A Case for Group Therapy?
Although many clients feel as though their compromised emotional states are completely unique,
similarities do exist. Often, clients feel ashamed of their inner turmoil and seek out individual
therapy to work on a one-on-one basis and minimize the likelihood other swill know how much they
genuinely struggle. Individual therapy has significant benefits and is appropriate for almost
all forms of mental health treatment, however, group therapy can offer an unmatched and unique
form of healing, as individuals can understand they are truly not alone in their suffering.
Group therapy utilizes the power of healing through relationships in the present moment. As
thoughts and feeling occur, they are discussed, processed, and supported within the group dynamic.
Moreover, as individuals express themselves in a group, others gain a unique perspective on their
own issues. Many learn how respective issues similarly impact all aspects of life and which coping
strategies tend to help or hurt.
Routinely talking and listening to others under the leadership of a trained mental health
professional provides a diversity missed in individual therapy. Within a diverse group, individuals
are encouraged to find their voice, which includes identifying feelings, needs, and desires and
subsequently expressing them. When problems are voiced in a group setting, their weight and
intensity gradually decrease. Additionally, once issues are discussed openly with others, they come
to be more real and, in turn, become manageable.
Who benefits from groups?
According to the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, children and teenagers tend to
experience more benefits from group therapy compared to other forms of therapy. The group setting
gives the mental health professional a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of the social
issues and dynamics of young people. When facilitated appropriately, young people often leave the
group with increased social confidence, improved communication skills, constructive peer influences,
enhanced relationships, and a reduction in stress.
Adults suffering from depression and anxiety often find comfort and acceptance within a group setting.
Hearing others express how the darkness of depression can be all-consuming or the intensity of fear
associated with anxiety provides strength to move forward despite adversity.
Parenting groups offer significant support to parents who feel overwhelmed, defeated, and isolated.
There is no such thing as the perfect parent(s), so the group can help each parent master the
fundamentals, stay up-to-date on the latest research, learn how to connect, build confidence, and
cultivate a support system.
The benefits of group therapy are extensive, well documented, and applicable for several types of
issues and concerns, including but not limited to drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, chronic
pain sufferers, individuals struggling with of trauma, codependency, and many more.
By Amber Fasula, Psy.D., BCN