The Principles And Practices Used In Group Therapy
Group therapy is a highly effective way to address specific issues that are common or similar amount a variety of people.
This type of therapeutic approach is often used in conjunction with individual therapy, and it is focussed on groups of people that are dealing with specific issues in their lives.
Group therapy is most often associated with addiction recovery treatment, but it can be very effective in a wide range of different issues. Depression, anxiety, food addictions, relationship issues, trauma, domestic violence or abuse as well as grief and low self-esteem can also be effectively treated with group therapy approaches.
Generally, groups are purposefully kept small by the group facilitator. In most clinical situations, the group facilitator is a therapist, counsellor or coach, and he or she is tasked with maintaining the group emotional status and ensuring that the sessions are focused and work for the benefit of all group members.
Sharing Common Experiences
One of the central group therapy principles is the design of the group itself. The therapist will evaluate each individual to determine if it is an appropriate time in treatment to work within a group.
In the group, the individuals will share experiences. This is known as universality, and it can be very effective in helping individuals in the group to understand the issues they are dealing with are shared by others, which also helps the group to work together to create solutions to problems based on this shared understanding.
Altruism and Hope
While these are two different group therapy principles, they are closely related. Within the group, members seek not only to help themselves, but to also help others in the group. It creates a natural way for people to connect on a level of kindness and support, something that is a common struggle for many people dealing with a wide range of emotional and mental health issues.
Within the group, members will be at different levels in healing and recovery. This is helpful and hopeful to new members to see progress and potential in the process, again something that may seem very lacking in their lives without the group support.
Interpersonal Connection and Learning
For many people in recovery or treatment, feelings of isolation and being alone are common. Through the support, encouragement, and cohesiveness of the group, people begin to feel they are a part of something good, positive and beneficial.
While most group members will not socialize or interact outside of the group, this controlled space where they can connect, share and openly discuss issues they may never have talked about before is an ideal spot to learn more effective ways to interact with people.
Another benefit of the principles used in group therapy is the individual's understanding that they alone are responsible for their actions and the subsequent reactions. Through sharing their stories and perhaps being challenged by other group members about their responsibility in moving forward in healing and recovery, group members can become clearer in their path and their ability to cope and manage with blaming others and avoiding responsibility for their own actions.
Group therapy is a very positive experience for many people. When the therapist is able to work with the group and allow group members to interact, it is an extremely open, honest and supportive place to make positive changes.
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