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02/Feb/2021

It’s hard to imagine what good opening up to a group of strangers can do for your mental health.

After all, talking about your life to someone you don’t know is difficult enough, to begin with. How much more is opening up about your mental health struggles?

How much more when your depression or anxiety is telling you that no one could possibly understand what you’re going through?

Group therapy addresses the very thought process you might be going through right now. Want to find out how?

Here are four reasons why you should consider enrolling in group therapy.

What is group therapy?

WhoA group of five to fifteen people who all struggle with the same or similar issues (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, clinical depression, etc.)
WhatOpen conversations guided and facilitated by one or two licensed therapists, social workers, or psychologists
WhenDepends, but usually once every week

Four benefits of group therapy

Doctors often recommend group therapy in addition to individual or one-on-one therapy. These two types of therapy offer different benefits and address different needs.

Both work to provide a more holistic approach to mental wellness.

1. Group therapy makes you realize that you’re not alone.

Contrary to what your depression or anxiety want you to think, you’re not alone in your struggles. And group therapy helps you realize just that.
Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., has this to say in his book The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy:

“Many patients enter therapy with the disquieting thought that they are unique in their wretchedness, that they alone have certain frightening or unacceptable problems, thoughts, impulses, and fantasies.”

In group therapy, you hear others share about their own experiences. And while no two people have the exact same thoughts or memories, you’ll find that their feelings and struggles resonate with you. You’ll also find that your struggles resonate with others, as well.

Attending group therapy can reduce feelings of isolation and alienation by giving you a common ground with a group of people.

2. Group therapy teaches you how to give and receive support.

While therapists are present to facilitate discussions and offer support, it’s really the other group members who will be providing the most feedback and support.

Mental health issues often lead us to think that we don’t deserve help. However, when we verbalize our support for others, we come to realize that we can open ourselves up to their support, as well.

Support doesn’t equal grand gestures. It can be as simple as affirming someone else’s struggles, making them feel heard. It’s a pat on the back at the end of a session, a “thank you” for their bravery in sharing their stories, and a heartfelt “See you again next week!”

Group therapy enables you to take the first steps in offering and welcoming help emotionally.

3. Group therapy allows you to become aware of your own needs.

Opening up, whether to a group of people or to an individual therapist, requires some digging deep. It forces you to evaluate yourself—your wants, needs, fears, hopes, and dreams.

When you speak in group therapy, you first look into yourself. Maybe you’re answering a therapist’s question or responding to someone’s story; either way, you are forced to reflect on your own thoughts.
This can be a good thing.

Often, people living with mental health issues forget that their needs are valid. That their needs are worth addressing.

Group therapy makes you speak up about what you want and need in life. And sometimes, all we need to realize that we’re worth is to hear ourselves say it out loud.

4. Group therapy lets you receive feedback in a healthy way.

Group therapy offers more than just an outlet for you to speak. It also teaches you to receive feedback in a way that lets you process your emotions in a thoughtful way.

Therapists facilitate a conversation that is encouraging and welcoming. Feedback is delivered in a tactful and respectful manner, and you can ask group members to clarify their points or expound on their thoughts.

The keyword is “feedback” and not “criticism.”

You are not your mental health issues. You are not your shortcomings or mistakes. Who you are is a person who chooses to become better for yourself and for others.

And group therapy introduces you to people who will support you all the way.


Visit our service page to learn more about Group Therapy. For inquiries, feel free to send us a message online.

At Brain Health USA Center, your health is our passion.


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02/Feb/2021

Did you know that, on average, humans speak a minimum of 7,000 words per day? That’s 437.5 words per hour (not counting the 8 hours of recommended sleep daily).

Given the amount of time we spend speaking, it’s easy to take speech for granted. The words roll off our tongue. Our vocabularies are extensive. But for children on the autism spectrum, expressing themselves don’t come as easily.

That’s where speech therapy comes in.

What is autism?

trivia “Autism” refers to a wide range of developmental conditions characterized by repetitive patterns of thought and behavior, as well as difficulty in social interaction, speech, and nonverbal communication.
trivia In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged dour autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD includes: autistic disorder; childhood disintegrative disorder; pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS); and Asperger syndrome.

According to WebMD, children on the autism spectrum may exhibit some or all of the following speech challenges:

  • Not talking at all
  • Talking in a singsong way
  • Uttering grunts, shrieks, or other harsh sounds
  • Babbling
  • Using foreign-sounding “words” or robotic speech
  • Parroting what another person says
  • Using unexpressive tones of voice when speaking

In addition to these, they could also have some or all of the following communication problems:

  • Making eye contact
  • Making proper gestures
  • Understanding the meaning of words outside of the context they were learned
  • Memorizing words without knowing what they mean
  • Relying on repeating another person’s words as a means to communicate
  • Struggling with creative language

What is speech therapy?

WhoAn individual patient on the autism spectrum

What

A licensed therapist trains the patient to have improved articulation and comprehension in verbal and nonverbal communication

When

Depends, but usually twice every week

 

How speech therapy can help with autism

Not being able to express themselves or speak how their peers do can lead to self-esteem issues and feelings of isolation and alienation.

Speech therapy gives kids a safe space to learn, practice, and make mistakes when it comes to expressing themselves. They’re encouraged to explore language and even find alternate means of communication if they wish.

Specifically, speech therapy helps kids with autism to:

1. Express their wants and needs

It’s always hard to raise a child, but it’s even harder to raise a child when they can’t tell you what they need.

And needing and wanting don’t end in childhood. As teenagers and adults, being able to express their consent, enthusiasm, reluctance, and hesitation is imperative in having healthy relationships.

2. Understand what others are saying

Comprehension of what other people are saying don’t always come naturally to children on the autism spectrum. Both verbal and nonverbal language sometimes need to be taught.

Understanding is essential in the communication process. If your child struggles to recognize and understand the meanings behind body language, facial expressions, and voice tone, speech therapy can help them.

3. Thrive in social settings

It’s not enough to be able to ask and answer questions. Conversations are spontaneous and unpredictable. In time, speech therapy can help kids with autism to keep up, if not thrive, in social situations.

Speech therapy can also help kids on the autism spectrum to:

  • Find common ground or similar interests with other people
  • Sustain conversations
  • Understand non-literal language, like idioms
  • Understand abstract concepts
  • Find the right words to use in a given context
  • Express sympathy and empathy
  • Recognize when they are being disrespectful or tactless

Finding the best time to start speech therapy

When it comes to speech therapy, the principle is the earlier, the better.

Language delays can be observed as early as 18 months and autism as early as 10 to 12 months. Parents can begin researching on their own and inquiring with professionals by then.

Research proves that early intervention leads to positive outcomes for people with autism.


Visit our service page to learn more about speech therapy. For inquiries, feel free to send us a message online.

At Brain Health USA Center, your health is our passion.


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Brain Health USA Center treats adults and children with depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, down syndrome, drug abuse, and PTSD.

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