There are generally two different types of therapy groups.
A time-limited, “support group”, which is usually topically oriented, (i.e. 8 week group for women with breast cancer or 12 week divorce group, etc.) These groups focus on supporting or helping members to cope with a particular problem area or stressor in their lives.
Process groups are ongoing, so members stay as long as they find it helpful and there is turnover in membership over time. They are not focused on a particular topic, but on group dynamics and how they inform personal growth. Read more.
I facilitate both types of groups, but the following are some questions and answers specifically about process groups.
Group therapy is the process of increasing self-awareness by examining interpersonal relationships and group dynamics. It is the process of learning about oneself by studying one’s interactions with others.
Group therapy may appeal particularly to those who have questions or concerns about the role they play in their relationship difficulties or dissatisfaction, i.e. a fear of intimacy or commitment, choosing the “wrong” partner, anger management, people pleasing, etc. Whomever we are out in the world, we will eventually be in a group, so it provides a unique opportunity for members to work through their issues in real time.
Group therapy is therapeutic on many different levels. It offers:
- A safe and confidential place to “study” the self in relationship to others.
- A sense of connectedness and universality – “Oh, you mean I’m not the only one who struggles with …?”
- A support system.
- A safe place to practice or “test” improved ways of relating, receive objective feedback from others (including the therapist) and hone an accurate self-perception.
- Practical information and education re: specific problem areas.