Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. The group setting is a place to work on individual issues with the support of group members as well as the therapist. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
The group process offers:
- The instillation of hope: The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. 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.
- Altruism: Group members are able to share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
- The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. Within the group, each member can explore how childhood experiences contributed to personality and behaviors. 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.
- 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 choice
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.