For many people dealing with mental health issues that get help professionally, there are a number of therapeutic resources available. One of the most assistive in providing an emotional outlet and community of support is group therapy. But, what is group therapy, what are its benefits, and what can one expect from this type of therapy?
What most people imagine when they think about therapy for mental health issues are one-on-one group counseling sessions between an individual and a clinical therapist. But, while these types of therapy sessions are evidence-based and helpful, there are other types of therapy, including group therapy. Typically, group therapy is a therapy session that involves more than one individual, led by a therapeutic specialist. During group therapy sessions, individuals may be asked to participate in talking about their experiences, feelings, and challenges in front of their therapy peers. And, practice helpful coping and relationship techniques between one another. Traditionally, group therapy sessions focus on specific topics and are guided to stay on task and topic by the group therapist.
Group therapy is a great tool to use during treatment for mental health issues because it’s more than just gaining perspective and insight from a therapist – it’s gaining them from peers and others who are going through mental health issues as well. Furthermore, it provides an assistive environment in which individuals can practice methods and strategies that they’ve learned about during treatment with others so that they can more accurately utilize these tools in their own personal lives. Plus, gives a supportive atmosphere in which individuals can provide constructive feedback about these strategies and coping mechanisms.
Along with providing a structured environment in which people can use each other to practice what they’ve learned in treatment, it also allows for support. People in group therapy can make relationships with others who are going through similar issues. And, hear about their struggles and experiences. This allows individuals to understand that they are not alone in their issues and that others are dealing with the challenges that mental health diagnoses bring about. Therefore, providing hope and allowing for the development of supportive relationships that sometimes can last a lifetime.
During group therapy sessions, you can expect to practice a number of things you’ve learned throughout treatment. And, implement new skills into relationships by using these mechanisms in your newly formed relationships. Some of the things you can expect to touch upon and practice during group therapy may include:
Empathizing with others: For many living with mental health issues, empathy may be a challenge. Empathizing with others is more than just offering sympathy. It’s about learning how to put yourself in the shoes of another and attempting to feel how they feel in the present moment.
Active listening: Being able to listen and hear what others are saying to you is an integral part of building healthy relationships. Active listening isn’t just about hearing what someone is saying. It also involves actively and internally digesting information before a response is submitted through your own speech.
Interpretation: Sometimes, those you have relationships with will try to tell you how they’re feeling without definitively telling you. Interpretation is the skill of determining what someone is trying to say about their feelings and what they may be thinking.
Clarification: During a conversation, it’s important to understand what someone is trying to get across to you. This involves clarifying what is said so that you can accurately identify what they need to get across to you in conversation. This can be accomplished by questioning and repeating what was said.
Find out what group therapy and other outpatient mental health services can do for you or a loved one at Raul J. Rodriguez, MD & Associates located in Delray Beach. We offer outpatient mental health services for individuals living with a wide array of mental health issues. Learn more about our programs and services right from our website.