One of several specialized services we offer at Lighthouse Health is group therapy. While some patients feel more comfortable one-on-one with a therapist, there are many benefits and advantages to participating in group therapy that you may not have thought of. If you’re new to any type of therapy and are interested in learning more about the options available, you will probably want to be informed on them all. Here we will discuss five benefits to group therapy that will help you make your decision.
Group Therapy Helps you Realize You’re not Alone
The biggest benefit of group therapy is the support it provides when you realize that you are not alone in what you’re going through. If you’ve ever experienced anything from a traumatic event to a breakup or even a health issue, you know that it provides a sense of relief to discover that there are others who have been there and who are going through it as well. Many times it helps to talk to someone who has experienced the issue and has overcome it or vastly improved and can help you work through it. Human beings crave camaraderie, and it is always beneficial to find a companion who has been in the trenches where you are and can relate. When you meet and talk with people in group therapy, it also helps you to move past that isolated feeling and get used to engaging with others and practice your social skills. This helps to ease you back into the population, which in turn promotes healing.
Group Therapy Provides a Safe Place to Share without Judgment
When you are in a group therapy session, you have no need to feel worried about sharing or letting your feelings out, since everyone in the group is going through the same or similar things as you. While it may take some time getting used to sharing in a group, you will find yourself getting more and more comfortable with each session as others share and as you realize that no one is there to judge you. Everyone is in the same boat, and no one wants to be judged. The more each person is willing to share, the more the entire group will feel comfortable and each person can help the others make progress.
Group Therapy Teaches you About Yourself
When you participate in group therapy, you are able to learn a lot about yourself as you talk with others who are having similar experiences. When you learn about their issues, you learn about yours as well, which allows you to see yourself through others’ eyes and view your own issues more clearly. Seeing similar issues in other people can help you to move forward and more readily overcome your own. Sometimes people have blind spots when it comes to seeing themselves or dealing with their issues, and viewing yourself through the eyes of others gives you a clearer perspective. It allows you to see the issues as others see them and helps to remove the roadblocks to moving past them.
Group Therapy Provides Encouragement, Hope, and Motivation
When you attend group therapy, you are able to both give and receive encouragement. Not only can meeting others with similar experiences give you hope for your own future, it shows you that your issues can be overcome. Even if a member of the group doesn’t have exactly the same issue, when you hear stories of people pushing through and growing and improving, it automatically gives you and the other group members hope and motivation that you can and will get there too. At the same time, your progress and encouragement will help others grow, and it becomes a support cycle that is beneficial to all involved.
Group Therapy Allows you to Hold Each other Accountable and Provide Feedback
Participating in group therapy gives members a chance to bounce ideas off of each other and give each other feedback. Just as it is a safe place to share with each other, group therapy is a safe place to give each other feedback as a sounding board and to hold each other accountable in a non-judgmental environment. It’s always easier to cut corners in your treatment or maybe skip a step to progress when no one else is looking and you only have yourself to answer to. But when you are part of a group, you already know that there are several people who know your situation and will want to hear your progress, so it will inspire you to do more and be better. Just the presence of others and the regularity of group meetings help to get you on a steady schedule of progress and working toward your goal, and the accountability and feedback group members provide each other helps everyone in the group to grow and learn, progressing and improving together and individually.
As you can see, group therapy has several benefits that are specific to the therapy style. One-on-one therapy is certainly beneficial and helpful in many ways, but group therapy provides a unique dynamic with numerous benefits that can help any type of issue. An added bonus of group therapy is that it is generally less costly than regular therapy since the cost is shared by several people. So keep that in mind when considering group therapy if cost is a factor; it may give you or someone you know an opportunity to participate in therapy when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Regardless, group therapy is an excellent option for anyone seeking a therapeutic environment.