Group Psychotherapy - The Plymouth Center for Behavioral Health

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists deal with multiple people in one session. This kind of treatment is generally accessible in a number of settings, including community centers, hospitals, mental health clinics, and private therapeutic practices. A small group of patients undergoes group psychotherapy, a highly effective kind of therapy, where they come together to support one another and themselves. Although there are many various techniques to group therapy, they all focus on creating a secure, unified, and supportive environment in which to treat social, emotional, and interpersonal problems. Although group therapy is frequently included in comprehensive treatment plans that also include individual therapy, it is also occasionally utilized alone.

What are the uses of group psychotherapy?/ What is group therapy for medical and psychological conditions?

People who need treatment for a particular issue can benefit from group therapy irrespective of their age, gender identity, orientation, sexuality, race, culture, or cultural background.  

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression 
  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder

Group therapy based on CBT has been shown to aid in coping with a variety of issues, including mental health issues:

  • Anger management
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic stress
  • Divorce
  • Domestic violence
  • Grief and loss
  • Weight management

What are the basic methods of group psychotherapy?

In accordance with the mental health condition it is designed to address and the professional approach taken during the session, there are various types of group therapy. The most typical forms of group therapy are as follows:

  • Cognitive behavioral groups: They assist in identifying and modifying faulty or distorted thought processes, emotional reactions, and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal group therapy: It supports individuals with a range of psychological issues by addressing their relationships with one another, including those with family, friends, and coworkers. In order to work on peer interactions, these group therapy sessions might frequently be divided into smaller groups.
  • Psychoeducational group therapy: It describes a group of persons working on similar issues. When someone has gone through a major life event and wants to better understand what happened, they usually choose this technique.
  • Skills development groups: They concentrate on enhancing social skills in those with mental illnesses or developmental impairments.
  • Support groups: They offer a wide range of advantages to both those who suffer from various mental health issues and the individuals who worry about them. Peer support groups are part of this type of therapy, which also fosters a sense of community while addressing the disorder’s symptoms.

What Happens During Group Therapy?

Even though group therapy sessions can include more members, the average group size is eight to twelve people (although this number can vary). Groups can be as small as three or four persons. The group normally meets for an hour or two once, twice, or more a week. All of the participants, including the group leaders, are seated such that they can all see one another. The group process is facilitated by the therapists, who also provide it structure. Groups can either be closed or open. A closed group has a predetermined start and end date, whereas members of an open group can join at any time. 

You can ask the therapist about the services they provide, and groups can be attended both in person and online. Along with developing their own understanding of themselves and their problems, group members also learn how to support one another therapeutically. The formation of groups is frequently centered on a common problem. Members of the group might be struggling with a particular mental health issue (such as social anxiety, an eating disorder, or an addiction), suffering a loss, or facing another difficulty (such as parenting issues, a family member’s mental illness, or suicide).

What principles are used in group therapy?

The following principles govern the group treatment procedure:

  • Persistence of Hope: Because group therapy meetings include people at various levels of their participation, observing others’ progress might give others who are just beginning their first sessions of the therapy some encouragement.
  • Being One: Talking about and overcoming difficult situations or experiences with others in a group therapy setting who are also going through the same thing can foster a sense of oneness and solidarity that may be difficult to achieve with individual therapy.
  • Information Sharing: Group therapy participants have the opportunity to provide knowledge that can be crucial to the recovery and treatment of a different person.
  • Altruism: For individuals just starting group therapy activities, discussing strengths with other group members throughout the sessions can enhance spirits, self-esteem, and confidence.
  • Corrective Behavioural Commentary: Each client may view the treatment group as their main source of support in their lives.  Here they can learn new habits from others that are more successful, beneficial, and empowering.
  • Keeping Social While Healing: Group therapy frequently has a positive social component. When overcoming a difficult event or illness, many people retreat or make efforts to disengage. 
  • Imitation: Group therapy gives participants the chance to copy the responses and behaviors of others in constructive and positive settings. These concepts can be applied to practical daily social tactics.
  • Interpersonal Learning: Connecting with others and getting feedback at the moment helps educate interpersonal skills. New ideas and approaches can be created risk-free in a friendly setting by gaining feedback from the group therapist as well as other participants in the therapy session.
  • Catharsis: Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a group of others going through similar things might help you and the other participants in the sessions let go of negative emotions.
  • Existential factors: While processing traumatic issues in a group therapy environment, a sense of responsibility is also absorbed through the direction and support of group members. People learn that they are in charge of their decisions and behaviors through this process.

How effective is group therapy?

Research on the efficacy of group therapy is extensive. It may provide benefits to certain persons that individual psychotherapy does not. People who feel isolated in their challenges, for instance, could find confidence and inspiration by talking with peers who are “in the same boat.” Additionally, group therapy is typically less expensive than one-on-one counseling.

The following are some major advantages of group therapy:

  • Members in the group can feel accepted and supported, and the group dynamic helps lessen isolation and stigma.
  • While the diversity of experience might inspire ideas for fresh approaches to overcoming obstacles, the commonalities among members can foster a sense of community.
  • The group offers a secure setting where members can try out novel social behaviours and take social risks.
  • Members might find hope and learn from individuals in the group who are “further ahead” than they are.
  • Participants in group therapy are given the opportunity to improve their understanding of interpersonal relationships and to improve their interpersonal dynamics.
  • The group activity provides the therapists with an overview of how each participant behaves in a social setting, which can lead to useful feedback.