At first, it can be intimidating to think about sharing your story with strangers. But group therapy, in which a counselor leads a group of 5 to 10 participants, can be very beneficial. In fact, it often comes as a surprise to group members just how much they learn and grow.
I am a huge fan of group therapy and have seen change in my clients during group that they may not have experienced in 1:1 therapy. Each person in group provides their own perspective, each holding up a mirror and reflecting back what they see in you.
Each group member has unique challenges and strengths. Not only are you learning from me, the counselor, but from the other group members as well.
Other Benefits of Group
Groups provide support. There is often a sigh of relief when people find out that they are not the only ones dealing with a particular issue. Dealing with anxiety or depression can be an isolating experience for many, but know that you are not alone.
Groups can inspire growth. Hearing from other members about how they overcame challenges can inspire you to take action yourself. I have seen group members push themselves harder when they see what others are doing.
Groups provide accountability. Knowing that there are others who are cheering you on as well as relying on your encouragement can lead group members to being more committed to change.
Groups promote social skills. Being a parent can be an isolating experience at times. For those of us introverts, we may not have friends who are experiencing the same life changes that we are. Group offers an opportunity to connect.
Group therapy costs less than individual counseling. While group is not appropriate for every issue, it offers a more affordable way to learn new skills and grow as an individual. I know that not everyone can see me on an individual basis. Group gives me the ability to share my expertise with a wider audience.
Process vs Support Groups
Support groups offer members the opportunity to come together, share in their common experiences, and allow them to provide one another with empathy and advice.
Support groups are typically not structured and do not have to be facilitated by a licensed mental health professional. Members often share a common difficulty, and the focus is on providing support rather than the process of self-discovery.
Process-oriented groups focus on deepening the understanding of one’s self through interaction with others. The group itself becomes a catalyst for self-discovery and change. Group members are led through various activities and techniques facilitated by a mental health professional.
The focus in these types of groups is on the present experience- what’s going on within each person in the moment. Group members are encouraged to share their thoughts and emotions with one another.
How much does it cost?
Ah, the infamous money question. I talk a lot about the benefits of counseling on my Fees page. For the short answer:
The intake appointment for group is $150. This covers a full 50-minute session in which we will identify what you’re struggling with, determine your goals for treatment, and decide if group is the right fit for you.
Groups are 50 minutes in length, and the cost is $50 per group.