Who Can Benefit From Group Therapy?
Therapy groups can be especially helpful if you’re struggling with interpersonal challenges — problematic patterns in relationships, difficulties communicating or getting your needs met, or having a hard time making satisfying connections with others.
Groups are also particularly helpful if you’re having difficulties related to your own personal identity or sense of self — insecurities, fears of judgment, or feeling less in touch with who you are.
Finally, therapy groups are also a good fit if you could use some additional social support or if you don’t have many opportunities to interact with others going through similar challenges. Learning from other people’s experiences and knowing that you’re not alone can be a major benefit of group therapy.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy provides powerful opportunities to explore interpersonal dynamics and develop insight into your interpersonal patterns — how you respond to others, and how these responses impact your relationships.
It also provides opportunities to receive social support and to experiment with new ways of responding and to receive valuable, constructive feedback about how others experience you.
Group therapy offers something unique over and above individual counseling or psychotherapy, and I’ve seen it serve as an important catalyst for transformation in many of my clients’ lives.
Group therapy is not just individual therapy done in a group format (watered down or — worse! — with an audience).
Likewise, therapy groups are not the same as support groups, although support is often an important element.
Rather, group therapy gives members unique opportunities to explore their own interpersonal patterns within the group context, try out new ways of being with others in the safety of the group, and receive constructive interpersonal feedback from their fellow group members about how they are experienced and how they impact others.
Members benefit from sharing openly and authentically in the group and being received with warmth and acceptance. By taking risks and sharing parts of themselves that they may normally keep hidden, they have opportunities to disconfirm their fears of how others will respond — freeing them up to take similar risks outside of group and make more room in their lives for their full, authentic selves.
Likewise, members learn from one another and benefit from witnessing each others’ struggles and growth. They also often find it beneficial to have opportunities to help others and offer feedback and support.
As the group facilitator, my role is to do just that — facilitate. Group discussion is guided by what members bring into the group and choose to discuss. My role is to create a safe space in which the group can do its work, to make observations, draw connections, ask thoughtful and probing questions, identify patterns, and redirect the discussion if the group is getting off-track.
What To Expect:
Group Structure & Format
A therapy group consists of between 4-7 members plus me, the counselor. We meet in my office for an hour and a half each week at the same time.
Groups are “closed,” meaning that we have the same group of people meeting together each week and not a constantly changing set of people — so no new people showing up unannounced. However, new members may be added to groups with some advanced notice.
Groups are typically ongoing (unless otherwise specified), meaning that there is no set end-date and members can remain in the group for as long as they continue to find it helpful. All members agree to a set of guidelines in joining the group — including maintaining the confidentiality of other members — which helps build a sense of security and trust between members.
If you are interested in joining a group, the first step will be to get in touch with me to schedule an initial consultation. In this conversation, we will discuss your current needs and goals and begin to get an idea if group will be a good fit for you.
Preparation to Join a Group
Following the initial consultation, we will meet for at least 2 sessions of individual counseling to prepare you for joining the group. In these sessions, we will continue to discuss your current struggles and goals, and we will explore some ways in which you might be able to make use of group to increase your self-awareness and experiment with new ways of relating to yourself and others.
During these individual sessions, I will also share more information with you about the group experience, and we will cover group guidelines. We will also have time to explore your expectations and any concerns or anxieties you might have about joining the group.
I am not currently running any groups. However, if you would be interested in learning more about the possibility of joining a therapy group in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know.