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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

Don’t Do It Alone: 6 Amazing Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a safe environment to share your struggles and find the support and motivation you need to deal with them. Some people are skeptical of group therapy, mostly because they feel intimidated by the thought of sharing their feelings in front of strangers, however often this is not even what group therapy entails. In this post, we’ll explore 6 amazing benefits of group therapy which will make you reconsider. But first, let’s start with some basic information.


What Exactly is Group Therapy?


Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that takes place in groups under the guidance of one or two licensed therapists. A group is usually comprised of several people who may be struggling with similar difficulties as yourself. The sessions tend to be held once or twice a week and last for around one hour. In group therapy, the members of the group tend to sit around in a circle to encourage participation.


Is Group Therapy for me?


If you’re struggling with any issue that disrupts your daily routine or affects your relationships, you should consult a licensed therapist. Together, you will evaluate your situation and decide whether you’ll benefit most from group therapy or another approach. Don’t be surprised if your therapist suggests combining individual and group therapy sessions, this is pretty common!


In general, group therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, and a wide range of other difficulties. It’s also beneficial for those going through a difficult time in their lives, like the loss of a loved one. Group therapy can also treat issues like relationship problems, low self-esteem, and anger problems. Group therapy can also be particularly beneficial for children and adolescent population.


6 Benefits of Group Therapy


Now that you have an idea of what a group therapy session looks like, let’s delve into the benefits of this popular approach.


1. You realize you’re not alone


Your friends and family, regardless of how supportive they might be, often cannot truly relate to your situation, which can often lead to frustration and feelings of loneliness. Many people become absorbed with these thoughts and enter a state of self-pity, which is a difficult state to live in. If you succumb to self-pity, you accumulate anger and resentment towards others. Instead of focusing on the solution, you end up focused on the problem.


Group therapy gives you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in this. There are other people going through the same difficulties as you are and understand how you’re feeling. Once you are able to shift your focus from yourself to others, you can begin to pull yourself away from self-pity and towards self-improvement.


2. You get support and valuable insights from peers


In group therapy, you’ll encounter people with different personalities who approach their issues in their own unique ways. You’ll get to hear different perspectives on issues. Some might be appealing to you, and others won’t. The point is you’ll see that there’s more than one way to tackle an issue. You take what you want from the group and leave the rest. And perhaps you’ll get inspired and find a solution that works for you.


What’s more, some members of the group will be further in their healing journey. That’s the best kind of support because it instills hope and builds resilience. You see with your own eyes that change is possible – and what it looks like. And the best part? You’ll make your own progress and return the favor along the way.


3. You’re held accountable (but never get judged)


Accountability is a strong motivator. Think about it. Most people consulting a dietician, for example, claim they do so not because they don’t know how to eat healthier, but because they need to be held accountable.


The same applies to group therapy. As part of the group, you’re not only a group therapy member but a role model for the rest of the group. Knowing that you have the power to inspire and encourage other people can give you an extra incentive to work on making your own progress. Setbacks are part of the journey, of course. Your group is not there to judge but to help you get back on track.


4. You develop self-awareness and social skills


People often exhibit unwanted behaviors in social settings without realizing it. When you feel anxious, for example, your mind races, and you can’t easily engage in conversations. You might have developed a habit of cutting people off mid-sentence to tell them what’s on your mind, probably because you weren’t even listening to what they were saying in the first place.


During group therapy sessions, your therapist or peers will notice these sorts of behaviors and bring them to your attention, which is something that would be impossible to do in individual therapy. Then, you’ll start noticing and practicing strategies to prevent these social behaviors. Over time, for example, you might become a better listener.


You’re also likely to meet people that behave similarly to you. By observing their behavior, you may become more aware of the impact that your words, gestures, tone of voice, etc. have on other people. Even if that’s not the reason why you joined group therapy, by the end of the sessions you’ll be more self-aware and you’ll have stronger interpersonal skills.


5. You learn to break down your walls


Some people feel uncomfortable sharing intimate thoughts or memories, and it’s very common! They also might find it hard to express their feelings about certain events or towards other people, including their partners. If you’re one of these people, group therapy is a great place to practice openness.


In group therapy, you learn to let go of the fear of exposing your vulnerabilities. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at first. But, leaving your comfort zone is well worth it as it only makes you stronger. Being honest about your feelings is the only way to let other people in and form meaningful, fulfilling relationships.


6. It’s more affordable than individual therapy sessions


This might be a mundane argument, but it’s still worth mentioning. Individual therapy is a financial investment and may be difficult for some people. However, many of your therapy goals can be achieved in a group therapy setting if the cost presents as a barrier to treatment. Be sure to discuss the option of group therapy with your therapist as a supplement to your current treatment or as an alternative to individual sessions.


If you’re considering therapy because you want to lead a happier life, then you’re off to a great start already. Consult your therapist to figure out whether group therapy can be part of your treatment and join your first session with confidence and an open mind. You won’t be disappointed!

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