What is group therapy?
In group therapy approximately 6-10 individuals meet face-to-face with a trained group therapist. During the group meeting time, members decide what they want to talk about.
Members are encouraged to give feedback to others. Feedback includes expressing your own feelings about what someone says or does. Interaction between group members are highly encouraged and provides each person with an opportunity to try out new ways of behaving. It also provides members with an opportunity for learning more about the way they interact with others. It is a safe environment in which members work to establish a level of trust that allows them to talk personally and honestly. Group members make a commitment to the group and are instructed that the content of the group sessions are confidential. It is not appropriate for group members to disclose events of the group to an outside person.
Why is group therapy helpful?
1. When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members, they usually recreate those difficulties which brought them to group therapy in the the first place. Under the direction of the group therapist, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, and comfort members in such a way that these difficulties become resolved and alternative behaviors are learned.
2. The group also allows a person to develop new ways of relating to people.
3. During group therapy people begin to see that they are not alone and that there is hope and help. It is comforting to hear that other people have similar difficulties, or have already worked through a problem that deeply disturbs another group member.
4. Another reason for the success of group therapy is that people feel free to care about each other because we foster a climate of trust within the group.
As the group members begin to feel more comfortable, you will be able to speak freely. The psychological safety of the group will allow the expression of those feelings which are often difficult to express outside of group. You will begin to ask for the support you need. You will be encouraged to tell people what you expect of them.
In a group, you probably will be most helped and satisfied if you talk about your feelings. It is important to keep in mind that you are the one who determines how much you disclose in a group. You will not be forced to tell your deepest and innermost thoughts.