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?
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.