For instance, take work stress, or relationship difficulties, or for that matter dealing with parenthood, or managing peer pressure in adolescence – a lot of times, we are actually dealing with similar challenges and undergoing similar emotions. However, ironically, we tend to isolate ourselves in times of distress. We feel lonely, lost and that everybody else is better off than us. However, this might not be true. There are other people who probably are in as difficult a situation as you; only, they are also feeling as isolated and alone as you are.
Because our struggles are oftentimes similar, coming together in a group is a wonderful way for people facing similar difficulties to share what they are undergoing, support and truly understand each other and resolve these difficulties, with the help of counselors.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a format of psychotherapy where the counselor uses her expertise in psychology to help a group of people resolve difficulties that they commonly face. In addition to the counselor’s expertise, the dynamics and interaction between group members are important factors in the growth and change in each group member. During group therapy sessions, issues that are commonly faced by the group are chosen by the counselor for discussion. Alternatively, the group chooses issues they wish to work on. These issues are then taken up, discussed in detail, with perspectives from several group members. Across sessions, the counselor then helps the group understand these issues better and gain more clarity about underlying perceptions and thoughts. Also, techniques for dealing with the issues are discussed. The group attempts some specific interventions shared in each session and returns with their experiences and feedback in the next session.
Gradually, the group members gain a better understanding of themselves, attain a happier, more peaceful emotional state and feel better able to cope with the situation.
How Can I decide if I am ready for Group Therapy?
To help you understand whether individual psychotherapy, group therapy or a combination of the two would be most beneficial to you, a one to-one consultation session with the counselor is arranged as the initial step. In this session, the counselor will gain a detailed understanding of your situation. Accordingly, she will suggest what mode of therapy would help you. This session would also help you set your goals and discuss expectations from group therapy.
Who can benefit from Group Therapy?
Group therapy can be beneficial for all age groups and most emotional difficulties. Children, teenagers, couples or any group of people having similar concerns such as anxiety, mild depression etc can be benefited by group therapy.
What are some common issues dealt with in Group Therapy ?
For Couples: Understanding relationship problems better, dealing with individual issues that affect the relationship, healthier means of communication in a relationship, balancing expectations from the relationship and from the self, and developing better coping strategies for enhanced overall happiness in life.
For Parents: Understanding psychological needs of the child, handling the child’s behavior, communicating better with the child, dealing with one’s own anxiety as a parent
For Children: Developing social skills, understanding others’ communication, enhancing self-esteem, developing bonding skills such as sharing (Therapy with children often involves play as an important modality).
For Adolescents: Dealing with changes in the body, coping with increased academic pressure, peer pressure, managing the need to experiment, managing conflicts with parents, developing self esteem
For Young Adults: Dealing with career choices and anxiety, relationship problems, decisions about marriage, enhancing self belief, dealing with unresolved issues from childhood/adolescence
For Specific Emotional Difficulties: When groups are formed to address specific issues – such as excessive anxiety, depression, anger etc. sessions will involve aspects that are unique to each issue, the underlying causes and techniques for resolution.
As we develop group therapy programs at Inner Space, we will put them up here so that you can read through each and see if it would be of help to you:-
Image Credit: familymwr