6 Benefits of Group Therapy NYC
Everyone deserves a chance to experience the healing power of group therapy.
Understanding that we are not alone in our pain has the potential to transform our lives and our communities.
Sometimes we feel so isolated, inadequate, and lost in our own problems that we forget we share space with other human beings who are also going through challenges. Some of our difficulties are more universal than we think and connect us to one another no matter how far we are or where we are from.
We are unique, but we are all in this together.
Group therapy allows you to recognize that hardship is part of common humanity. It provides you with a valuable opportunity to share, learn, empathize, and grow alongside others.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy refers to a form of treatment where a therapist works with a group of five to 10 clients simultaneously to provide psychotherapy.
The goal is to address challenges, shift unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, and develop interpersonal skills and coping strategies through open discussions in a group environment.
Groups can follow a free-form or a planned format. In free-form groups, members lead the discussion and participate as much as they want, supported by the therapist’s guidance. In structured or planned groups, the therapist may have a designated schedule with activities and lessons outlined for the group.
There are different types of group therapy, including:
- Process-Oriented Groups: These groups focus on the social interaction between members as a healing route. Sharing concerns, feeling accepted by others, and providing feedback can spark significant growth among members. The therapist moderates the discussion but doesn’t completely take over the session.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Groups: These groups help identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors by transforming beliefs and perceptions. The therapist takes an active approach without affecting the members’ ability to participate.
- Psychoeducational Groups: These groups aim to educate members about a particular mental health challenge and the coping mechanisms associated with it. Group members typically share the same issue. The therapist serves as an instructor to provide information and show practical strategies.
- Skills Development Groups: These groups center on learning or improving social, emotional, or behavioral skills. The therapist will teach members about self-awareness, emotional regulation, interpersonal relationships, communication techniques, and more.
Some people opt for group therapy in addition to individual therapy, as it is an excellent way to complement the work done during one-on-one sessions.
Who Can Benefit From Group Therapy?
Group therapy can support people of all ages and walks of life, including children, teens, and adults.
The beauty of group therapy is that it adds a layer of community care that has proven effective when treating mental health challenges.
Group therapy can help with a broad range of problems, such as:
- Anxiety disorders (general anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, etc.)
- Anger management
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic stress
- Communication difficulties
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Low self-esteem
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship issues
- And more!
Like individual therapy, you do not need to have a mental health condition or be in the middle of a major crisis to see the benefits of group therapy.
If you want to learn more about your relational self or enhance your social skills, group therapy may be an excellent approach for you.
How Group Therapy NYC Works
In most cases, groups will meet in a room with seats arranged in a big circle or “U” shape so that all members can face each other. The sessions may start with introductions for members explain what brought them to group therapy and what they hope to accomplish.
Group therapy is led by one or more licensed mental health professionals trained to provide evidence-based knowledge and tools to all members.
Group therapy sessions can last between one to two hours and happen once or twice a week, depending on the group. Some groups are open to the public for anyone to join at any time. Others are closed only to allow certain members to participate, start and end at a set time.
Groups tend to go through the following development stages:
- Forming: At the beginning of group therapy, members may feel weary or anxious. They might be hesitant about what to expect from the treatment and other members. The group will rely on the therapist’s direction to establish clear goals, expectations, and boundaries.
- Storming: As therapy progresses, participants will feel more and more comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences with others. This process may prompt some conflict as differences arise. The therapist will be there to act as a moderator during difficult situations or power struggles, encouraging group members to support each other and reinforcing the purpose of treatment.
- Norming: During this stage, members will start taking a more active role in discussions, finding commonalities, and strengthening their connections. The therapist will continue to facilitate the conversation and provide feedback when needed. If further conflicts come up, the therapist will help solve them and aim to carry on with the treatment.
- Performing: At this point, the group’s interaction has developed a life of its own. Members know each other well and continue to support and lift one another in an effective manner. The therapist’s need to intervene decreases considerably.
- Adjourning: This is the last stage, when treatment is coming to an end. Participants may feel sad or anxious about completing the sessions and will be encouraged to share closing thoughts. The idea is to ensure members have a plan to follow outside of group therapy, with useful strategies, insight, and tools to move forward.
Every group is as unique as its members. Some groups may revert to a previous stage or get stuck on a specific phase for a while. Others may exhibit signs from different stages all at once.
Consider these phases as a reference of what the process may look like rather than what it “should” be. Remember that healing is not necessarily linear, so there might be a few bumps along the way.
Benefits of Group Therapy
1. Group Therapy Helps You Feel Supported
While in group therapy, you will meet individuals with similar thoughts, emotions, and goals. Sharing common concerns and life experiences will help you feel seen and supported. It will also boost your sense of belonging and trust.
