Group Therapy

What is Group Therapy​?

Group therapy is a form of therapy where multiple people come together and discuss their problems under the guidance of a therapist. It’s often used as a way to help people cope with a specific issue, such as trauma, anxiety, depression or grief. Groups may be formed with specific goals in mind, or they may be generalized, addressing a broad range of concerns. The idea is that the group members can support each other, learn from each other’s experiences, and work together towards healing and personal growth.

In other word, group therapy is a type of psychotherapy where a group of clients come together with one or two therapists to address their concerns collectively.

The primary goals of group therapy are to alleviate distress by openly discussing and expressing emotions, facilitate the transformation of unhelpful attitudes, behaviors, and habits, and encourage the development of constructive and adaptive coping mechanisms. Certain groups may also concentrate on providing members with targeted information or teaching practical coping skills.

Treatments

Schema group therapy sessions- module 1 “Schema Education” – 10 Sessions

Schema group therapy sessions- module 2 “Mode Management”
– 10 Sessions

Schema group therapy sessions- module 3 “Experiential”
– 10 Sessions

Schema group therapy sessions- module 4 “Healthy Adult Mode”
– 10 Sessions

Anxiety management sessions-based on CBT techniques
– 8 Sessions

Depression management sessions-based on CBT techniques
– 8 Sessions

Art therapy sessions (for trauma, PTSD, depression, and anxiety)
– 8 Sessions

Mindfulness sessions
– 10 Sessions

How does Group Therapy​ work?

Therapy groups typically consist of up to 12 members and gather for one to two hours per week. During the sessions, all participants, including the group leaders, arrange themselves in a way that allows everyone to see each other. The therapists oversee the group dynamics and provide structure to the sessions.

There are two types of therapy groups: open and closed. In an open group, individuals can join at any time, whereas a closed group has a predetermined start and end date.

These groups often revolve around a shared issue or concern. For instance, members may be facing specific mental health challenges like social anxiety, an eating disorder, or addiction. Alternatively, they may be coping with difficult life circumstances such as the loss of a loved one, parenting difficulties, or the impact of mental illness or suicide within their family.

Similar to other forms of psychotherapy, confidentiality is paramount in group therapy, although there are some exceptions. Participants are expected to uphold the privacy of fellow group members by refraining from disclosing their identities or discussing session content outside the therapy room. Additionally, it is generally understood that members should avoid socializing or contacting each other beyond the confines of the group.

“Is what I say to my therapist private and confidential?”

Yes, confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of therapy. Therapists are bound by ethical guidelines and legal obligations to maintain the privacy of their clients. What you share with your therapist is generally considered confidential unless there are specific circumstances where the therapist is required to breach confidentiality, such as if there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.

Creating a Respectful and Safe Environment in Group Therapy:

In group therapy, it is essential for the therapists to cultivate a respectful and safe environment where all members feel comfortable, free from harassment, and discrimination. This is an important part of their role in facilitating the group process.

Different Types of Group Therapy:

Group therapy encompasses various approaches depending on its specific goals. The two main types are process-oriented groups and psychoeducational groups.

Process-oriented groups focus on the interpersonal dynamics among group members. Although it can be challenging to open up in front of others, sharing experiences in a supportive group setting can lead to significant personal growth and change. Process groups may revolve around shared issues in members’ lives outside the group or focus solely on the interactions within the group itself. These groups are usually flexible in structure, with the agenda set by the group members. While therapists facilitate the discussion as needed, the emphasis is not solely on them. Process groups can be open-ended or time-limited, typically lasting at least six months.

Psychoeducational groups, on the other hand, prioritize sharing information on specific topics or teaching practical skills, such as anger management or cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques. In these groups, the relationships between members are not as central, although individuals may still benefit from connecting with others facing similar challenges. The therapist takes on a more active role as an instructor in psychoeducational groups. These groups are often time-limited and relatively short-term in nature.

Who can Group Therapy​ benefit?

Extensive research has demonstrated the effectiveness of group therapy, offering unique advantages that may not be attainable through individual psychotherapy alone. Group therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals who feel isolated in their struggles, as it provides opportunities for interaction with peers facing similar challenges. Additionally, group therapy tends to be more cost-effective compared to individual therapy.

Here are some key benefits associated with group therapy:

  1. Supportive and Accepting Environment: The group dynamic fosters a sense of support and acceptance among members, reducing feelings of stigma and isolation.

  2. Community and Diversity: Shared experiences among group members create a sense of community, while the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds within the group can inspire new ideas and approaches to coping with challenges.

  3. Safe Environment for Growth: The group setting offers a safe space for members to take social risks, experiment with new behaviors, and explore alternative ways of interacting with others.

  4. Learning from Others: Group members can draw hope and inspiration from those who have made progress in their journey, learning valuable strategies and techniques from individuals who are further along in their recovery.

  5. Improved Relationship Skills: Through group therapy, members gain insights into their own relational patterns and have the opportunity to make positive changes in how they relate to others.

  6. Therapist Feedback: Observing the group interactions provides therapists with valuable insights into how each member functions within a social context, enabling them to offer targeted feedback and guidance.

Overall, group therapy offers a dynamic and enriching environment that supports personal growth, interpersonal development, and the exploration of new coping strategies.

Schema group therapy sessions- module 1 “Schema Education” – 10 Sessions

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    Nastaran Ali Azizi REGISTERED PSYCHOTHERAPIST
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    Nastaran Ali Azizi
    Registered Psychotherapist by the college of Psychotherapists of Ontario

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