Group counselling is usually comprised of 6-8 people who meet face to face. The group is facilitated by a professional therapist who monitors the behaviour and progress of the members and enables each individual to talk about what is concerning them. These interactions give members an opportunity to increase understanding, try out new ways of being with others and learn more about the ways they interact. The content of the group sessions is confidential; members agree not to identify other members or their concerns outside of group.
What do I talk about in group therapy?
- What brought you to the counselling
- Tell the group members what is most concerning you.
- If you need understanding, let the group know.
- Ask for feedback
- Express feelings
How much you talk about yourself is your decision; it will depend in part on your own comfort level. For some people it takes a few weeks of sitting in and listening before they feel ready to talk about their own experience, so you should not feel pressured to do anything you do not want to do. If you have questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can always ask the group. The first group task is to establish an atmosphere of safety and respect. I will help the group develop a safe environment to explore presenting issues whist promoting personal growth.
Why does group therapy work?
You can benefit from the group even during sessions where you say little but listen carefully to others. Most people find that they have important things in common with other group members, and as others work on concerns, you can learn much about yourself. In the group environment, others serve as mirrors that reflect aspects of yourself that you can recognise and choose, if you want, to modify or change.
An important benefit of group therapy is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive environment. Therefore, I will help members to give and receive feedback whilst being respectful of each member. This may then enhanced acceptance of self and others as you learn to relate more honestly and directly with others in the group. Thus, individuals have the opportunity to develop personal understand and awareness in a safe place.
Issues that might be explored during group counselling include:
Having a strong support network is key when it comes to overcoming addiction. For some people, this kind of network isn’t available at home and they may benefit more from the support of others with an addiction. Hearing how others cope, learning interpersonal skills and uncovering how your behaviours can impact other people can all help you on your journey to overcoming addiction.
Knowing you aren’t alone in your feelings and hearing how others manage their anxiety can be invaluable. You are also likely to develop better social skills, which can help if you suffer from social anxiety.
Those dealing with depression may find themselves feeling vulnerable and isolated. Reaching out to others experiencing similar issues and discussing coping mechanisms can help. You may also find that imparting your own advice helps to boost your sense of self-esteem.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
Being alone with your own thoughts during times of anxiety can trigger symptoms when you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. Speaking to others who understand your feelings and behaviours can help you understand your condition better. Together you can support one another and look to find ways of coping.
- Relationship difficulties
If you find it difficult to forge and maintain relationships, attending group therapy could help. Being around other people on a regular basis can help you to develop interpersonal and social skills that you can go on to practice outside of your sessions.
Meeting with others who struggle with self-harm can help you feel less alone. Hearing how others cope with their problems, including practical tips you may not have thought of.