Using a “group therapy” method of proceeding with treatment may help both participants feel as if they belong, and that each person in the group is alike, in many respects. Group therapy, over a period of time, can create a circle of trust for similarly-challenged individuals. This environment can be comforting and therapeutic for patients who have never open up about his or his “issues”.
Special added value of Group Therapy: The Feedback and Opinions of Others
Group therapy often provides excellent feedback about behavioral abnormalities, and may supply needed affirmation or support from others. In fact, studies have proven over and over again that getting that kind of support plays a major factor in helping people overcome their problems. Reason being, talking with a group in this setting provides the fundamental opportunity to develop trusting, healthy, and supportive relationships as you all learn from each other’s experiences.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Therapy
As with most forms of treatment or medical procedures, advantages and disadvantages usually accompany the endeavor. If you are considering working as a group to help work through or to solve your problems, you should know the possible drawbacks. The primary advantage is knowing that you’re not alone and that other people have wrestled with similar issues. Human nature seems to be assuaged by knowing that others are out there who have shared similar experiences. Additionally, group therapy provides a sense of belonging. Humans are social by nature. Most humans enjoy the idea of helping others. Most people like feeling as though they belong to a group that has other members who share similar backgrounds or who have overcome similar challenges.
Group therapy is not suited for all treatment situations. For example, if a person is trying to overcome social phobias, this type of therapy would not benefit him or her since the phobic person is required to talk freely with others. Personalities may clash at group therapy meetings, and some members of the group may not be able to speak without displaying anti-social behavior patterns that he or she cannot suppress. Breaking the usual pledge of anonymity between members could be compromised.
As with any therapy, it is best for the therapist to evaluate what kind or “group” fits your personality. Group therapy isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be forced upon a person if the patient doesn’t feel comfortable. However, group therapy sessions do have a high success rate for those needing to overcome certain behavioral or social interaction disorders. The lower cost of receiving therapy in a group (versus individual counseling) could be a deciding factor.