What is Group Therapy?
Group psychotherapy, like Individual therapy, can help with a wide range of emotional difficulties. It is however particularly suited to anyone wishing to gain insight and improve the way they relate to others. Being in a therapy group offers an opportunity to explore the types of interaction we may tend to get into with other people. It offers the chance to find out how we are seen by others through receiving feedback from the group. A therapy group can be seen as a microcosm of society. It can not only help us to learn how we relate to others, it can offer an opportunity to examine and understand the impact upon us of the relationships we have with each of the groups we find ourselves in such as our families, work, organisations and the wider community.
Group Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions
Is group therapy suitable for the difficulties I am facing?
Group Therapy can help people with a wide variety of difficulties and problems ranging from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or just feeling stuck. Groups are particularly helpful for addressing interpersonal difficulties with, for example, family members, friends, in intimate relationships and in social groups.
How might a group help me?
Many people find the group a source of support as they come to realise that they are not alone with their problems. People discover their strengths as they find they can help, as well as be helped, by others. Each group member can learn from the number of different perspectives and personal experiences available within the group. Over time, greater awareness of oneself and others develop through group interaction. All these things can provide the basis for long-term change in how one thinks, feels and behaves in life.
Group therapy sounds interesting but the idea scares me. Does this rule me out?
Not at all. The idea feels daunting to most people initially. Your individual appointment with the group therapist will help you work out whether your fears are likely to be overwhelming and whether they are balanced by some hope and interest in what a group can offer.
How is group therapy different from support groups and self-help groups?
Therapy groups are different from support and self-help groups in that they not only help people cope with their problems, but also provide for change and growth. Support groups help people cope with difficult situations at various times but are usually geared toward alleviating symptoms. Self-help groups usually focus on a particular shared symptom or situation and are usually not led by a trained therapist.
It’s hard to imagine what a group would be like. Can you give me an idea?
The groups meet weekly in the group therapy room. Each group meets for one-and-a-half hours. There are a maximum of eight people and a minimum of three people in each group, a mixture of men and women, with a variety of problems.
We sit together in a circle of chairs. There is no agenda or structure for each meeting. People do not take turns. Group members are encouraged to put into words their thoughts and feelings at their own pace. Usually common themes develop as one person’s issues will set off thoughts and ideas in others. The focus shifts between talking about particular problems outside the group, problems in the past, to interpersonal issues in relation to the group and between group members.
What is the group therapist’s role?
It is the responsibility of the therapist to ensure the safe and therapeutic facilitation of the group. The main focus is on building safety and trust in the group. The therapist will also help people work through difficulties with other members, which do occur from time to time. The group therapists role may be more active or may take more of a back seat depending on the needs of a particular group or individual.
I’m worried that I might meet someone I know in the group. Is that a problem?
The group therapist tries to ensure that group members do not know each other. Although group members often form close relationships during their time in the group, everyone makes a commitment not to develop friendships or intimate relationships outside the group while they are attending therapy. This is important for therapeutic safety, to avoid subgroups or breaching the confidentiality of the group setting, which is very important. However, inevitably members may bump into each other or see each other around and group members are encouraged to bring such incidents back to the group for discussion.
Are there any eligibility criteria?
Some problems are not suitable for group treatment, but its best to talk this through with a therapist or the group therapist.
What commitment is required from me?
Joining a group is a commitment, with members needing to take responsibility for attending the group each week and being on time. As sometimes happens in individual therapy, group therapy can be uncomfortable or challenging at times and sometimes leads to thoughts of dropping out or leaving. However, being able to talk about frustrations and stick with the group through such difficult times can be very beneficial
How do I go about joining a group and how much does it cost?
Each group therapy session costs £20 and the initial half hour meeting would be charged at £10.
If you are interested to find out more, please do get in touch.