Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. Group therapy is sometimes used alone, but it is also commonly integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes individual therapy and medication.
The Principles of Group Therapy
- The instillation of hope: Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
- Universality: Being in a group of people experiencing the same things helps people see that what they are going through is universal and that they are not alone.
- Imparting information: Group members are able to help each other by sharing information.
- The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. They can also learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in their real life.
- Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
- Altruism: Group members are able to share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
- Imitative behavior: Individuals can model the behavior of other members of the group or observe and imitate the behavior of the therapist.
- Interpersonal learning: By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and the therapist, each individual can gain a greater understanding of himself or herself.
- Group cohesiveness: Because the group is united in a common goal, members gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
- Catharsis: Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt or stress.
- Existential factors: While working within a group offers support and guidance, group therapy helps member realize that they are responsible for their own lives, action and choices.
The Effectiveness of Group Therapy
Group therapy can be very effective, especially in certain situations like depression and traumatic stress
The advantages of group therapy:
Group therapy allows people to receive the support and encouragement of the other members of the group. When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members, they usually recreate those difficulties that brought them to group therapy in the first place. People participating in the group are able to see that there are others going through the same thing, which can help them feel less alone.
Group members can serve as role models to other members of the group. By seeing someone who is successfully coping with a problem, other members of the group can see that there is hope and recovery is possible. As each person progresses, they can, in turn, serve as a role model and support figure for others.
During group therapy, people begin to see that they are not alone and that there is hope and help.
Group therapy is very cost effective. Instead of focusing on just one client at a time, the therapist can devote his or her time to a much larger group of people.
Group therapy offers a safe haven. The setting allows people to practice behaviors and actions within the safety and security of the group.
By working in a group, the therapist can see first-hand how each person responds to other people and behaves in social situations. Using this information, the therapist can provide valuable feedback to each client.
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