Benefits of Group Therapy
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
If your therapist has recommended group therapy as a strategy for supporting your treatment progress, you may wonder what to expect. At Connected Roots in Boulder, our team uses group therapy to support your current treatment plan.
Group therapy is a common tool. Typically, group therapy involves one therapist working with a small group of five to ten people who have similar issues they’re looking to improve and work through.
Groups may meet for one hour or sometimes two each week. Some may attend group therapy as part of their overall treatment plan, while others may participate only in group therapy.
While it may sound communal, group therapy is not one-size-fits-all therapy. There are many approaches and types of groups explicitly created around the method of therapy used to facilitate the group or the issue being discussed.
Benefits of Group Therapy
You are not alone.
A primary benefit of group therapy is the recognition that you are not alone. It is reassuring to recognize that you are not the only person struggling with emotions and circumstances. In a group therapy setting, you may soon feel encouraged by others’ stories and progress.
Group therapy provides an opportunity to listen and be heard.
Group therapy provides a platform for you to be heard. Sometimes it can be challenging to express how you’re feeling. Many find that in group therapy, it is less difficult to share and articulate their feelings. When you’re connecting with other group members, you may find that you’re building your confidence and feeling more empowered to work toward the change you want for yourself.
Another positive of sharing your story within a group is that you receive support from others experiencing similar circumstances. This “support exchange” is beneficial and can even boost your overall health.
A group therapy session can be a place where you receive the support you need, and you’re allowed to provide support, too. It’s a good feeling to help and support others - especially when you empathize with how they’re feeling.
Group therapy allows you to relate to others (and yourself) in a safe environment.
Depending on your particular circumstances, your relationships may have been affected. Group therapy provides a safe space to practice interacting with others. You learn techniques to help you communicate more effectively.
You may also find that the acceptance and encouragement you find within a group therapy setting is a motivator to advocate for yourself, which can be challenging when dealing with anxiety or depression.
When you’re away from the group, it may be a comfort to know you’ll be able to report back to them about progress and celebrate successes together. You may also find it helpful to brainstorm ideas together on how you could have handled a situation differently if things didn’t go as you’d hoped.
Unforeseen Benefits of Group Therapy
At first mention, group therapy may seem intimidating. However, the value of group therapy far outweighs any initial hesitation by providing a support system outside your close family and friends while you’re working on your specific circumstances.
While many benefits of group therapy are relatively obvious, there are several unforeseen benefits as well.
Fringe Benefits of Group Therapy
Even if you’re not attending group therapy specifically for social skills, you may experience fringe benefits like:
Growing trusted sources of support within a group of people
Role modeling and possible mentorship
Practical and valuable experience with active listening
Renewed hope and reassurance
As a collective, you and the other members of your group can influence each other positively. You may even be able to hold each other accountable when finding new ways to handle your specific set of circumstances.
Another significant benefit of group therapy is diversity. People bring different life circumstances, personalities, and backgrounds to treatment. Watching how others tackle challenges and make positive changes may show you a range of previously untapped strategies for facing your concerns.
Types of Group Therapy Techniques
Not every group therapy session is the same. Techniques used in one group may not be appropriate or effective for another. Many of the methods used depend on the preferences and training of the therapist leading the group.
Sometimes, art, music, dance, or movement therapy are helpful ways to express yourself within a group therapy setting. Creative activities can help you become more aware of yourself and your feelings.
Journaling may also be utilized as a way to focus more intimately on yourself. Research shows that journaling can help decrease stress.
Role-playing is another technique often used in group therapy sessions. You may notice improved communication skills through role-playing techniques.
Accepted Boundaries within Group Therapy
Group therapy is a tool for many people working through challenging circumstances. Successful groups maintain boundaries for the good of all. These are some generally accepted boundaries for using group therapy effectively.
As a basic and essential guideline for group therapy, confidentiality is imperative. While there is no absolute guarantee, most participants agree to hold sacred what is shared. Groups work best when open and honest communication is allowed between members.
Discouragement of friendships/relationships with group members.
This can be difficult, but it is critically important. Important connections are made within the group; however, to be safe and productive, outside relationships are discouraged with other group members. Group members shouldn’t share personal information like emails, phone numbers, or social media account information while the group is in progress.
Commitment to Work
For group therapy to work best, members must attend scheduled sessions and arrive on time. It is vital to show up ready to work and with an attitude of cooperation.
Group Therapy at Connected Roots
At Connected Roots in Boulder, we respect and recognize each person’s individuality. Group therapy is one tool we use to help people inspire a more profound connection between themselves and others.
Group therapy is a powerful way to grow, encourage, and find successes within your particular therapy plan. If you think group therapy may be a good fit for you, mention it to your therapist and discuss the possibility of adding it to your treatment plan.