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You may join group therapy as a primary treatment option, to complement your primary care, or to receive additional support during distressing situations. Groups typically consist of 5-15 people with similar concerns, and are led by at least one trained therapist or mental health professional. Groups may be open—with new members joining or leaving as they wish—or closed to new members for a specific length of time. They may meet as frequently as multiple times a week, or as infrequently as once a month, depending on the needs of the group members.
While there are many different types of group therapy, it typically can be separated into two main categories: process-oriented and psychoeducational. During process-oriented group therapy, participants heal and make positive change by interacting with the group. During psychoeducational group therapy, participants learn to apply information about a specific issue.
People may try to find local group therapy opportunities for a variety of physical, mental, or emotional concerns. For example, group therapy may be offered for depression, anxiety, addiction, grief, obesity, and many other issues. You may also join group therapy programs to improve social skills.
Group therapy activities may include sharing experiences, reading, storytelling, playing games, art therapy, or engaging in team exercises. These activities and specific group therapy techniques are used to foster trust, communication, personal awareness, and personal growth.
Many people are surprised by the powerful, positive effect of the group experience. Some benefits of group therapy may include:
Unlike support groups, group therapy is always facilitated by a trained mental health professional, which means you are able to access clinically-relevant information and processes to help with the issues you are facing.