How to Maximize the Benefits of Group Therapy

It can be hard to grasp the idea of online group therapy at first, especially since it involves meeting with strangers. However, research has shown that online group therapy has many benefits. According to psychologists, attending one of these group sessions with 5 to 15 people can leave you with a rewarding experience that will last a lifetime. 

Online therapy groups typically meet one to two times a week for 1 hour or 2 hours. In those meetings, people get to share their stories to get help and also to encourage others. The good thing about online therapy groups is that members can decide how much information they wish to share, and everyone is bound by confidentiality agreements. That way, you are assured that whatever is discussed in the group stays in the group, giving you a sense of community without sacrificing a sense of peace or privacy.

Even though the benefits of online group therapy are clear, you’ll have to put work in to really see the results! 

There’s a number of ways you can get the most from your online group therapy. But first, let’s review the benefits of online therapy groups.

5 Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy where one or more therapists work with between 5 to 15 people simultaneously. The method is usually used alone or in combination with other treatment plans. Usually, the treatment is available in community centers, hospitals, mental health clinics, etc. When used as a treatment method, the following are some of the significant benefits of group therapy.

1. Online Therapy Groups Offer a Perspective Check

As a member of an online therapy group, you can get clearer perspectives on any issue you’re facing by hearing from others in the same boat. For instance, if you are dealing with anger issues, you can easily share your experiences with the group and see how others relate to your experiences and choices. You can learn from their perspective and any time and work they’ve already put in on similar issues. 

2. Online Therapy Groups Offer a Sense of Support

Every human being craves support and community. We are social by nature, and we want to know we are not alone. Hearing from others in your online therapy group who are grappling with the same mental health issues can bolster your sense of confidence and encourage you to work hard to move forward toward a happier, healthier future.

3. Online Therapy Groups Bring Renewed Hope

Hearing other people in online group therapy talk about their success stories is always encouraging. Psychologists say that when people listen to such success stories, they are usually driven to action, and they tend to push to become better versions of themselves.

4. Online Therapy Groups Offer Socialization

One of the significant benefits of group therapy is that it removes the feeling of isolation and loneliness that can come with mental health diagnoses and struggles. Groups can also enhance your social skills as it allows you to reconnect with others in a safe environment who truly understand what you’re going through. 

5. Online Therapy Groups Are Affordable

Group therapy is an effective alternative to one-on-one therapy that is usually much less costly, but without sacrificing the care you need and deserve. In fact, in many cases, people often find that they get even more benefits in online group therapy than with individual therapy sessions!

8 Tips to Help You Maximize Your Online Group Therapy Experience

Now that you know the benefits of group therapy, what can you do to get the best out of all of them? If you are considering online group therapy for yourself or a loved one, the following tips will help you make the most of your experience.

1. Find the right group

There are many support groups out there, but not all of them have what you need. Take the time to filter out all your options before you jump in with just any therapy group or service. First, you need to consider your needs. After that, the next step is to find a group that is the best match for your mental health diagnosis or struggle. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things!

Aside from being a place of counseling and healing, a group can also be a safe zone where you can try out new and healthy ways of social interaction. As you learn from others, don’t be afraid to say and do things outside of your comfort zone to establish new behaviors, boundaries, and habits. The amount of help you will get from the group will depend on how much you are willing to try.

3. Keep Things Confidential

Everything that is said in your online therapy groups remains confidential. Therefore, you make sure not to divulge any information disclosed during the meetings to anyone. By adhering to this rule, you are upholding the trust foundation established within the group. 

4. Go At Your Own Pace

All therapy groups involve people coming together to talk about their problems. In some cases, people have to go through social exercises like intense personal discussions or even role-playing. At the start, things can feel new, or a little uncomfortable for you. However, with time, things will get better as you continue to attend meetings and get used to different activities for group therapy. No matter what, you will benefit more from the whole process when you take things at your own pace.

5. Take a Pledge

To ensure you get the best from your group therapy sessions, ensure you take your pledge - and take it seriously, too! This means setting the goals that you want from the group in your mind and trying your best to achieve them with the support of your therapist and other group members. It might take some time, but you will see the results. On those days when you are down and you don’t feel like putting the work in, your pledge can be helpful in pushing you to attend your session!

6. Learn to give and receive feedback

Feedback is critical in online group therapy sessions. Learning to give and receive feedback in a constructive, healthy way is one skill you’ll need to learn as you grow - and one you will take out into real-life situations as well. 

The following are some tips to help you give insightful feedback:

·      Be specific in your responses, gestures, and remarks.

·      Try to be honest and direct when giving feedback. If you can, support your feedback with examples where necessary.

·      Ensure to provide feedback as soon as you feel it is needed.

·      Do not hold back your feedback even if it seems negative. Give both positive and negative feedback, but be careful to be respectful when sharing negative feedback.

Similarly, these tips will be helpful when receiving feedback:

·      Always acknowledge people when they give you feedback. For instance, “thank you, Sam. I'll work on how I say that next time.”

·      If you are not sure about a piece of feedback, ask for clarification from the person or guidance from your therapist. 

·      Be true to yourself and ensure you receive all feedback in good spirit. If you feel you are becoming defensive, try to speak out and share with others the way you are feeling.

·      If feedback is not forthcoming, request it! That is, ask others in the group what they think. Let them share their thoughts with you.

7. Share Advice Under Supervision

Always remember you are in the online therapy group to share your views with others, but not to impose your opinions on them. You should totally feel free to share advice and tips with others that you have found helpful. Just make sure to defer to the therapist if you are unsure if the advice you gave is accurate, or if the consensus of the group suggests that they feel differently. 

8. Focus and Participate

Ensure that you attend all your online group therapy sessions and that you are involved in the activities in group therapy. There would be days when you might not feel like talking to them, but do your best to be there. Keep in mind that the more you can contribute, the better you will be.  As you go on, try to share with others what is going on in your mind. Try to let them understand how you feel about the group and yourself. Be true to yourself and stay in the moment.

Conclusion

Online group therapy might be a good match for you! If you’re considering this solution, try a group out. Whatever you choose, remember that taking the first step toward therapy is something to be proud of.

October 22, 2021

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