Group Psychotherapy

Group psychotherapy is a very effective treatment for many disorders. It’s an excellent way to treat people who suffer from social anxiety because it allows them to interact with others in a safe environment and learn how to communicate better.

Group Psychotherapy means changing and healing thoughts, feelings, and communicating skills. Group psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a procedural treatment for suitable patients and/or clients, consisting of 3 to 20 people, administered by group psychotherapists.

Which disorders can benefit from group psychotherapy?

Group therapy can help people overcome depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions. There are also benefits of group therapy that extend beyond the patient into their family and friends as well.

Fundementals of Group Psychotherapy

A group of people interacts with each other in small rooms.

They have the opportunity to understand each other better and change themselves.

Group managers who are good at different subjects use different techniques to provide change and dynamics in the Group Psychotherapy.

The most important feature of group psychotherapies is that the members of the group receive feedback from the other members as well as the manager

Another feature is that both the individual and the therapist are able to observe the mental, emotional and behavioral responses of the patient/client in their natural forms.

What Are The Benefits of Group Therapies?

Group therapies offer many benefits, including the opportunity to meet other people who have been diagnosed with similar conditions, which can be a significant source of support.

In addition to sharing stories and experiences with one another, members can participate in learning self-help skills from group leaders and members who are trained in the process. Group therapies also offer a way for psychiatrists or psychologists to evaluate someone’s progress while they’re receiving care.

Not only that, but receiving treatment from their peers offers access to social supports both inside and outside of the therapeutic setting–something not possible when attending traditional individual therapy sessions by themselves. In short: It helps you stick with an already difficult-to-follow regimen!

Types of Group Therapies

Group therapy can be broadly defined as “a talking therapy where several people meet to discuss their common emotional problems and contribute openly to the therapeutic process.” There are two major types of group therapy: un-directed and directed. Un-directed group therapy is based on the shared experience of just being there with others, sharing your experiences, and forming alliances for support.

This type of group talk relies more on the natural interaction between participants rather than explicit instructions from a professional therapist. A directed type of group work often reflects more conventional patterns such as leading groups through guided exercises that focus on change or problem solving. Group members are usually trained in techniques that allow them to give each other feedback or reflect each other’s feelings back in ways that empower themselves.

In addition to those two types, there are many different psychotherapies for different problems. Supportive, analytical, psychodramatic-sociometric, cognitive-behavioral, interactive, family and peer group, educational, self-helping are some of those different types of group therapies.

Group Psychotherapists and Managers

Usually, one administrator and 1-2 assistant managers manage the group psychotherapy. If the assistant managers are also trained, they can take control.

Administrators of group psychotherapy can be determined by the certificates. 

The History of Cognitive Group Therapies

group psychotherapy 2
J.L Moreno Source

J.L Moreno is considered to be one of the pioneers of cognitive group therapies. He is the founder of the International Association For Group Psychotherapy. J. L. Moreno developed a unique method called Psychodramatic Sociometric Group Psychotherapy.

  • Typical: Supportive, psychoanalytic, group analysis, psychodynamic-relational, psychodrama, transactional, cognitive behavioral, self-helping groups.
  • Patient Wise: Homogeneous groups can be formed with patients with the same diagnosis. For example: eating disorders, alcohol and substance use, schizophrenic disorder.
  • Time Wise: A weekend study, long-term treatment groups, four-to-seven-year professional training groups, or open-ended groups would do.

Group meetings are held in hospitals and are mostly conducted in team management with the participation of all patients. In addition, group psychotherapies work with patients individually selected for the group.

In special conditions, the group forms with the choices made among the applicants in examinations, psychotherapy centers, psychotherapy workshops, psychological counseling, and therapy centers and institutes.

Characteristics of the Group

Size: It is carried out with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 20 members. There may be some medium and large group practices (more than 20; more than 60). Most group psychotherapists work with 8-12 members.

Session frequency: Sessions are held usually once a week (45 minutes – 3 hours). There are also intensive (21 hours at the weekend, one week every day) and marathon group exercises (72 hours with little sleep).

Setting: Group psychotherapies are available both inpatient and outpatient in hospitals as well as in counseling and treatment centers, psychotherapy centers, institutes, and workshops.

Some groups do not receive new members after they have started. It continues with the same members even if the number of groups decreases. In semi-closed groups, new members can join according to the decreased number of members. 

Patient / Client Selection

Group therapists usually make decisions by determining at least a few individual interviews when identifying the appropriate individuals for the group. They may want some psychological tests.

Here are some criteria for selection and exclusion:

Peer distress: People with borderline and schizoid personality disorders are not comfortable in group settings.

Social phobia: If these people can manage to overcome their phobia it is the ideal treatment environment for them.

People with antisocial personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder: These people do not feel good in mixed groups. However, it’s not a strict exclusion criterion.

Group psychotherapy can be effective on:

  • Anxiety disorders (Panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, chronic stress disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, social phobia, dissociative disorders, conversion disorder, somatization disorder, hypochondriasis)
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance and alcohol addiction
  • Complicated grief disorder
  • Childhood traumas
  • Chronic physical diseases
  • Physical disorders associated with emotional states
  • Problems in School
  • Problems in Work
  • Parenting education
  • Adapting to changes in life
  • Awareness, insight, and personal development

Last Updated on December 15, 2023 by Lucas Berg


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