Why Group Therapy?
Group therapy can be an incredibly powerful way to augment individual therapy, but many feel resistant about joining a group. A few common deterrents from group therapy are confusion about what the group can do that individual therapy can’t, a fear of feeling awkward being vulnerable around others, misperceptions that all groups are like the support groups we see on TV and/or a general discomfort envisioning oneself in a group setting. This blog will help break down the myths about group therapy by highlighting a few key reasons why joining a group may be the next best thing you can do for your personal growth and overall life satisfaction.
First, it is important to note that there are many different types of therapeutic groups. While all therapeutic groups are designed with the same general goals in mind – to help individuals better understand themselves, clarify changes they want to make in their lives and provide members with the tools they need to make these changes – there are different styles of groups that go about reaching these goals in different ways. There are task groups, psychoeducational groups, counseling groups, psychotherapy groups, brief groups, etc. Madeline Weinfeld, LMSW, an associate therapist at Gateway to Solutions explains, “when looking for a group, the topic and specific goals for the group are typically the most helpful in narrowing down your search. Finding the right fit for you can be a similar process to finding the right therapist (https://www.gatewaytosolutions.org/starting-therapy-works-gateway-solutions/).
Sometimes, reading a group description that resonates with an individual can be an incredibly validating process, and that moment begins the group process for that individual.
As Madeline describes, one of the most significant aspects of group therapy is that it helps individuals realize they are not alone. Whether it be reading the group description or actually sitting amongst others experiencing something similar to yourself, the group reminds you that you are not alone in your experiences, thoughts and feelings. This is not to say that each individual is not unique, but rather that despite being unique individuals, nobody is alone in their struggles. This can be incredibly empowering for individuals who often feel isolated by their mental health struggles or circumstantial difficulties. Hearing others’ perspectives can help put language to your own experience and challenge you to look at things in a different way or with a different approach.
Group therapy provides a safe space for individuals to practice new skills, find their voice and become more comfortable identifying and expressing their feelings. Similarly, group therapy helps individuals relate to themselves and others in healthier ways. Madeline Weinfeld, LMSW says “group dynamics will often mimic “real-life” dynamics and provide a space for individuals to confront tendencies they have in other interpersonal relationships that had previously gone unnoticed.” The ability to identify these patterns is a critical tool that can be practiced in group therapy and then utilized to facilitate healthier relationships outside of the group.
Overall, group therapy offers a confidential, judgment-free space for individuals to learn from others and feel supported by others. The growth potential within a group is so profound because a combination of unique individuals with different lived experiences come together with a shared purpose of engaging in the group to better themselves and each other.
This fall, Madeline Weinfeld, LMSW is introducing a group called “Would You Date You?” at Gateway to Solutions (https://www.gatewaytosolutions.org). The group is designed to help individuals explore their dating history, identify and change unhealthy patterns in interpersonal relationships, improve self-esteem, better understand attachment style and ultimately, feel better equipped to date others as a result of establishing a healthier relationship with themselves. To learn more about the group, please contact Madeline Weinfeld, LMSW at email@example.com or (929) 379-6386.