4 Benefits of Attending Group Therapy
Group therapy is just one of many options for people who need mental, emotional, or behavioral health services. In these sessions, one (sometimes two) counselors guide a group of clients who have similar symptoms or struggles. Perhaps the most visible example of this setup is Alcoholics Anonymous, but group therapy helps people with a wide variety of struggles–not just addiction.
Depending on a person’s unique situation, he or she may use group therapy as one part of a comprehensive treatment plan or as the only treatment necessary. No matter how large of a role group therapy plays, it offers unique benefits to all kinds of participants.
1) Less Costly Than Other Options
The benefit that often draws people into group therapy is its relatively low cost. When people don’t have insurance that covers behavioral health, group sessions can be an affordable alternative to individual therapy. After all, therapists can split the costs of their services by the number of clients in the group. Better yet, some counselors offer their groups pro bono.
However, group counseling is not lesser than individual therapy. Instead, clients should understand that group therapy is a completely different exercise. While it may not offer the anonymity and individualization of personal therapy, group counseling offers other unique benefits that clients can’t find in one-on-one sessions.
2) Get to Know People Who Understand You
Group therapy sessions typically bring together people with similar backgrounds. For example, they could all struggle with the same disorder, or all the participants could be experiencing grief. Although the other people in the room are strangers, you can share a deep connection with them by knowing they have been where you are.
Talking to people in the same boat can give you several mental health benefits, including:
- Proof that you are not alone–relief from feelings of isolation
- Expressing your feelings to people who truly get it
- Learning from one another’s experiences
In some cases, people in the group may have been participating for longer, and they could be further along in their recovery. This can serve as a beacon of hope in dark times and as proof that you can survive what you’re going through.
3) Learn to Talk About Hard Subjects
Group therapy sessions often involve people struggling with difficult parts of life. Participants may talk about things like death, abuse, dark thoughts they have, or parts of their past for which they are ashamed. Many people struggle to talk about these things to anyone, even their closest loved ones.
However, participating in group therapy teaches people that they will survive talking about these things, and that opening up can even help them thrive. People also learn the words they need to describe certain aspects of their feelings. Simply being able to name difficult feelings can help participants break through barriers. This essential skill can help people long after group therapy in all aspects of their lives.
4) Experience Having a Safe Place
In an ideal world, everyone would have safe environments in which they could express their feelings. They would all have families and friends who listen and allow healthy emotional expression. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. At LifeStance Health, we see many people start group therapy without ever knowing a support system before.
At first, having this safe group can feel uncomfortable if you have never experienced it before. However, the more time you spend in group therapy, the more you will come to understand the importance of a support system. In a safe group, people can heal and grow.
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of group therapy, contact LifeStance Health today. We can help you find a group session that meets your needs.