Group Therapy

What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists work with a group of individuals simultaneously. It involves bringing together a group of people who are experiencing similar difficulties or challenges, and who can benefit from sharing their experiences, thoughts, and feelings with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

Group therapy sessions are usually structured and may involve a range of therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, or interpersonal therapy, depending on the needs and goals of the group members.

Group therapy can be used to treat a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also be helpful for individuals who are struggling with relationship issues, grief, and loss, or who simply want to improve their social skills and increase their sense of connection and community.

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How does Group Therapy work?

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Group therapy can take many different forms, depending on the needs and goals of the group members and the therapeutic approach being used. Here are some common features of group therapy:

  1. Group Size: Groups typically consist of 5-12 individuals, but can be larger or smaller depending on the nature of the group and the goals of therapy.
  2. Session Duration: Group therapy sessions typically last for 60-90 minutes, and may be held weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  3. Therapist Role: The therapist(s) may lead the group and facilitate discussion, or may take a more hands-off approach and allow group members to take a more active role.
  4. Group Dynamics: The interactions between group members can be an important aspect of group therapy. Group members may offer each other support, feedback, and perspective, and may learn from each other's experiences and perspectives.
  5. Activities: Depending on the approach being used, group therapy may involve a range of activities such as role-playing, journaling, art therapy, or mindfulness exercises.
  6. Confidentiality: Group therapy sessions are confidential, and group members are typically asked to agree to maintain the privacy of other group members outside of therapy.

What does a Group Therapy session look like?

A typical group therapy session may follow a structured format, depending on the therapeutic approach being used and the goals of the group. Here is a general overview of what a group therapy session might look like:

  1. Welcome and Check-in: The therapist(s) will typically start the session by welcoming everyone to the group and inviting each member to check-in by sharing how they are feeling and any updates they may have since the last session.
  2. Topic or Focus: Depending on the therapeutic approach being used, the therapist(s) may introduce a topic or focus for the session, such as a particular issue or challenge that group members may be struggling with.
  3. Discussion and Sharing: Group members will then have the opportunity to discuss and share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to the topic or focus. The therapist(s) may encourage members to offer feedback, support, and validation to each other.
  4. Activities or Exercises: Depending on the approach being used, the therapist(s) may introduce activities or exercises designed to help group members explore the topic or focus in more depth, develop new coping skills or perspectives, or build connections with other group members.
  5. Wrap-up and Closure: The therapist(s) will typically end the session by summarizing the key points discussed and inviting members to reflect on their experience in the group. They may also provide any relevant resources or homework for members to work on between sessions.

What are common types of Group Therapy?

There are many different types of group therapy, each with its own approach and focus. Here are some common types of group therapy:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) groups: These groups focus on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or addiction.
  2. Support groups: These groups provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals who are coping with a particular issue or challenge, such as grief, addiction recovery, or chronic illness.
  3. Psychoeducational groups: These groups focus on providing education and information on a particular topic, such as stress management, anger management, or communication skills.
  4. Interpersonal process groups: These groups focus on exploring how individuals relate to each other in a therapeutic setting, and can be helpful for individuals who struggle with relationships or social skills.
  5. Mindfulness-based groups: These groups focus on developing mindfulness skills, such as meditation and relaxation techniques, to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
  6. Art therapy groups: These groups use creative expression, such as painting or drawing, as a way to explore emotions, reduce stress, and enhance self-awareness.
  7. Recreation Therapy groups: These groups promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They focus on goals like improving social skills, reducing anxiety and depression, or trusting adult caregivers.
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Group therapy can be a helpful and effective form of treatment for a wide range of mental health issues. The type of group therapy that is most appropriate will depend on the individual's specific needs and goals for therapy.

Resources:

If you have a teenage daughter who is struggling with mental health issues, behavioral problems, or addiction, taking the online assessment offered by Havenwood Academy could be an important first step towards getting her the help she needs. Havenwood Academy is a leading provider of group therapy and other treatment options for adolescent girls, offering a safe and supportive environment where young women can heal and grow.

References

Shapiro, F. (2014). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: Addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. The Permanente journal. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951033/

Valiente-Gómez, A., Moreno-Alcázar, A., Treen, D., Cedrón, C., Colom, F., Pérez, V., & Amann, B. L. (2017, September 26). EMDR BEYOND PTSD: A systematic literature review. Frontiers in psychology. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5623122/