Tuesday Therapy Notes: Group Therapy

It is time once again to talk about therapy in the weekly series, Tuesday Therapy Notes, which looks at some of the issues common to therapy. Today, we are talking about group therapy.

Group therapy is a process that involves a mental health professional, often a psychologist, leading a group of up people, up to 10 or 15. And this can be very beneficial.

Group sessions provide individuals who are struggling with a specific mental health condition with a supportive network of people who might be battling something similar. Moreover, they can learn from others about coping mechanisms that worked and didn’t work.

And I can say from personal experience that I sometimes am a bit skeptical of solutions that my psychologist offers because I wonder if it comes from a textbook somewhere instead of lived experience. And I’m not saying that textbook solutions are bad, after all they are in there for a reason. Yet not every coping strategy is going to work for every person, and I like to learn from others with lived experience about why certain things worked or didn’t work for them.

So even though I personally have never partaken in group therapy, I certainly can understand the attraction. And part of the training I got for my current role as a recovery support session included shadowing another staff member as they led a group session, which introduced me first hand to another benefit of group therapy, which is the benefit of feeling heard.

So often, mental illness causes us to feel isolated and overlooked. When we talk to someone, whether it is a friend, a recovery support specialist (which we will talk about next week), or a therapist, we feel heard. And for some people, they feel even more heard and accepted when they are a part of a group session.

For some people, group sessions happen in addition to individual therapy appointments, others only rely on group. But however people do it, it is clear that it can work really well in the right circumstances.

Source: APA – Psychotherapy: Understanding Group Therapy

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