promise and expectation that what you say will stay within the group may help you feel more comfortable about sharing.
Group therapy can be hard to start, but once you’ve gotten over the initial hump and start to feel comfortable within the group and get to know the other group members, the sharing of your pain, the relationships that develop from the group, and your resulting increased self-esteem are often worth it. If you’re interested in learning more about the groups that Catalyss Counseling offers, check out our Group Therapy page.
enrolling now for our groups
Meaningful Connections Group:
Improve improve your self-esteem and learn coping strategies through meaningful connections with others! This group is for young adults experiencing anxiety and depression, who are ready to go from a lack of fulfilling relationships to meaningful connections with others in a safe, supportive online group.
For more information or to enroll, click here!
Relationship Process Group:
Improve your self-awareness of how you interact with others! For adults who want to experience person-growth and improve their relationships with others outside of the group. This is an online group.
For more information or to enroll, click here!
How We Can Help
If you are interested in group or individual therapy at Catalyss Counseling and would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxing life
Other Therapy Services Available 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 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.