All humans go through some type of struggle. It’s inevitable, and it defines our species. We are tribalistic at heart and consistently want to be understood. We also desire being surrounded by people who are like us. Group therapy is a modern-day tribe that provides protection, perspective, support, and acceptance for all. Being in an environment where you can talk about your struggles with peers who understand, provide advice, and give you a shoulder to cry on can be immensely helpful in your journey.
It’s normal to want to spend time with other people who are most like us or can relate to what we are going through. It’s important to prep yourself for group therapy and go in with an open mindset so that you can get the maximum benefit from each session. You will likely develop close bonds with the people who attend with you regularly, and there is a great deal of trust that comes with group therapy.
This type of psychotherapy is designed to engulf you in support and perspective from your group that can translate into everyday life and strengthen your relationships. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, there are many benefits that you can gain from attending group therapy sessions.
Bringing an issue that has been a burden on you or your life to a group of people who may have gone through something similar is a great way to learn how to deal with that issue. The individuals who are part of your group therapy can give you advice on how to handle the situation, how to act, or what to do next. It’s a wonderful support system for people who benefit from a community-based therapy environment. Having a group of individuals who you can gain some insight from is an effective way to find new and different coping mechanisms while dealing with the issue at hand.
It’s no secret that many of us find it difficult to navigate emotions, situations, and experiences in our day-to-day lives. Coming to a group therapy session and leaning on your peers for support and strength to get through a particular situation or making sure that you handled a certain predicament in a healthy way can help you make great progress. Having a group of people who you meet with regularly to form bonds and friendships with can also be a wonderful outlet. The goal is to find supportive individuals and group leaders who focus on coping strategies that can benefit everyone involved.
Feeling like you’re out of place or different does not help an individual grow or learn from mistakes and trauma. Joining a group of people who understand you and what you’re going through can be life-changing for those who have never felt unconditionally accepted. It’s important to note that you should accept all others who enter the group as well to reap the mutual benefit.
Group therapy is also a way to become comfortable interacting with other individuals and developing your own voice. Being able to navigate how you feel about certain situations and people, but also how you feel about yourself when conversing with others, is what group therapy teaches you to do. There is a common misconception about group therapy — that people take turns having individual therapy with the counselor while everyone else. This is absolutely not the case. Think of group therapy like a specialized classroom that gives you the life skills and coping tools you need to successfully manage your condition.
What Does Research Say?
Research studies continue to confirm the positive benefits of group therapy. In one study of people who were experiencing anxiety and/or depression, researchers found a direct correlation between group therapy with a significant other of the patient’s choosing (mother, father, sibling, significant other, etc.) and a reduction in anxiety. The patient’s skill set and overall recovery efforts also improved.
Depression can be effectively treated with both medication and psychotherapy, although the National Institute of Mental Health notes that psychotherapy is typically the best option for mild to moderate depression in adults — whether it’s administered one-on-one or in a group setting. In many cases, group therapy is less expensive than individual therapy, but still provides the same important benefits.
Group therapy can offer a safe space for everyone. The idea of attending group therapy may seem intimidating or nerve-racking at first, but it’s worth the opportunity to grow and learn how to cope with situations that are holding back. You might just make some lifelong friends as well.
Achieve Medical is a unique, multidisciplinary, private psychiatric and mental health practice. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions that affect children, adolescents, young adults, and adults. If you or a loved one is struggling, we are here for you. Working together, our team can help you achieve the happiness and success that you and your family deserve. To learn more about our comprehensive and compassionate mental health services, call us today at (858) 221-0344.