There are many benefits to traditional one-on-one counseling, but this approach is not best for everyone.
If you are looking for a way to engage in professional counseling but are unsure about individual therapy sessions, consider group therapy. Group therapy is the less-common, often-overlooked alternative to individual counseling—and it is the better choice for many people!
There are several different types of group therapy. You may want to experiment with them all to find what works best for you. Support groups, however, are especially popular, and they are a great place to start if you are not sure where to begin.
Below, we will discuss five specific reasons for trying a support group setting.
1: You Are Held Accountable
Your support group members will always hold you accountable for the commitments and promises you make. While it’s true an individual therapist can also hold you accountable for your actions, you may find that you are more likely to keep your word when a whole group of people is counting on you.
Support group settings naturally breed strong accountability. In a support group, you will frequently check in with the other members and share your struggles or victories as you progress. With a team of peers cheering you on, you will be more motivated to stick to your goals.
2: You Can Learn From the Journeys of Others
In a support group, you are surrounded by people who are all going through similar struggles. These people have likely walked in your shoes and know just how you are feeling, which means they also know what will help you to feel better.
In group therapy, every member is free to offer up advice, thoughts or suggestions. You can greatly benefit from the contributions of other group members in addition to the suggestions of the therapist or group leader.
3: You Have an Automatic Support System
Even the people who love us most can be unintentionally cruel toward us. For example, perhaps you feel frustrated or hurt by your loved ones who cannot understand what you are going through. Or maybe you feel judged by others who don’t relate to your struggles.
Regardless, a support group provides a built-in community of people who want to uplift and validate you. Even simply showing up to group therapy and listening quietly every week can help you feel less alone and misunderstood.
4: You Can Improve Your Social Skills
Sharper social skills are one of the best benefits of attending support groups. After all, when you participate in group therapy, you practice public speaking, active listening, and empathetic conversing on a regular basis.
As you work through your challenges as a group, you will spend weeks becoming emotionally vulnerable and intimate with people who started out as strangers. And by the end of it all, you just might have made a few friends along the way!
5: You Will Gain a New Perspective
Individual therapy can be incredibly valuable for many people. During one-on-one counseling, however, you are limited to the insights and feedback of one therapist. When you work with multiple people at one time, you benefit from their varied opinions and responses.
Support groups and group therapy sessions offer the advantage of a mixed pool of personalities and backgrounds. Support groups will likely introduce you to people from all walks of life whom you otherwise would not have met. Through working with those who are different from you and who have all sorts of different perspectives, you will become more open to different coping methods and treatment approaches.
If you are ready to try attending a support group, our office offers groups for women who experience divorce and a support group for parents! We can also provide you with other local group meetings. Contact us today to learn more!
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