Group Therapy Advantages: Is It Better Than Individual Therapy?

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Group Therapy Advantages: Is It Better Than Individual Therapy?

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Group Therapy Advantages: Is It Better Than Individual Therapy?

The idea of talking about your deepest, darkest thoughts in a group setting sounds daunting. As a result, people often overlook group therapy as an effective form of therapy. However, we forget that so many people experience the same problems as us, which is one of the advantages of group therapy. Therefore, talking about and sharing these problems with a group can allow us to consider multiple perspectives from people who have lived experiences of our problems. 

The advantages of group therapy are:

  • Support and safety.
  • Access to a broader range of perspectives
  • Inspiration from other’s stories of overcoming the same problems.
  • Insights and tips from other people struggling with the same issues.
  • Quicker uncovering of psychological blind spots.
  • Opportunities to receive as well as give support.
  • More accountability to show up each week.
  • Opportunity to improve our social skills.
  • Reduction in feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Cheaper than individual therapy.

 

Healthy Gamer Group Coaching

Just a reminder that Healthy Gamer Coaching is not a replacement for mental health help from a professional. We cannot diagnose or treat medical illness.

 

What is Group Therapy?

group therapy advantages

Group therapy usually involves a group of people with similar issues and shared experiences. A therapist and co-therapist guide the group and help the group members share their experiences. Each client offers their perspective on each other people’s issues, which facilitates everyone’s growth.

Group sizes can range from as few as two people, such as couples’ therapy, to 6-12 people, such as in addiction groups. Typically groups meet for an hour every week.

Groups can be ‘open’ which means that anyone can enter at any time. They can also be ‘closed’, which means that a group starts with a set number of members. New members cannot join the group without everyone’s agreement.

Usually, groups meet in a safe setting as a psychologist’s office. However, more recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, groups have started to meet online. Moreover, studies show that online therapy seems to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

 

Goals of Group Therapy

The primary goal of group therapy is to promote a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation by sharing collective experiences. It is most effective when a group has a common goal or issue to tackle.

The goals of group therapy are:

  • Create a sense of belonging.
  • Inspire hope in members of the group.
  • Have members learn from each other’s experiences.
  • Reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Reinforce member’s confidence in their ability to regain control of their life.
  • Help members gain insight into how they work by getting positive feedback from other members.

 

Advantages of Group Therapygroup therapy advantages

Support and Safety

The primary advantage of group therapy is that members of a group feel safe and supported. It creates an environment where everyone can feel heard. 

Members of a group typically have shared experiences and are there to discuss similar issues. As a result, they feel secure enough to talk about experiences that they would not feel comfortable sharing otherwise.a

Reduced Loneliness, Isolation, and Alienation

Group therapy assures individuals that they are not alone in their struggles. Being able to see people deal with the same issues that you are facing is very powerful.

Source of Hope and Inspiration

It helps members realize that their problems are not unique to them, and therefore, those problems have solutions. That is a life-changing realization for many people.

Moreover, groups tend to consist of people who have varying levels of success with their issues. Therefore, members can be a source of hope for each other. Someone who has overcome their issue is an inspiration to someone who is not that far along in the journey.

Wider Range of Perspectives

One of the advantages of group therapy is that it allows people to get a broader range of perspectives on their issues. Different people have different ways of viewing their issues, which helps them deal with those problems. Having a variety of options to choose from can be very empowering.

Varied Insights

Similarly, group therapy provides access to a variety of different solutions and insights. What worked for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is advantageous to be able to consider multiple solutions to your problems.

Groups promote the sharing of knowledge. Therefore, members of a group can model healthy behaviors, which increases the efficiency of other people’s growth process. It is easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to make those mistakes yourself and learn the hard way.

Opportunity to Receive Feedbackcommunity

Group therapy provides opportunities for feedback from people who have shared experiences. Usually, when we share our issues or experiences with our peers, they can respond empathically, but they may lack an experiential understanding of our issues.

However, group therapy allows you to receive feedback from people dealing with the same problems. They can share their opinions on your actions, behaviors, and thought patterns. These opinions are invaluable because they come from people who truly understand you.

As a result, they can help you recognize your emotional or psychological blindspots. Group members can act as a mirror; they help you view your problems in a manner that you can’t see by yourself. 

Give and Receive Support

Another advantage of group therapy is that while it is a great way to receive support from other people, it also allows you to provide support. That can help people offset the feeling of only taking and not giving back to other people. It can help you connect to your altruistic and compassionate side.

Accountability

Members of a group can keep each other accountable for tasks and homework between sessions. Not letting other group members down is a powerful motivator.

