There are times in our lives when we face tragedy or need support to help us through obstacles that lie ahead. Family can be an excellent source of guidance and support, but sometimes you need more than that: someone who has experienced what you are going through and understands how you are feeling. Group therapy provides a safe environment to share your experiences with other people with similar concerns. The most important thing is to realize that you are not alone and there are other people facing your same challenges.
More Feedback Group therapy allows you to receive more feedback from not only a trained professional, but also other individuals who may have already experienced dilemmas or shared your same concerns. This can provide guidance for any current hardships and also offer insights to possible difficulties that may lie ahead. When you receive feedback from a variety of perspectives, it helps to promote both growth and change by allowing you to step outside yourself and see the big picture.
When you share your concerns, someone with a different, more objective outlook may be able to suggest new ways to deal with a particular problem. A group environment allows you to be an observer and see how other people handle similar problems. Oftentimes, new patients learn a variety of new coping methods and behaviors to deal with their specific problem. You can learn from the example of others and apply their approaches until you find one that works for you.
Limited Finances While individual therapy can be extremely beneficial and help to specifically address your concerns, it is not always financially feasible. Private Sessions can be extremely costly and may not be covered by your insurance. If you are part of a larger group, the therapist can lower his or her usual fees since there are multiple patients receiving treatment. On average, group therapy is approximately one-third the cost of individual sessions.
Social Skills Being a member of a group in therapy can often help develop better social skills and help you relate to others more effectively. Many people are reserved and uncomfortable when they first join group therapy since you must share your feelings and experiences with strangers. However, new members quickly realize that everything said in group therapy is kept confidential and the other members are dealing with the same concerns or may have already faced similar circumstances.
Even if this is not the primary focus of your group sessions, the therapist often teaches people new methods of communication to clearly voice their concerns and address their problems. Since the group’s dynamic and personalities often reflect those in general society, it can also help you to interact with people outside the group and build stronger relationships.
Are you a candidate? Support groups and family counseling can help a variety of people who need psychological or counseling services. There are specific groups that help people cope with a myriad of problems including depression, addiction, chronic illness, loss, and family problems. Other members are often coping with the same problems or are helping family members through their trials. Group members come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Everyone faces personal tragedy and afflictions, but you are not alone; there are many people that are ready to help you cope. Sometimes, the most difficult part is simply asking for help.
Written by Richard Hoffman. Richard is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a member of The American Association of Christian Counselors and a Board Certified Christian Counselor.