Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time.
Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. This type of therapy is widely available at a variety of locations including private therapeutic practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, and community centers. Group therapy is sometimes used alone, but it is also commonly integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes individual therapy and medication.
The Principles of Group Therapy
In The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, Irvin D. Yalom outlines the key therapeutic principles that have been derived from self-reports from individuals who have been involved in the group therapy process:
The instillation of hope: The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
Universality: Being part of a group of people who have the same experiences helps people see that what they are going through is universal and that they are not alone.
Imparting information: Group members can help each other by sharing information.
Altruism: Group members can share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. Within the group, each member can explore how childhood experiences contributed to personality and behaviors. They can also learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in real life.
Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
Imitative behavior: Individuals can model the behavior of other members of the group or observe and imitate the behavior of the therapist.
Interpersonal learning: By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and the therapist, members of the group can gain a greater understanding of themselves.
Group cohesiveness: Because the group is united in a common goal, members gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Catharsis: Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt, or stress.
Existential factors: While working within a group offers support and guidance, group therapy helps member realize that they are responsible for their own lives, actions, and choices.