Group therapy is a unique practice which uses the help of special methods and exercises to help patients learn more about themselves and their roles among others, as well as to examine their current knowledge and perspectives. This method helps us to make decisions about big life changes and find solutions in a safe environment. We can talk forever about the advantages of group psychotherapy, although at first glance the concept is held quite simple: a group of people, usually between five and twelve, meeting with a trained psychotherapist who is acting as a group leader.
When group therapy is being held, it’s not only the direct interaction with the therapist that influences the client, but also the other participants’ comments, questions, and feedback. In this environment, answers to questions which hadn’t been previously considered may suddenly appear.
During individual therapy meetings, the main source of information for the client is the therapist, and they may or may not be convincing. A theory is important, but sometimes it is difficult to believe it if it’s not reinforced with practice. Clients need to believe in these theories themselves and come to their own conclusions before they can make changes in their own lives. It is an effective practice, but not in every case. Sometimes group psychotherapy is a necessity. If the client works in a group, other group members can see the result and verify in practice the veracity and effectuality of the psychotherapist’s methods. All group members will clearly be able to see results right away, even without special knowledge, and so it will affect their behavior in the future.
A realistic but safe environment is an equally important factor in group therapy. On the one hand, group members are also ordinary people with their own visions and features. Group therapy allows them to learn and apply new skills and provides various forms of support, allowing them to take from the therapy what they need most. On the other hand, group rules and a therapist’s presence creates an atmosphere of freedom and trust. In such an environment, the client is can work with deeper problems more easily, which they may hide or avoid in their daily life.
In my experience, group therapy often serves as a catalyst for resolving internal conflicts and understanding ourselves. Sometimes even if someone knows something about themselves, they don’t dare to act and put this new knowledge into practice. Group psychotherapy can serve as impetus for this first step – it’s a kind of breakthrough, and at the same time, a source of fuel and motivation.