Group therapy is a tool used in the field of psychology. This type of therapy is unique because instead of only speaking to a counselor, you get the chance to talk with people like you. The members of your group may be able to provide insight and suggestions you may not have thought of. Finding out that others share the same struggles you do can help you feel less alone. Here are four tips you can follow when you're thinking of starting group therapy.
1. Find a group that addresses your needs.
Group therapy is typically performed with a group of five to fifteen people led by a licensed counselor, according to the American Psychological Association. In general, therapy groups are formed to discuss particular issues and subjects. You can find therapy groups designed to help people cope with chronic illness, addiction, depression, or grief. Find a group that is suited to addressing your needs and concerns. If you need help finding the right group, your psychologist may be able to recommend one to you.
2. Stick with the same group.
Group therapy is beneficial in part because of the relationships patients form with each other. Sticking with the same group can give you a sense of continuity and camaraderie. Once you find a group that you like, stick with it instead of hopping around to other groups. If you stay with one therapy group for a sustained period of time, you're likely to find more therapeutic benefit.
3. Consider individual therapy as well.
Individual counseling can be useful in conjunction with group therapy. There may be some personal issues or experiences that you aren't comfortable sharing in a group setting. The privacy of individual therapy can allow you to air these concerns so you can work through them. You can complete more focused psychological work with a dedicated counselor of your own. Use these private meetings to support the work you're doing in group therapy for maximum benefit.
4. Remember to keep everything confidential.
Psychiatric professionals are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality agreements, which means they're not legally allowed to share your personal information with others without your consent. People who attend group therapy are not bound by these laws. However, when you join a therapy group, you will be asked to respect the privacy of everyone present. Remember that you should never share anyone's personal information or experiences outside of the group without their express permission.
As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. One thing that I learned early on was the importance of having a good attitude and trying to figure out how to cope with some of the suggestions that my counselors gave me. I realized that when it came to having a good experience, the bulk of the responsibility fell in my lap. I started working hard to take their suggestions in stride and carefully analyze my life and my behavior. This blog is all about improving the counseling process by having a better attitude.