Group therapy differs from individual therapy by holding therapeutic sessions in a group setting run by a therapist instead of in a private one-on-one setting with a therapist. In these group sessions, clients share their thoughts and experiences within the group among their peers. During group process clients often identify with others who have similar challenges while forming a bond of cohesive support for each other. While you will benefit from both individual and group, group therapy provides valuable peer support. Group members hold each other accountable in the treatment process. Clients will develop and fine tune their interpersonal skills as they gain new insight into their addiction.
Advantage of Group therapy:
- Group therapy assures the client that they are not alone and that others share similar problems and struggles.
- Group therapy offers the opportunity to both receive support from others and to give support to others. Both of these notions are important in treatment. Receiving support from others is part of the bonding or therapeutic alliance that occurs in groups, whereas giving support to others allows for growth and learning.
- The therapeutic alliance that occurs in groups is broader than the alliance that occurs in individual therapy. This allows for the incorporation of many different points of view.
- Group therapy helps the development of communication and socialization skills, and allows clients to learn how to express their issues and accept criticism from others.
- Group therapy allows clients to develop self-awareness by listening to others with similar issues.
- Group therapy provides a broad safety net for individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to discuss their feelings or perceived weaknesses.
- Clients in group therapy can model the successful behaviors of others who have gone through similar experiences. Modeling is a form of learning where clients learn by copying or imitating the actions of others.
- Group therapy is typically less expensive than individual therapy.
Disadvantages of Group therapy:
- The level of confidentiality in groups is far less secure than it is an individual therapy. Although group members are generally instructed that the information and events that occur in the group are to be held confidential and only to be shared with group members during therapy, the potential for a breach of confidentiality is far greater in group therapy.
- Groups typically meet at specific times. There is less opportunity to fit the therapy into one’s personal schedule.
- Group therapy may be inappropriate for certain types of individuals, such as individuals who are extremely antisocial, extremely shy, impulsive, passive-aggressive and or psychotic.