Facilitates individual growth in a socialized setting. Groups may have specific themes (obesity, sexuality, addictions, depression, etc.), where members share a common issue, or general growth oriented groups that do not involve a specific theme. Group experiences are an excellent way to develop better communication skills, understanding of others and of oneself.
Group therapy involves simultaneous interaction with people typically outside the client’s social and familial network: relative strangers. Sometimes the groups are homogeneous, with people in the group having similar issues, and other times they are heterogeneous, with the members having diverse background and concerns. The facilitator often has specialized training in group therapy, but this may not always be the case. While there are various types of certification programs for facilitators there are no state or national licensing boards specifically for group therapists. The facilitators of groups are looking for the dynamics typically within the moment—the here and now—which reflect the current issues in the members’ lives. In other words, the interaction between the members reveals the dynamics that have emerged from the family of origin, other intimate relationships, and less intimate interpersonal settings (such as the workplace). Sometimes a therapist may recommend group therapy over individual psychotherapy for a variety of reasons.
People in group therapy improve not only from the interventions of the therapist, but also from observing others in the group and receiving feedback from group members.
Participants can try out new behaviors, role play, and engage with others in not only receiving valuable feedback and insight from other group members, but also in giving it.
Most people who try group therapy do become comfortable and familiar with the process over a short period of time (within a few weeks). There are clinicians and researchers who also claim that the group psychotherapy process produces stronger and longer-lasting results for many people, as compared to individual psychotherapy.
As the group members begin to feel more comfortable, you will be able to speak freely. The psychological safety of the group will allow the expression of those feelings which are often difficult to express outside of group. You will begin to ask for the support you need. You will be encouraged tell people what you expect of them.
The facilitators are trained to understand the emerging interactions, elicit feedback from the members about these behaviors, and help to initiate a correction in the interaction through these insights.