Fundamentals of Group Therapy and Counseling
Group therapy is well established as an effective method for problem solving, personal growth and recovery, and many types of counseling groups are used successfully today. The nature of these groups is closely aligned with human nature, and their powerful dynamics are uniquely able to achieve results that traditional counseling therapies often cannot.
The Power of Group Dynamics
Group dynamics, the processes that occur when an alliance of people come together to form an interactive system, are highly complex. With assistance from a trained and experienced leader, members form a group that can be significantly more powerful than the sum of its parts. The group offers the opportunity for multiple relationships to develop and for members to view how others cope with similar problems. This in turn creates hope and inspiration among members and frequently leads to the establishment of lifelong friendships and support systems.
Types of Therapeutic or Counseling Groups
All therapeutic groups can be broken down into four basic categories, each with a specific purpose. The first type, task groups, are established to accomplish a specific purpose (typically personal change), using a minimized focus on group dynamics. Developmental groups focus on a specific topic and use interactive dynamics to teach members a skill such as stress management or communications. Counseling groups are dependent on group dynamics for helping members learn to grow or live up to their potential. Finally, therapy groups are the most intensive form, highly dependent on group dynamics and devoted to intervention for psychological problems or disorders.
Groups Provide Unique Benefits
Almost a dozen curative factors of group intervention have been identified, which represent the primary agents of the changes they can achieve. Among those, the instillation of hope is crucial for helping members develop coping strategies. Improved social skills are another agent of change, especially in the case of children and teenagers. Catharsis, the release of emotions, is a powerful agent of change for young people as well. The imparting of information is extremely beneficial, especially in the form of sharing among members. When group members have the opportunity to realize how much they have in common with others, they become open to learning, listening and making the changes necessary for healing.
At Havenwood Academy, a residential treatment program for girls and young women, group interventions are an important pillar of treatment programs. Useful for helping a variety of emotional and psychological challenges, this proven approach allows students to shed old beliefs and behaviors, paving the way for healing and hope. Contact Havenwood today to learn more about their approach to group therapy.
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