What is group therapy?
Group therapy is a therapeutic tool that brings people together to process challenges and create change. It is unique among other types of therapy because group members are usually not related to each other by family (unless we're conducting a family group), but they are connected by a shared struggle with their mental health, relationships, behavior or just some life experience that they want to process.
As relationship experts, we believe that they best way to create the change you want in your life is through a relationsihp. Counseling, after all, is a relationship. Group therapy is intended to get the best out of therapy by putting you in contact with other people who are struggling just like you are. It can be a powerful experience to be accepted by others who know what you're going through.
I'm worried group therapy will be awkward.
Well, there's no getting around that it will feel a little strange at first. Unless you've been through it before, group can seem a little intimidating because you'll be sharing with a room full of people you've probably never met. But that's where we come in. Our job is to break the ice and help group members feel as comfortable as possible. It'll take a little time, but we think that if you make the first step, you'll be surprised at how comfortable you can feel after even the first session.
How do I know group therapy will remain private?
At The Practice, we work on a group agreement model, which means in the first session, group facilitators will work with group members to create privacy standards the group feels comfortable with. We are licensed clinicians, so we have to operate according to the privacy laws set out by our ethical codes and state laws, which are very strict. Group members don't have the same requirements, but the group agreement approach, which requires all group members to agree to everyone's confidentiality and sign a form agreeing to that standard, is effective at maintaining everyone's confidentiality.
How does group therapy work?
Depending on the type of group, group therapy either follows a specific plan to achieve an outcome or it is an ongoing group that is focused on process. When a group follows a specific plan, group leaders will introduce topics and guide discussions focused on that topic. They'll then leave you with tasks to accomplish before the next group to encourage growth between sessions. Even in a focused group, there's still plenty of room to talk and share and vent. These groups usually have a specific end point.
When a group is focused on process, there's a more flexible environment and group members are encouraged to share whatever's on their mind. There's not always a specific content focus unless group members request it. So these kinds of groups are good for people who are working on their communication skills, processing emotion, learning to trust again, becoming more vulnerable and empathy building. These process groups are usually ongoing and don't always have a specific end date. You may use them as they are useful for you.