Five Benefits of Group Therapy

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What is Group Therapy?

On the first day of our Women’s Psychotherapy Group at The Village Institute, I had asked the group, “Who here had no idea of what they were walking in to today?” Unanimously, each woman raised their hand nervously and laughed. Already, there was a sense of connectivity in the room. It turns out, most people, even those who take the step and join group, do not really know what group therapy is, or what it can offer!

“Thank you for bringing me into this positive experience- it was one I didn’t even know I was missing.” – Group member

According to the APA (American Psychological Association), group members often are surprised at how rewarding a group experience can be.

In this article I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on what Group Therapy is and will also answer some fundamental group questions, so that you can determine if this is a form of therapy that would work for you.

Five Benefits of Group Therapy

1. Validation
Sometimes we need reminders that we’re not completely alone in our feelings and experiences. Members are able to support and validate your experiences by perhaps even sharing their own.

2. Interpersonal learning
How are you relating to others? In group, members have the opportunity to engage with other members, and often how they are relating to others is indicative of how they are relating to people out there in the world. More often than not, having a group experience may even provide information on how you are relating to yourself.

3. Feedback
The feedback in group is different from the feedback you’ll get in individual therapy. Often in group you’ll find that members are genuinely there to listen, share, explore barriers with each other, process their thoughts or fears, and support one another. How often do you have the opportunity to be that vulnerable and open with a group of unbiased people?

4. Affordability

Typically individual therapy can differ in terms of sliding scales, insurance practices, and set fees. Navigating the mental health system certainly isn’t easy. Make your search a little bit easier by considering group therapy as a lower fee option. Groups generally meet weekly, as one would for individual sessions. Consistency is key for any change to happen!

5. New experiences

After her first group session, I received a message from a group member stating “Thank you for bringing me into this positive experience- it was one I didn’t even know I was missing.” According to the APA, group members often are surprised at how rewarding a group experience can be. Wondering what your experience can be like? Reach out to us and ask us about The Village Institutes upcoming therapy groups this year!

And just so you’re feeling super prepared in your consideration of group therapy I’ve listed some frequently asked questions and answers:

Q: Is group psychotherapy a “support group”?

A: While some groups are created for support, Psychotherapy Groups meet to explore internal processes, mental health, and process feelings in a way that is proactive toward change. Typically the group leader is a psychotherapist who has been trained in the realm of mental health and navigating a group experience.

Q: Are there expectations when you join a group?

A: Yes! Group rules are implemented for the consistency and growth of the group, such as: regular attendance, confidentiality, no meeting outside of group, etc.

Q: How many members will there be?

A: This varies in dependence of what group your joining, where, and what you’re looking for. At The Village Institute, we have groups ranging from more intimate interpersonal groups, to larger ones all within 5-12 people.

Q: How long does it last?

A: At The Village Institute, one group session lasts an hour and a half. Some groups are indefinite but others have an end date.

Q: What if I don’t fit in to the group and want to stop?

A: Like anything else, practice creates growth, understanding and mastery. While giving group an opportunity to be something that could work for you by showing up a few weeks in a row is encouraged, The Village Institute takes on an individualized and genuine approach with their patient population. Ask your group therapist how you can get the most out of your experience, and discuss what might be holding you back from it. You will never be forced to stay in group!