The Power of Group Therapy: How Shared Experiences Can Help You Heal

For plenty of individuals around the world struggling to establish a sense of normalcy and better mental health, individual weekly sessions aren’t enough. Overcoming daily symptoms and improving your quality of life can require additional accountability and support - two major benefits of group therapy. 

Whether you’re managing mild to severe symptoms of mental health conditions on your own, were recently discharged from outpatient services, or just completed a mental health inpatient program, getting back to real life and trying to retain the new coping skills you’ve learned can be overwhelming. Group therapy can help by offering new skills and coping mechanisms to practice in a safe, engaging setting with peers who truly understand what you’re dealing with. 

Most people who’ve dealt with a mental health disorder are familiar with the sense of being an outsider or have difficulty connecting with others. The reality is, mental health challenges can be isolating, which can amplify their impact. Everyone needs and deserves the peace and sense of community support that human connection brings. 

Going to group therapy can bring a new perspective and offer a different viewpoint on your situation or circumstances when you compare them to others like you. Your group sessions can also help you stay accountable, allow you to practice your new social skills in a controlled environment led by a licensed therapist, and bring a sense of belonging that keeps you motivated. If you lack support in your own family and friends, group therapy can serve as a surrogate family to keep you on track. You’re not alone, and your group can remind you of that as they help you on the path to success and better quality of life. 

Here are a few specific ways that shared experiences in group therapy can help you grow, learn, and receive the support you deserve. 

Community 

Realizing that there are other people like you who suffer in similar ways can make a world of difference when your mental health symptoms often isolate you and make you feel no one understands what you’re going through. Removing the sense of isolation that often accompanies mental health struggles can keep you motivated on your path to seeking treatment, and offer a common understanding in a judgment-free zone. When you feel people understand you, you’re more likely to share about what you’re going through, which can offer relief from stress and emotional suffering. 

Perspective

Any time you're in group therapy you’ll receive a variety of input from many kinds of people with different walks of life, backgrounds, and struggles. When you incorporate other personalities and input into your own problem-solving, you may discover new strategies to help you cope on your own. 

Accountability

The positive peer pressure that group therapy brings can be super helpful to those on a mental health journey. Without judgment or shame, your fellow group members will ask you to hold them accountable while doing the same for you. Accountable to practice your new coping skills, accountable to complete any diaries or homework, and accountable to be honest about what you’re going through and where you’re at, or how you need help. 

Confidentiality 

In both group therapy and individual therapy, confidentiality is maintained so transparency can be offered by everyone in the group. Members of the group are usually required to sign a confidentiality agreement, no one uses last names or personal identifiers, and your group therapist will remind everyone to keep what is shared in the group, to the group. 

Confidence

The companionship, accountability, perspective, and so many other positives that group therapy can bring will help you build your daily confidence in expressing yourself in new and healthy ways. Practicing new skills in your group can increase your confidence in the real world, and you’ll know you always have their support to fall back on if you run into difficulties in your daily life. 

Looking to get started with group therapy? All it takes (beyond finding a good group therapy platform for you) is showing up, and participating, every session. Don’t miss the chance to engage with your fellow group members, or be too worried about opening up. Remember that every step you take is for YOU, and that everyone is there to help you succeed.

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