You will come to realize you are not alone as you feel accepted and understood by other members. Their acknowledgment may be comforting and might bring some relief to your pain.
2. Group Therapy Instills Hope
Each member of the group will be going through different stages of the healing process. Some may be at the beginning, struggling to cope. Others may be in the middle, facing continuous setbacks. While some might be successfully recovering.
Watching other participants handle the same issues, learn from difficulties, grow, and evolve will give you hope. You will see that change is possible as you witness their progress, no matter the obstacles.
3. Group Therapy Offers a Safe Space
Group therapy sessions offer a private and controlled environment to share your thoughts and feelings. Participants have the opportunity to speak about their past or ongoing experiences without scrutiny or pressure.
You will have the chance to put your coping mechanisms into action within the safety and protection of a like-minded community. If you are doing group therapy in tandem with individual treatment, you can apply the knowledge acquired in your one-on-one sessions with the group. You can also share what comes up during group discussions in individual therapy to tie it all together.
4. Group Therapy Provides Insight Into Yourself and Others
Members will learn a lot about each other and the therapist as they share their stories. They can provide different perspectives and feedback to help others, which in turn may improve their confidence and self-esteem.
Participants can also observe and imitate the actions of their peers and therapist—some will even serve as role models or supporting figures during the recovery process.
As you interact with the group, you will gain a deeper insight into yourself, how you react and impact others. Hearing other points of view can also shift your paradigms or give you new ideas on how to approach future challenges.
5. Group Therapy Teaches You Social Skills
Members tend to recreate family and social dynamics with the group, reenacting behaviors that may have shaped their lives and personalities. With the group’s feedback and the therapist’s support, participants can also learn effective and healthier ways to interact in a social setting. This includes improving communication skills, setting boundaries, managing emotions, and more.
You will be able to grasp and practice new interpersonal strategies and coping skills. The idea is to walk out of group therapy feeling equipped and empowered to apply them with your family, friends, colleagues, and community.
6. Group Therapy Holds You Accountable
Sharing your healing journey with a group, learning from their experiences, and seeing the impact you may have on one another is extremely powerful. It adds an accountability factor to the treatment process.
You will gain responsibility for your path and choices, becoming more aware of how your actions may affect those around you.
Group Therapy and Therapists
Some people believe that group therapy consists of a therapist offering individual advice to a group of people in a room, one by one. Yet, group therapy is not a combination of individual therapy sessions in the same place.
While the guidance of a therapist is essential, the members’ participation and interaction are crucial to the effect of group therapy.
The therapist’s role will vary depending on the group therapy type, mental health condition or skill focus, treatment goals, and therapeutic orientation. For example, the therapist may play a more active part in teaching members of psychoeducational and skills groups, but more of a facilitator role in process-oriented groups.
Regardless of the kind of group you are in, the therapist will get to know all members, observe their behaviors, identify healthy and unhealthy patterns, and offer recommendations when appropriate.
Your therapist may suggest you try both individual and group therapy at the same time. This approach will allow your counselor to evaluate how you act in a social setting and use that information when assessing your progress.
What Should I Keep in Mind When Joining Group Therapy NYC ?
- Attendance: Both the therapist and the group commit to attending all sessions on time. This will ensure you don’t miss any valuable interactions or information and preserve the group’s integrity. Be there on time and stay for the whole session.
- Participation: While you are not forced to share your thoughts and feelings at any point, participation is key to the recovery process. Group offers a space for sharing and engaging, and it is up to you to make the most of it. Opening up, discussing, and connecting with others is what keeps the group running and growing. Be ready to participate.
- Confidentiality: Knowing that you are sharing a private and safe space with others allows you to trust the group and reinforces the support system. Be sure to keep confidentiality at all times.
Book Your Group Therapy NYC Session Today
If you or your loved one are suffering or considering group therapy, we are happy to help.
We work with teens, young adults, and adults from diverse cultures, religious backgrounds, orientations, and identities to support them in reaching a Body-Mind-Spirit balance.
Our team of psychologists has extensive expertise on a wide variety of symptoms and therapeutic modalities. We combine multiple approaches, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Relational Therapy, and more to provide a high-quality group experience with lasting results.
Treatment begins with a consultation, where we will ask you a few questions to get to know you, your concerns, and your wellness goals. We will then pair you up with the therapist and therapy approach (or approaches) that best fit your particular needs and personality.
We offer in-person sessions and teletherapy appointments, so you can choose what works best for you.
Whether you have questions about our group therapy service or are ready to give group therapy a try, contact us.
Together, we can find a path to your well-being.
If you are ready to get started, book an appointment or call us at 212-506-5935 today!
We are here for you.