What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a powerful method of treatment in which individuals with similar problems, issues, or treatment needs meet face-to-face in a group setting with a therapist to improve their functioning. As part of the group process, members offer each other support and share similar experiences. Through their shared experiences and the guidance of the group facilitator/therapist, group members begin to bond as they share positive strategies that have helped them cope and challenge or therapeutically confront each other’s negative thoughts or behaviors in an accepting, non-judgmental, and supportive environment.
In group therapy, the clinician helps guide and facilitate interactions among the group members to ensure the group process is a productive one for all participants. As part of their role, the therapist will help the group remain focused on their purpose to alleviate identified problems and the development of positive, adaptive coping skills. There are several positive outcomes and benefits to group therapy. For example, a small therapeutic group may center on interventions designed to produce a positive change in behavior (e.g., the ability to utilize relaxation skills or deep breathing techniques for individuals who experience severe anxiety or panic attacks). The interaction between members in group therapy allows the individual to develop and practice new skills in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, this interaction allows other group members to develop new insight as they can witness first-hand how they may react or respond in similar situations.