When we think of therapy what comes to mind is a person talking to a therapist in a room. This is also true for most people who have had actual experience in using therapy services. Individual therapy is perhaps the most common type of therapy known out there. It is useful in addressing many types of personal issues or problems and for a variety of reasons. Group therapy, however, is given less attention and therefore less known.
Group therapy is a type of therapy where a small group of people (usually no more than 12) with similar issues or diagnoses are supported through change and coping by one or two professionals. Apart from problem similarity, people who have similar age, gender, locality, certain roles (parenthood), and professions are put into consideration in the formation of group therapy. For instance, people with a diagnosis of trauma or depression can together be supported by a professional therapist. Equally, teenagers would definitely have more common experiences that they would feel comfortable sharing together than if they are to be in a group of people in their 50s. Therapists usually start with an assessment at one on one sessions and then determine if one is ready and willing to benefit from group therapy. One can also have both individual and group therapy simultaneously.
Initially, the thought of sharing one’s private life and struggles with strangers can be an unnerving experience. However, with time, people eventually find it safe, get comfortable and even surprise themselves with how much they are able to share. Therapists are also skilled in helping group members through the transition and will make one at ease and feel right at home. The same rules for individual therapy apply to group therapy. These include confidentiality, a non-judgmental attitude, and respect for others’ opinions and experiences. The optimize the benefits that come with group therapy the principle is that the more is shared more is gained.
There are many benefits that come from participating in group therapy. The first and most important is social support. It is not uncommon for people to feel lonely when in problems. Pain can make us feel alone and complicate our ability to seek help. A group helps one to discover that they are not alone, that others have got it worse, and that things can get better. Just listening to others bravely share their struggles and triumphs in their recovery journey can be a source of hope. By extension, a group fosters connection and a sense of belonging.
Self-awareness is another benefit of group therapy. Group members act as a reflection and feedback mechanism. One gets to see themselves through the eyes of others in an empowering way. For instance, one may be unable to see how their communication style lacks assertiveness from friends, colleagues, or family members but learn this valuable feedback from a group member’s feedback.
The interaction that comes with group therapy can help promote social skills. Having a place where listening to others comes without interruption and equally being listened to validly can help us gain valuable social skills. This experience can also help one realize they can get along with other people with different opinions, experiences, and points of view from our own.
A group can be a rich source of different perspectives on our problems while cost effective. Group therapy has the double advantage of being less expensive than individual therapy and effective in exposing one to multiple resources of coping skills and tools for our problems.
Group therapy is definitely a resource that can benefit many people seeking help with a variety of problems. The group therapy experience can be a safe place where one can feel a sense of belonging in their recovery journey and experience support in a way individual therapy cannot. The next time you visit your therapist or are inquiring about therapy find out about group therapy and explore joining one.
At CBT Kenya, we have friendly yet professional psychologists who are ready to have a talk with you. We encourage you to find out more about our services. We welcome any questions. Any questions related to psychotherapy, counselling, and psychology services are welcomed. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or firstname.lastname@example.org