Above view of counseling during group therapy

Group Therapy

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Group therapy at Centres for Health and Healing

Our trained therapists deliver group therapy sessions at Centres for Health and Healing in various formats.

Based on daily schedules, these sessions are held with between 5–10 clients throughout the day.

Here, we will explain group therapy, including some key benefits and when to seek treatment for a mental health condition.

Advantages of group therapy

At Centres for Health and Healing, we specially designed our group therapy program to help enhance self-awareness and insight through the shared experiences and openness of all group members.

These include therapeutic themes, specialised topic groups, stimulating educational lectures, and supportive formats where personal processing is encouraged.

Confidentiality is pivotal in all our treatments, including objectivity and a non-judgmental approach.

Therapeutic approaches used in group therapy

Our group therapy sessions include the following:

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is a highly effective and valuable form of psychotherapy where one or more trained therapists work with several people simultaneously.

A safe space where you can talk things out can make all the difference to your recovery during treatment and beyond.

Group therapy gives people a safe, supportive environment where they feel seen, heard, and acknowledged – it can also help if you want to make significant life changes or manage a mental health condition.

Please speak to one of our mental health specialists to learn more about our group therapy program.

Group therapy sessions

Our group therapy sessions typically contain 5–12 participants and can include therapy for a wide range of issues, including: 

Group therapy can be used as a standalone treatment.

However, it is more common to find this therapy integrated into broader treatment plans that include one-on-one therapy sessions, medication, and other types of care.

Understanding group therapy

Unlike individual therapy sessions, group therapy offers people the opportunity to interact with others experiencing similar issues in a safe, supportive environment.

Studies show that giving and receiving support helps boost our mental health, and group therapy is an excellent way to do this.

Why giving and receiving support feels so good

Imagine a time in your life when you helped out a person in need and how good that felt, and you may get an idea of a group therapy environment.

When you feel good about helping others (or feel heard and supported yourself), your brain releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine into your body.

All from giving (and receiving) support from others!

The importance of a group dynamic

Group therapy can be highly beneficial as it provides opportunities to:

  • Talk honestly and openly about your feelings and experiences
  • Gain insight into personal thoughts, feelings, and behaviours 
  • Gain an understanding of other people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours
  • Experiment with new interpersonal behaviours
  • Improve self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Give and receive support and feedback

Group process

How sessions are organised depends largely on the goals of the group and the therapists’ approach.

Some therapists work with a specific plan and lead the group. At the same time, other therapists use a more flexible method, where group members guide the sessions and contribute as they wish.

Group discussion and confidentiality

Whichever method is used, any conversations or personal disclosures discussed during group therapy sessions are always confidential and never repeated outside of the group.

Group therapy sessions typically run once or twice a week, lasting around 1–2 hours each.

These meetings can be run for a fixed number of weeks. However, a full year of sessions is more common.

Are there different types of group therapy?

There are different types of group therapy, which can be split into two categories:

1. Process-oriented approach

Process-oriented groups tend to focus on experience, sharing, and cultivating connections. 

Discussion among the group members dominates this group therapy approach rather than a set agenda led by a therapist. 

2. Psychoeducational approach

Psychoeducational groups are designed to provide members with the information they need to address or cope with the problems that brought them to the group.

These groups are typically structured and facilitated by a group therapist, with specific topics or modules to cover. In addition, groups can be further broken down by discussion topics, including the structure of the group itself.

Types

The most common types of therapy groups include:

  • Cognitive therapy groups
  • Dynamic group therapy
  • Self-help groups
  • Medication groups
  • Interpersonal therapy groups
  • Encounter groups
  • Psychodrama groups
  • Network therapy groups

There is a wide range of other group therapy types with techniques adapted to meet the needs of group members and individual treatment goals.

These include an increasing number of specialised therapy groups to support specific populations, such as:

  • Female only
  • Adolescents
  • LGBTQ+ community members
  • The elderly

Positive lifestyle changes

Group therapy provides excellent opportunities for you to address problems and make positive, lasting changes while providing a valuable and trusted source of community support.

