Group therapy

Table of contents:
1- What is group therapy?
2- Why is group therapy performed?
3- What does it consist of?
4- How should I prepare for group therapy?
5- Results of group therapy

What is group therapy?

Group psychotherapy is a treatment in which a therapist brings together in the same session a small group of people with often similar emotional problems in order to get them to express their concerns and help each other, under professional moderation.

This type of psychotherapy focuses on the interactions and bonds that arise in the group and is a method that seeks to give people tools to find solutions to their psychological and emotional problems or conflicts.
The objective is to achieve personal growth, emotional balance and empowerment of social skills.

Why is group therapy performed?

Like individual psychotherapy, group therapy is effective in the treatment of problems such as anxiety, depression, chronic or serious illnesses, social problems, personality disorders and traumas, among others. It is a technique widely used in the case of addictions, phobias or eating disorders.

The objective of group therapy is that people empower each other to change desired behaviors and habits in order to resolve a certain conflict or trauma. In many cases it is recommended to break the isolation to which the person resorts when he/she presents emotional and psychological discomfort.

On the other hand, when changes are produced in a group, in most cases they are more stable modifications that last over time.

Group therapy is widely used in the case of addictions, phobias, or eating disorders.
or eating disorders

What does group therapy consist of?

The therapist gathers between five and twelve people to form a group whose objective is to converse in an honest and spontaneous way. The therapist intervenes as a guide and moderator.

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Thanks to the interaction of the group, the patients’ behaviors are modified and their interpersonal relationships are improved. In addition, throughout the sessions and with the support of the therapist, people are encouraged to express their emotions and learn to empathize and listen to the emotions of others.

In addition to listening and talking, the psychologist may ask group members to exchange characters, relive past situations and other specific dynamics in order to make people feel comfortable expressing their emotions.

Preparation for group therapy

Before selecting the members of the group, an evaluation process is usually carried out to prepare the patient for treatment. This is done through three interviews:

  • First interview: focuses on the patient’s reason for consultation, how he talks about his problems, his relationships, his family history, and his work, social and sexual situation.
  • Second interview: detailed information is given about the group therapy and its functioning is described. In addition, the patient’s attitude towards the information provided is taken into consideration.
  • Third interview: the functioning of group therapy and of a particular group is discussed in more detail. The patient’s remaining questions or doubts are answered and the information is expanded to allow him/her to establish his/her own objectives to be achieved in group therapy.

Results of group therapy

Group therapies require an initial period of adaptation among the members of the same group, which usually lasts about 2 months. After this initial period, changes should begin to be felt.

Once the advances are felt, the moment of consolidation is reached, where the members of the group take stock and are able to recognize the changes that help them in their daily lives.
From this point on, it is usual for patients to be afraid of making these changes in reality, without the support of the group. For that reason, in many cases a follow-up by the therapist is required.