Benefits of Group Therapy in Mental Health Treatment
Self-help groups are the new trend. You probably have friends in these groups where they share their experiences and provide insights. The idea may sound scary for some, but upon joining, the benefits are tremendous. Group therapy, apart from being affordable, will help you improve your social skills through constant interactions.
According to the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Association president Pattie Cox, anyone is in a position to reap the benefits of group therapy. The essential aspect is that they join the group that is right for them at the right time.
Self-help group sessions are held one or two times a week for a maximum of two hours. During those sessions, participants let out their issues by talking about themselves and their struggles in complete confidentiality. The group discusses the different issues, and through the group facilitator’s guidance, healing occurs.
Finding the Perfect Group
Before joining any support group, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it closed or open?
In an open group, you are free to join at any given time. In a closed one, you all begin and finish at a specified time.
- How many members does the group comprise of?
Smaller groups provide a lot of time to direct attention to every individual. Larger groups provide broader perspectives and greater diversity.
- How similar are the members?
Groups will work in the best manner if its participants have similar experiences to talk about.
- Will you need a supplement?
Most people find group therapy not enough and, therefore, choose to supplement it with individual psychotherapy. Participating in the two will improve your chances of making changes that last.
What Makes Group Therapy So Helpful?
It Provides Support
Through listening to other people share their problems, you will feel relieved as that sense of being alone will vanish. You will realize other people are going through the same difficulties as you, or even worse. You will start seeing yourself as more fortunate instead of questioning why such things had to happen to you.
It Provides New Perspectives and Insights
It is useful when people look at your actions from a different perspective. Sharing your opinions will help people look at your experience from different angles and suggest what they would have done in the same situation. This will give you new ideas and insights about your case. Even if you don’t fully agree with any of the advice you’ll get, hearing other people’s point of you can incredibly inspiring. After sharing and conversing with the group, you are bound to have a better understanding of your view of the matter, your needs, fears, and aspirations. These alone will help you manage the way you react to your problems and help you solve them.
It inspires you to do better
Hearing stories of how other participants were able to handle stress, divorce, addiction, etc. can be of inspiration to you. It poses a challenge to you, and you will also aspire to do better. According to clinical psychologist Ben Johnson, patients will always try harder when others are doing the same. Group therapy provides this motivation.
It Improves your Social Skills
With group therapy, you will no longer feel disassociated. Apart from providing for your mental health care, the sessions are a perfect opportunity to bond and make new acquaintances. You will learn how to get along with people and also tolerate the ones you dislike without ignoring your needs or being rude.
It Teaches you to Understand yourself
You will see yourself in every face in the group as you will relate to their revelations in one way or another. This will help gain a deeper understanding of yourself and identify the hurdles in your way that may be a hindrance to overcoming these problems.
Compared to making those numerous visits to your psychologist, group therapy is much cheaper, and the results are equally amazing.
It Improves Authenticity
Lots of people struggle with being authentic. We all tend to expose the good side of our lives and conceal the painful ones. With group therapy, you will practice talking honestly about yourself to a group, and this will go a long way to ensure you can do this in other relationships.
Many people are skeptical about the idea of group therapy and assume they won’t draw any benefits from it. But you know what they say, actual growth occurs outside of your comfort zone!
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