By Tony L. Sheppard, Psy.D., CGP, FAGPA
Why do we do group therapy? What are the advantages over individual therapy? There are decades of research that show that a therapy group truly offers something unique. It turns out that human beings learn, grow, and develop well in groups. We truly are social in nature. Groups offer a few things that tie into our social nature:
Acceptance and Belonging-Groups offer the opportunity to become part of something larger. When entering a therapy group, many people feel a sense of safety and acceptance that perhaps they haven't felt before. This is particularly powerful for children and teens who might have struggled to find their place in various groups.
Sharing-Group offers a place to share things about yourself that might have been kept from others. The group is a safe place to try out new things and ways of interacting with others. There's also a sharing of learning and resources. Members of the group share ways that they've faced various challenges in their lives.
Birds of a Feather-Group members often realize in group that people have much more in common than initially meets the eye. In the safe environment of the group, walls can be dismantled and members can see their similarities with others where they might have seen only differences. It's quite powerful to discover that the person sitting next to you shares a feeling or a situation or a problem. Suddenly, you don't feel quite so alone.
There are just a few of the many benefits of joining a therapy group.