Understanding The Benefits Of Group Therapy
Updated January 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Can group therapy work for you? Is it the better way to go instead of individual therapy? Well, there's only one way to find out really, and that's to understand each type of therapy better and look at how they're going to work with the specific situation that you find yourself in. Once you're able to decide that you'll be better prepared for the benefits and drawbacks of each option, you and your therapist will be better able to decide which way is going to work out best for you specifically.
Benefits Of Group Therapy
If you're in a group therapy setting, that means that you're going to have therapy with other people who are suffering from similar conditions or going through similar traumas. This can be a great benefit because it helps you to understand that you're not alone. Other people are also going through a loss or dealing with addiction or depression or anything else that you might be experiencing. Knowing that you're not alone in your struggles and even in your setbacks is a great way to continue having the motivation and drive to seek out help, even if you make a mistake or 'slip up.'
Group therapy also gives each of you a chance to help each other. If you're a little further along on your depression recovery, you could help others who are just getting started. You may be able to talk to them about your path and how hard it was for you or even what made it easier. You can also talk about how you got through similar situations to what they are experiencing. You'll also be able to get similar help for yourself, from other people who have been where you are and have made it past that point.
With this type of therapy, you can also see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. By looking at members of the group who are further than you or even that are close to having the life that you want to have someday you can recognize that this is not the end for you and that you can fight your way through as well. You can get to where they are because they've already done it and they're going to show you the way that it works.
Another nice aspect of group therapy is having someone to celebrate with you. Telling your family that you've made it to 6 months sober is likely to get you a smile and congrats, and that's about it. But telling the people in your group is a bigger milestone. These are people who understand everything you've gone through to make it to that point, and they understand how amazing this is for you. It can help you get more motivation to continue and to feel like you're doing something great for yourself and your future.
Benefits Of Individual Therapy
With this type of therapy, you're going to have the undivided attention of your therapist. That means if you have a rough time you don't have to compete with other people in the group to get the floor. You don't have to try and get the attention of your therapist, and you don't have to worry about whether they're going to pick up on some of the more subtle signs that you might be showing that something is going on. They're going to be paying attention to only you, which can help you feel more connected and open.
Some people have difficulty opening up around others and just speaking to a therapist about what you're going through can be difficult enough. That's when having individual therapy can be a benefit. If you're not going to open up and talk to the other people in your group, it's likely not going to help you to be there. You need to talk about yourself and your struggles and hurdles to achieving all of the other benefits that you're going to have other types of therapy.
Finally, you can talk about whatever you want to talk about in individual therapy. That means if today you want to talk about your depression and your next session you want to talk about a loss you experienced you can do that. Your sessions don't need to be focused on any one specific trauma or situation that you're experiencing. Group sessions are usually focused around one shared difficulty, but an individual session is just focused around you. You can talk about anything that you want and get the help that you need from your therapist in these types of sessions.
Getting Personal Help
Only you can decide if group therapy or individual therapy is going to be the best way for you to go. If you're going to be comfortable in a group setting it may be a good thing because of all the benefits we've talked about, but if you're not going to be comfortable, it's best to continue with individual sessions. Your therapist is also a good resource to find out more about group vs. individual sessions. They may be able to help you understand why it's a good or not so good idea for you personally, so you can focus on overcoming your obstacles.
If you are looking for a therapist, however, make sure that you're looking at all of the options, even the newer ones. MyTherapist is a great way that you can get the health benefits and mental health treatment that you're looking for, and it doesn't even require you to go into an office. Instead, you can just log on to the website and set up your appointments there. When you're ready to have that appointment, you just log on again, and you can talk to your therapist directly through your computer and your internet connection, which definitely makes it easier to get through.