One can disguise as oneself to aid self-discovery
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What Is Group Therapy?
Shakespearean characters often resort to disguise. In the process of impersonation, their true self is revealed to the audience and the characters themselves — proving that being true to oneself was impossible even in the Middle Ages. Even today, nothing has changed as more and more people ‘put on a happy face’ on social media apart from work, home and society.
Group therapy is an answer for those looking to be themselves. It can provide a safe space for those to be themselves.
People with various issues from domestic troubles, work-related stress, those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or someone dealing with divorce or a break-up come together and share their stories to heal. A licenced therapist would act as a facilitator in these groups to ensure that the conversation flows freely without interruption and trouble.
One for all, all for one
While it cannot be said if group therapy is better than individual therapy or vice versa, anecdotal evidence suggests that the effects of group therapy can be faster in terms of a breakthrough. In addition, it is beneficial for people with few or little communication skills as group therapy can be a platform for people to develop these skills.
Group therapy is also about listening and speaking, so it can help people empathise easily and provide it to others. Also, most people with trouble strongly feel the need to identify with someone and the chances of them finding it in a group are more than one-on-one therapy sessions.
What’s Your Trigger?
In group therapy, participants also comment on the experiences of others. While most of them would be comforting, it is also possible that their responses could be filled with anger and can generate similar feelings in return. However, facilitators ensure that these reactions are channelised to understand triggers and the underlying fears, insecurities and experiences that cause them. The person who shared and the person who reacted – both their blind spots can be demystified simultaneously.
People empowered in the group can also use the so-gained confidence within and outside the group. Sharing in a group can also be less intense than in individual therapy, and there is the possibility of laughter that can lighten the atmosphere. Camaraderie, in general, can ease the journey of people going through bad times.
Group work helps to forge new bonds with their group members. Seeing participants healing others in the group get hope for their healing.
It so often happens that people who undergo psychotherapy tend to connect with their therapist and form a bond of trust. In group therapy, they will be able to do so with a more significant number of people or at least with one or a few of the participants. These alliances are key to achieve a breakthrough easily, faster to start the healing process. And, a breakthrough is the first step to an arduous but necessary journey towards a happier life.
Advantages Of Group Therapy
It helps one in learning new skills that enables them to cope with different situations.
Many people suffering from mental health issues believe that they have a solution to their sudden behavioural changes. However, all they have done is create a distraction skill. For instance, listening to music may help calm you down but doesn’t solve the issues that led you to have those disturbing thoughts. Group therapy provides a platform where you can solve those issues. With discussions and self-awareness, one heals to have better-coping strategies.
There is often less judgment in a group therapy session
There is less judgment and a large dose of empathy when you are in a group therapy session. In addition, a safe environment enables a better understanding of the inner processes, including feelings, thinking and behaviour triggers.
Talking with the group helps open up about their issues.
Most people struggling with an issue will always try and hide it from the people closest to them. It leaves them feeling empty and on their own. Group therapy benefits them as they can talk about issues they are suffering from hence opening up.
Enhanced communication skills
Group work empowers participants to about the issues they are suffering from with their friends and family. That enlarges their network of support and helps them to get back on track.
It gives people an opportunity for self-awareness
Group therapy is an excellent platform for personal growth. A person interacts with others in a trusting and accepting environment. This allows experimenting with authentic feelings and behaviour. The person can receive honest feedback with empathy from others regarding their feelings, thinking and behaviour.
It is an opportunity to benefit from practical wisdom
Therapists offer a concrete foundation required to take forward steps in most mental health issues. However, the actual steps you need to endure comes from the wisdom you get from someone who had been in your situation and got out of it. Group therapy helps individuals to benefit from the wisdom of others who had been facing similar struggles.
It helps in creating a sense of belonging
Participants in a group therapy session will find other people suffering from similar issues or different issues. However, they know it’s normal to have problems in the group and hence becomes a place where one feels like they can be understood, giving them a sense of belonging.
Limitations of Group Therapy
-A likelihood of clashes between personalities among groups might happen among individuals suffering from mental health issues.
-The activities involved in a group therapy session may be too uncomfortable for some members.
What To Expect From Group Therapy?
A group is facilitated by a trained psychologist, psychotherapist, or counsellor. The facilitator leads a small group of around 8-10 participants. The group members will be required to meet either once or fortnightly, and the session will usually last about two hours.
With Covid-19, online group therapy has become common, and it’s very effective. It gives a chance to interact with participants from different countries.
Group therapy is very beneficial and an excellent option for individual therapy. In group therapy sessions, you will meet other people going through similar experiences. You will therefore stop feeling alone, and you will finally start opening up and get help. Most group therapy sessions try to help every new member adopt new positive behaviours that will help them cope with the events that occur in life. Group therapy sessions will help one solve mental health issues.
Insightful Counselling & Training has launched a new group program facilitated by Anisha Pandya. If you are interested please click here for more details.