Group Therapy 101: Is It Right for You?
“There is no human deed or thought that lies fully outside the experience of other people.”
― Irvin D. Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy
What Is Group Therapy
Group counseling is a widely misunderstood and often underutilized tool. When people think of group therapy, they tend to think of Alcoholics Anonymous or grief support, but the reality is far more expansive. Research supports group therapy across a wide range of psychological concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and addiction.
What to Expect
In group counseling several people, usually three to ten, come together to support each other. Groups are typically facilitated by a credentialed leader or co-leaders and focus on a specific issue that brings members together. This can be anything from caregiver support to anorexia recovery to psychoeducational coping skills. With the rise of telehealth, niche therapy groups are more accessible than ever before. Groups offer a way for individuals to step outside their comfort zones, relate to one another, practice social skills and vulnerability within a safe space.
How Group Therapy Can Help
Being among others who relate to a difficult experience can be both empowering and comforting. Isolation can be both a contributing factor to and symptom of mental health struggles. Social support networks have been shown to help members feel less alone, creating a climate of hope and cohesiveness. Group members support one another, empathizing during painful moments and encouraging a spirit of camaraderie.
Group therapy is also a great option for those who would like to build interpersonal skills. Members can test new social techniques and receive real-time feedback from others regarding their social skills and how they are perceived by others. The successful dynamic of a group relies on a foundation of trust, honesty, and respect. Members agree to keep what is shared within the group private and will often collaborate to create a code of conduct for group interactions, so that members can feel safe expressing their true feelings and perceptions. What goes unsaid hurts the group more than what is said.
Groups also offer the advantage of more accessible rates. One might wonder: Since the cost is lower, does that mean the quality is lower? In short, no. Group therapy’s affordability is partly driven by the clients sharing their time with others in the therapeutic space. Having multiple participants, rather than one, also allows for clinical costs to be distributed. At NYCC, groups meet for a fixed amount of time, running anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the focus. For those who are weary of the open-ended time commitment of individual therapy, having a predetermined number of sessions can be comforting.
The following groups are currently being offered online at NYC Counseling: “Coping in COVID: Managing Anxiety,” “Inner Child Healing Group,” and “LGBTQ New Parents Support Group.” Please contact NYCC (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to join us. We’re looking forward to seeing you!