Enhanced Social Skills

One of the advantages of group therapy is learning how to communicate your thoughts and emotions with other people. Groups typically have an awkward phase in the beginning, when everyone appears to be a stranger. 

However, over time, as members work through their shyness and awkwardness, they learn how to establish rapport with other people. That is a great skill to learn, as not being able to share your feelings properly can lead to a lot of conflict in interpersonal relationships.

Cost-Effective

Group therapy usually involves one or two psychologists and up to 15 group members. The time and effort investment for psychologists is much less than individual therapy. Therefore, group therapy is a cost-effective option for people who cannot commit to individual therapy for financial reasons.

 

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Individual therapy allows you to get personalized attention, which is a disadvantage of group therapy.

 

Disadvantages of Group Therapy

Sometimes groups are not suited to particular situations. Here are some disadvantages of group therapy.

Lack of Individual Attention

In group therapy, a therapist divides their attention across multiple individuals. Moreover, some people share more than others, which means that groups can sometimes fail to address a particular individual’s concerns.

Lower Level of Confidentiality

Groups are typically made aware that anything shared in the session should only stay with the group members. However, because groups consist of multiple people, the potential for a confidentiality breach is much higher than individual therapy.

In Healthy Gamer Group Coaching, which is conducted online, clients are not likely to run into each other because our clients are from all over the world. Moreover, they can use aliases/nicknames to protect their confidentiality.

Unmotivated members Can Avoid Being Accountable

A highly motivated member can benefit greatly from group therapy. They can learn from and model behaviors that have brought success to their peers.

However, unmotivated members can observe other people’s successes and feel good about them, but fail to make changes in their life. If they are not motivated enough, it is difficult for them to stay accountable to the group.

Healthy Gamer Coaching is different. We check in with each group member and encourage in-group accountability.

Less Flexible Schedule

Groups typically meet at fixed locations at fixed times. Therefore, there is less flexibility in the schedule. Rescheduling for one person would mean rescheduling the entire group.

Not Suitable for Certain Individuals

Individuals with specific issues might not be able to use groups to their full advantage. People who are too antisocial, extremely shy, impulsive, passive-aggressive, have psychosis, etc. might not be able to fit into the group, and as a result, may not reap its benefits.

 

When is Group Therapy NOT Suitable

Group therapy is not suitable in the following situations:

  • If you have particular concerns and feel that you need personalized attention, group therapy may not be for you. However, it is suitable for many general issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, suicidality, addiction, anger management, relationship problems, etc.
  • If you have a packed schedule and feel like you would need to reschedule often, then individual therapy may be a better choice.
  • Group therapy can be difficult if you are too socially inexperienced or have social anxiety that prevents you from functioning.
  • The pace of group therapy can vary from time to time. If you find yourself getting frustrated with the group’s pace, it might be a good idea to consider individual therapy.

 

The Differences Between Individual vs. Group Therapy

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Is group therapy better than individual therapy? Not necessarily. Both forms of therapy address different needs and are more suitable in different situations. Here are the differences between group therapy and individual therapy.

  • Group therapy allows you to get various perspectives from other people, while in individual therapy, you are limited to your therapist’s perspective.
  • The client receives full attention in individual therapy, whereas, in group therapy, the attention gets divided.
  • In individual therapy, the therapist can tailor the pace of the sessions to the client. However, in group therapy, multiple members of the group dictate the pace.
  • Individual therapy allows for a more flexible schedule than group therapy.
  • Individual therapy is typically more expensive than group therapy.
  • Individuals with social anxiety or similar problems that do not allow them to function in social settings would be better suited to individual therapy than group therapy.
  • Group therapy fosters a sense of belonging which individual therapy can lack.

 

If group therapy feels like it might be the option for you, we also encourage you to try Healthy Gamer Group Coaching.

The Healthy Gamer Coaching Program allows you to work with a Healthy Gamer Coach (trained by Dr. Alok Kanojia) to tackle issues like video game addiction, motivation, procrastination, relationships, and more. The 12 session minimum usually spans three months, giving plenty of time to put the discussion into action.

Healthy Gamer Coaches create effective, targeted personal growth strategies in a casual environment. All sessions are virtual. 

However, please remember that HG Coaching cannot replace medical treatment for mental illness. We cannot diagnose illness or prescribe medication.

 

Healthy Gamer Group Coaching

Just a reminder that Healthy Gamer Coaching is not a replacement for mental health help from a professional. We cannot diagnose or treat medical illness.

 

Conclusion

Group therapy has several advantages, which we often overlook in favor of individual therapy. If you feel alone, isolated, or alienated, group therapy may be more suitable to you than individual therapy. Being part of a group is a powerful thing, as it can keep you accountable and help you move forward in life.

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