Written by Lauren Helm
The Benefits of Group Therapy
Image source: www.mental-illness-resources.com
Though it may be intimidating to envision sharing your path of recovery and well-being with a group of others (who are admittedly, at least initially, strangers), group therapy may be a worthwhile alternative to pursuing individual psychotherapy. It is often more cost-effective than individual therapy, and yet can be just as efficacious as therapy provided one-on-one.
At CSAM, we offer evidence-based group therapy treatments that are structured in approach, but also allow you to connect with others while you learn more effective ways of responding to anxiety or other related disorders. The therapist both teaches and guides group members through exercises geared towards helping each person make significant changes in their lives.
Our CSAM therapist, Dr. Michelle Lopez, regularly leads a cutting-edge cognitive behavioral group, called the Unified Protocol for the Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders. The group helps you to understand the nature of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, the role they play in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders and depression, and how to begin reclaiming your life. If you’d like to learn more about these groups, feel free to reach out to us!
Above and beyond the useful informational content that the group offers, there are added benefits to receiving therapy in a group setting. Here we briefly review a few (though not all) of Yalom’s therapeutic factors that may occur in group therapy:
When you participate in a group and share your experiences with others, you may become more and more aware of the shared nature of human experiencing (including pain and joy), thus creating a sense of universality, and reducing feelings of isolation or aloneness. FYI, a sense of common humanity is connected to self-compassion and optimal well-being!
Group therapy offers opportunities to practice compassion and other altruistic behaviors towards one another, enhancing a sense of connection to others as well as your connection to yourself. You can also be a role model for others: Studies find that kindness breeds kindness.
Instillation of hope
Each of us is resilient in our own way, and we can share with others how we have persevered despite extreme difficulty, offering hope and inspiration to one another.
Often, we have learned very practical information about how to navigate various aspects of life that others may benefit from. Imparting information is also a form of social support, which can positively impact our physical and emotional health.
Development of socializing techniques & Interpersonal learning
A group setting may allow members to practice new social and communication skills in a safe environment with the support of the therapist. This may lead to more satisfying interpersonal relationships.
These are but a few of the benefits that may be experienced as a result of participating in group therapy. If you’d like to learn more about the group therapy that CSAM offers, click here. You can also call our clinic to see if any groups will be offered in the near future so that you can experience the benefits of group therapy for yourself!
If you'd like to speak with a professional at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management for help with anxiety, please click here.
Barlow, D. H., Farchione, T. J., Fairholme, C. P., Ellard, K. K., Boisseau, C. L., Allen, L. B., & May, J. T. E. (2010). Unified protocol for transdiagnostic treatment of emotional disorders: Therapist guide. Oxford University Press.
Ellard, K. K., Fairholme, C. P., Boisseau, C. L., Farchione, T. J., & Barlow, D. H. (2010). Unified protocol for the transdiagnostic treatment of emotional disorders: Protocol development and initial outcome data. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17(1), 88-101.
Ellis, A. (1992). Group rational-emotive and cognitive-behavioral therapy.International journal of group psychotherapy.
Farchione, T. J., Fairholme, C. P., Ellard, K. K., Boisseau, C. L., Thompson-Hollands, J., Carl, J. R., ... & Barlow, D. H. (2012). Unified protocol for transdiagnostic treatment of emotional disorders: a randomized controlled trial.Behavior therapy, 43(3), 666-678.
Yalom and Leszcz (2005) The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, 5th edition, Basic Books p. 272