Group Therapy

patients in a group therapy session

Group Therapy

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Group therapy can be defined as one or more therapists working with a group of people seeking a common improvement. Conversely, individual therapy sessions provide one-on-one discussions between one patient and a therapist.

However, group therapy involves much more than just added numbers in a therapy session. There are fundamental elements of group therapy that can increase significantly the progress and results that can be achieved over individual therapy. We will address some of these benefits of group therapy below.

Keep in mind, it is important to work with a licensed therapist to determine which form of therapy is best for you given your unique situation. We at Bridgepoint are eager to identify the method of treatment that will benefit you the most, whether it is group therapy or another of our practiced approaches.

group leader discussing therapy plan with patients

Benefits of Group Therapy

It may seem intimidating to begin a therapy session with a set of strangers, but this scenario has proven extremely effective when applied to the right circumstances. Group therapy participants quickly find that others in their group can become powerful allies as they work together through their healing process. In fact, there are multiple benefits of group therapy because of its interactive structure.

  • Accountability and sanctuary – As group therapy participants collectively work together through their various treatments, our therapists find group members sharing in solutions as well as providing encouragement for necessary steps toward healing. The group actually becomes a cohesive unit, much like a healthy family, to aid each other through accountability as well as inspiration.
  • Support – Part of the healing process for any condition is identifying and working through the struggles associated with each unique situation. Through group therapy, members share their struggles with each other, receiving in return a support group that can relate and understand each other without judgment.
  • Expression – It can be extremely difficult for some people to express themselves publicly. Group therapy provides a safe environment with like-minded individuals that encourages members to find ways to verbalize their feelings, allowing all members to identify the source of their struggle and focus on the true problem rather than just the symptoms.
  • Increased empathy – By working through difficulties together, group members are able to provide significant support for one another through the empathy generated throughout their association. A greater degree of healing is accomplished as group therapy members look outward toward others as well as toward their own adversity.
  • You are not alone – Through group therapy sessions, each member grows through the process of sharing and understanding that others face remarkably similar circumstances. Group participants can share in their struggles, and they learn that the battle for healing can be fought together, rather than alone. Many times these breakthroughs can be achieved more successfully when working together in a group setting.
group holds hands at end of therapy session

What techniques are used in group therapy?

Group therapy is a versatile effort with many different avenues for healing. Each group is formed with a professionally designed strategy with room for adjustments as determined appropriate by the group facilitator.

Each gathering may make use of a range of techniques, from simple sharing of ideas through discussions to participating in activities such as art, music appreciation, and even dance. Our therapists have developed strategic therapies using role-playing games to bring group members together and build rapport as they work together through the challenges of the game.

What are the different forms of group therapy?

Group therapy uses many different techniques to meet the needs of the individuals that form each group. However, two primary formats cover the majority of group therapy needs:

Process-oriented groups – These sessions rely more on the interpersonal relationships and interactions within and among group members. Process oriented groups focus on moving through challenges and developing healthier life choices related to these challenges. Many of these groups use creative methods to complete these challenges including games and other methodologies.

Psycho-educational groups – The focus of these groups involves educating group members about a particular subject, such as behavioral therapy and anger management. Group interaction may exist, but it is generally not as essential to the outcome as in process oriented groups.

blurred image of a group therapy session

Open and Closed Group Therapy

Your therapist will determine the best plan for your group. Some groups may be “open” groups, that is, open to members joining and leaving the group at any time. Certain forms of group therapy benefit from this open structure. Others will employ a “closed” status, meaning participants begin meeting with the group, and the group does not add any new members until the therapy reaches a certain stage of completion. The group may have fully completed its mission, or a new stage may be initiated for the next phase of group therapy.

How big will my group be?

The size of a group therapy session will be determined based on need. Smaller groups allow for more intimacy and individual focus, while larger groups provide a wider variety of perspectives and diversity. Your therapist will adjust the group size to maximize the benefit for the needs of the group.

What does a typical group therapy session look like?

Group members will generally meet once or twice a week for a period of 1-2 hours per session. Each group will begin with introductions to establish who group members are and provide a beginning to the relationships that will develop over the course of the therapy. Each session will begin with an update and a chance to share successes and/or struggles with techniques and strategies from earlier sessions.

The bulk of each group therapy session will be determined by the therapist. The group may engage in a discussion by all members, or the therapist may lead a more directed, educational presentation. During this time, the therapist may employ strategic exercises to aid the group, such as games, music therapy, or other helpful interactions.

Sessions close with a review of topics discussed and a reminder of methods to work on until the next meeting of the group.

Go beyond informal, self-help sessions

While there are certain benefits to self-led accountability groups, these groups have their limitations as well. For serious health issues, we recommend formalized sessions, led by a trained and licensed therapist. These professionals will bring strategic plans to group therapy sessions, providing proven and tested methods for more assurance of positive results, especially when dealing with delicate matters.

How do I get plugged into a therapy group that will help me?

We look forward to getting your healing process started, and we know the sooner that healing begins, the better off you will be. We encourage you to call us today for an initial consultation with one of our trained staff members. The information you provide will help us identify the right therapy group for your situation.

Groups are forming at all times, and we look forward to helping you get on the road to recovery.

Visit Our Resources Page

Bridgepoint encourages clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to research new methodologies and techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. To assist with your own learning, we’ve put together a variety of resources on a variety of topics – including genomics – to help you on your mental health journey.

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