Many people find it helpful to engage in both individual and group therapy sessions. In addition, participating in both is shown to increase the chances of making significant, lasting changes.

If you are ready to make positive changes, speak to one of our friendly specialists about our group therapy treatment.

What are group therapy guidelines and rules?

The general guidelines and rules are the same in any group therapy you engage in; these guidelines are put in place to ensure the group’s safety and can help manage the effective delivery of all treatments.

Specialist groups may have additional rules.

However, five essential core guidelines ensure group therapy success and safety for all. These include:

  1. Commitment to attendance
  2. Maintaining confidentiality
  3. Participation
  4. Communicating with words, not actions
  5. No socialising with group members outside therapy sessions

What are the benefits of group therapy?

Studies show that people who participate in group therapy settings make significant improvements from a combination of their interactions with other group members and the therapist’s interventions.

While a group format cannot provide the same one-on-one attention as individual therapy, it still offers various significant benefits, including:

1. Support and connection

While each individual is unique and has their own experiences and perceptions, group settings allow participants to recognise they are not alone in their struggle.

Being around others going through similar experiences can help you feel less isolated and more connected.

Moreover, listening to others share their experiences while receiving support may give you the confidence to open up and be more vulnerable.

2. Group members serving as role models

Participants in a group setting learn various skills and strategies that help improve their mental health, coping abilities, and overall well-being.

These skills include:

  • Confidence building
  • Adopting healthier coping methods
  • Making positive changes and recognising there is always hope for recovery

Being in the presence of other members who have overcome similar challenges can be immensely cathartic. 

It may motivate you to make significant decisions and positive life transitions.

As each group member progresses, they can, in turn, become role models to serve and inspire others. 

3. It provides a safe environment.

Group therapy offers participants a safe space to discuss a specific mental health concern or challenge while experimenting with new behaviours and actions in a supportive community.

This mental health treatment can also provide a safety net between sessions, helping you feel less isolated and more empowered.

Knowing that you can report to the group each week with people who understand, are willing to offer support, and care about you, can help you find new levels of self-confidence and belief.

4. Group therapy offers a community environment, combating isolation.

A recent Harvard study showed that happiness is primarily determined by the health of a person’s relationships.

Listening to others, talking about problems, and giving and receiving encouragement and support – in a healthy ‘community’ setting – can significantly reduce feelings of isolation and help support recovery.

After all, recovery is a collective process, and we need to draw on the support, connection, and resources of others to help us heal effectively.

5. It helps people foster new insights.

The American Psychological Association lists a significant benefit of group therapy: diversity. 

The diversity of a group setting with various perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, and personalities can offer each member a unique view of the world.

This can help you discover new strategies by reframing your experiences and challenges, thus viewing them from a more empowering stance.

Hearing others speak about their experiences and struggles with deep experiential knowledge can have a profoundly positive effect on group members since it provides insights and strategies that a therapist may not be able to offer. 

6. It helps improve interpersonal skills.

While it might not be group therapy’s main focus, participants learn to communicate more clearly and effectively within a group setting under the guidance of a therapist.

In addition, members observe how others relate to each other, allowing them to do the same.

Other skills learned in group therapy include interpersonal skills, which can be practised in the safety of the group (and eventually away from the group) and rebuilding and strengthening all relationships.

Is group therapy effective?

While some treatments are more suitable for specific mental health conditions that need to be addressed individually, a review of the research literature on group and individual therapies found both treatments are equally effective.

Depending on your condition and various other factors, attending group and individual therapy is proven most beneficial.

This approach to treatment offers you an opportunity to discuss issues or challenges you might be facing in more depth during group sessions in individual therapy, potentially leading to more significant progress in your recovery.

Please call us today to learn more about Centres for Health and Healing group therapy sessions and how they may benefit you.

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