Pathways Wellness

What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?

What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?
Raul Haro
May 30, 2023
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a small group of clients are treated by one or more therapists. This is not to be confused with a support group, which is different. A support group is a collection of people helping each other cope with a specific problem. For example, there are support […]
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What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a small group of clients are treated by one or more therapists. This is not to be confused with a support group, which is different. A support group is a collection of people helping each other cope with a specific problem. For example, there are support groups for those going through a divorce, parents coping with sick children, and even people struggling with a serious illness. Group therapy, however, has the goal of helping someone change their situation and achieve recovery.

This type of therapy is utilized in many treatment programs at most mental health care facilities. One such facility is Pathways Wellness Center, which offers group therapy as part of its addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment program. Group therapy is great at helping someone struggling with these disorders, but some people may wonder if it is right for them. Helping someone understand why group therapy is beneficial helps destigmatize mental health treatments and helps potential clients find the right treatment for them. 

Group Therapy Prevents Isolation

Entering a treatment program can sometimes be a frightening experience. It's especially true with residential inpatient treatment, where someone stays in a new environment away from home to receive treatment. Some may even feel as though they are going through their troubles alone. Group therapy prevents this by providing clients with a place to interact with others who may be experiencing the same feelings. It's hard to feel alone when there are people who understand what it's like to live with a mental health disorder or struggle with addiction. 

This can also encourage someone to open up and be honest about their experiences. After all, these people "get it" and won't judge you as they are working on recovery too. Humans need this validating connection to get the strength they need to keep working on their treatment and, in the end, achieve recovery. 

Group Therapy Gives You a Sounding Board

When you are in group therapy, you talk about yourself and your experiences, good or bad. Sharing this wisdom helps others in the group learn from these experiences. For example, someone may talk about how they didn't cut off a toxic friend who ended up causing them harm. This can raise a discussion in the group on how to recognize and remove toxic people from your life. Someone's negative experience can help teach other members of the group how to avoid such a situation. Not all situations need to be bad to be shared. Sharing success stories can inspire others in the group to seek their own successes.

It's also a validating thing to talk about yourself and have people truly listen to what you have to say. Your experiences and struggles do matter. Having a place where you know people understand you and want to help you goes a long way in building self-esteem. It is also a place where you can voice a query and have multiple people draw on their own experiences to help you understand or make a choice. 

Group Therapy Helps You Learn and Grow

Treatments for a mental health issue don't just start and end with simply addressing the issue. It also involves learning the skills someone needs to live with and cope with their disorder outside the mental health care facility. If you don't learn these skills, it can be difficult for someone to stay in recovery once they return to their everyday lives. For example, when you treat addiction, you don't just treat the addiction itself: You also must teach the person struggling with it how to live outside of treatment by learning life skills.

Recognizing the precursors to a relapse, avoiding peer pressure to use again, and coping with stress without using substances are examples of such skills. Group therapy is highly valuable in teaching members how to use these skills. Roleplay can help members experience certain scenarios in a safe and supportive environment. Clients can practice their skills with each other or support someone who is still learning. In the end, a client grows as a person through the use of group therapy. 

What Can Be Treated With This Type of Therapy?

Group therapy can help with a wide arrange of mental health disorders. Some places, like Pathways Wellness Center, utilize group therapy as part of their addiction treatment program. However, not all individuals would do well in group therapy. It's up to the individual and their mental health care provider to determine if group therapy will be right for them. If they are suited for it, they can seek group therapy as part of their treatment for the following: 

  • Substance use disorder (SUD) and addiction
  • Depression and grief 
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma-based disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anger management 
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Schizophrenia 

This is but a small sample of what group therapy can treat. Some places may even treat specific situations or groups of people, such as first responders or those struggling with parenting. However, not all mental health care facilities have the specialization to treat certain disorders or illnesses. If you would like to try group therapy as part of your treatment for a specific illness or disorder, it's important to explore your options right away. Doing so lets you know for sure which mental health care facility will be right for you and your needs.

Sometimes when someone undergoes treatment, they may feel isolated or alone. It can be a difficult time for anyone, especially if they worry they are making avoidable mistakes. Group therapy not only alleviates the feeling of being alone, but the collective experience of each member can directly aid an individual in their recovery. Here at Pathways Wellness Center in Azusa and Glendora, California, we understand that group therapy gives the support a client needs to find their inner strength. This strength is needed to empower our clients to continue to work through their treatments and find the recovery they deserve. If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, don't wait. Call (888) 771-0966 today.

About the Author

Raul Haro
Raul Haro is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with sixteen years of experience working in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. As an LMFT, He has trained in trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR. Raul has furthered his training in the drug and alcohol field by obtaining a Masters in Drug and Alcohol Counseling through CCAPP. Raul has a background in nursing where he has been an LVN for over 25 years. Recently, he has returned to school to complete a degree in Registered Nursing. Future plans are for Raul are to eventually complete a degree as a Nurse Practitioner combining his therapy practice with his nursing skills.

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