Group therapy sessions cost much less than individual therapy. Depending on the problem, group therapy can be as effective as or even more effective than individual therapy. Group therapy is so effective because it involves a powerful tool for healing—a therapeutic social setting.
Social support is vital for our emotional health, as demonstrated by extensive research. Unfortunately, too many people lack sufficient social support, or experience conflicts with family, friends or loved ones. These problems increase stress, drain energy and challenge one’s ability to cope.
While individual therapy can provide important help in addressing social or relationship issues, group therapy offers additional and unique opportunities for growth. In group therapy, participants get real-time experience practicing skills that enhance relationships, such as assertiveness, empathetic listening, honest communication, and improved awareness of one’s automatic reactions to others. It is this last factor—awareness of automatic reactions to others—that has particular importance in building healthy relationships. Many people go on “autopilot” in their perception of others, jumping to conclusions about others’ intentions and causing unnecessary stress or conflict. Over time, group participants learn to be more aware of their automatic reactions and develop the ability to perceive others in a healthier, more balanced manner. Consequently, group members experience more interpersonal comfort, as well as improved communication.
Another benefit of group therapy is that each participant realizes that he or she is not the only one struggling with painful emotions or challenging life problems. A sense of empathy and camaraderie develops, which decreases shame and increases resiliency.
Because of the unique benefits of group therapy, it is often used in conjunction with individual therapy.
We interview potential group participants before they are invited to join a group. Group members make a commitment to maintain confidentiality about all information shared in the group. Further, group members do not share their last names (this is an additional assurance of confidentiality).
Resources about group therapy:
NPR Interview about Group Therapy
Considering Psychotherapy? Group Therapy Is Sometimes Better Than the Traditional Approach
Overview of Group Therapy