Getting the Most Out of Group Therapy

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learn the ground rules for group therapy in rehab at www.BetterAddictionCare.com

If you are in group therapy for emotional or behavioral issues, you should know the ground rules for group therapy. Group therapy is an open forum for small groups to meet together with a therapist to discuss areas of concern and to acquire a better understanding of your own personal issues. It is also a safe haven where you are able to socialize with others, improve your communication and social skills, and support and help one another. Here is a list of great tips for getting the most out of group therapy:

  1. Group therapy is a non-judgmental space where judgment, criticism and blame have no place. If you have advice for one of the group members, then offer it in a friendly way. Members should treat each other with respect and encourage and support each other.
  2. One of our tips for getting the most out of group therapy is to be yourself. Don’t join the group with a preconceived idea of what you think you are supposed to be. Just be yourself, as you are at this time in your life. Be yourself and ask questions about the things that are concerning you. If you are feeling scared or confused, say so. Be brave enough to reveal the things that are bothering you, so that you can learn more about your self and how you can rectify issues and situations. Change can only take place if you are willing to expose the things that are holding you back. Get theses issues out in the open and you can deal with them effectively with the help of the therapist and other group members. Your reward will be great because you will be free from these strongholds that had you bound.
  3. Ground rules for group therapy also involves giving and receiving feedback. The purpose of feedback is to help identify patterns of unrecognized attitudes, inconsistencies and personal presentation. Feedback should be concise but specific, and can represent what you have experienced and your feelings on the subject. Feedback should be timely, respectful and related to the goals of the individual. You can receive feedback from members in the group by asking them for their opinion.
  4. Take time to speak about yourself, even if you think that other members have more pressing issues than you. You are all there to be helped and no one is more important than another.
  5. Tips for getting the most out of group therapy also include thinking first before you give advice. Most of us have knee-jerk reactions that may not be based on fact. Take the time to assess your response before offering advice, solutions and suggestions.
  6. How to get the most out of group therapy means discussing what is happening here and now. If something is being avoided, or one member is dominating the group, it should be brought up for discussion. You should share your feelings, thoughts and reactions about any situation, subject or person as issues arise.
  7. One of the most important tips for getting the most out of group therapy is for all members to offer empathy, validation and acceptance to each other. Be a good listener and show other members that you care about them. It is not always about fixing a problem, sometimes it is enough to know that you have a support group of friends who are on your side.

The ground rules for group therapy provide the insight to discover new things about yourself. There may be things you would like to change about now that you are aware of them. Learn to set goals based on what you have learned in group therapy, and continue to reassess, change and discover new ways of thinking and behaving after you have left your group. You can model new behaviors that you have witnessed from others that you find attractive and helpful. There is no end to the possibilities once you become aware of them. This is how to get the most out of group therapy.

 

 

Resources:

http://studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/caps/clinical_services/grouptherapy/grouptips.html

http://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/uploads/how_to_get_the_most_out_of_your_group_therapy_experience.pdf