How Does Group Counseling Work?
Group sizes depend on how many patients we currently have in our care but can range from 3-15. These groups meet throughout your care, and you will typically be among the same people for the duration of your time with us.
So, what does a typical group therapy session look like? In many cases, the group will meet in a room where the chairs are arranged in a large circle, or around a table, so that each member can see every other person in the group. Sessions usually have a fixed topic that will be discussed, or an activity that is planned to put the principle of the group into practice.
The precise manner in which the session is conducted depends largely on the goals of the group and the style of the counselor. Some counselors might encourage a more free-form style of dialogue, where each member participates as he or she sees fit. Other therapists instead have a specific plan for each session that might include having clients practice new skills with other members of the group.
The Principles of Group Counseling
- The instillation of hope: The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
- Universality: Being part of a group of people who have the same experiences helps people see that what they are going through is universal and that they are not alone.
- Imparting information: Group members can help each other by sharing information.
- Altruism: Group members can share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
- The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. They can also learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in real life.
- Development of socialization techniques: The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
- Interpersonal learning: By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and the therapist, members of the group can gain a greater understanding of themselves.
- Group cohesiveness: Because the group is united in a common goal, members gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
- Catharsis: Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt, or stress.
- Existential factors: While working within a group offers support and guidance, group therapy helps member realize that they are responsible for their own lives, actions, and choices.