Group therapy is where several individuals come together to explore personal and interpersonal issues with one or more therapists as a facilitator.
Humans are social beings, therefore, interacting with others is deep-rooted in our psyche and hardwired in our brain. Everyone belongs to a group: family, social network, organisation, workplace, etc. Even though people in a therapy group may not personally know each other, they share a common interest, trait, or concern which binds them together. Just like individual therapy, group therapy has benefits that are unique to it. In a group, one can learn and grow in ways that their original group (which is their family) was unable to do. A therapy group offers an opportunity to embark on a shared journey, enhance awareness, learn more about how you relate to others and a way to experiment with being and behaving differently.
The feeling of being heard and recognised in therapy can be liberating, empowering and lead to feeling less isolated. The group experience enables this to take place in a different context to individual therapy. A therapy group can sit alongside individual therapy and offer a complementary experience. It may be that you have experienced individual therapy for a while and want to explore sharing and connecting with others. A group may also be your first choice of trying out therapy.
Groups tend to develop a set of guidelines that each member agrees to respect. Generally, confidentiality is held by agreeing not to share any personal or identifying information about the other members, though they can share experiences about themselves.
Prior to the first session, the therapist will offer an individual counselling session to become familiar with the person and see if group therapy is appropriate. During group sessions, members may be asked to track or take note of their feelings, thoughts and reactions to what is happening within the group, or towards other members.
Group leaders seldom introduce topics but help the members form trust and to share openly with others.
Group Therapy is run by Gary Smith.
Information about Gary’s current group can be found here.