Group psychotherapy is a form of treatment in which a small number of people, usually between five and ten, meet together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. This form of therapy is widely used and has been a standard treatment option for over 50 years.
To a great extent, the quality of a person's life depends on the quality of their relationships. Much of our growth and development as human beings occurs in relationship with a number of people simultaneously, such as occurs in families, schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and organized activities such as parties.
The value of group psychotherapy lies in its ability to allow the individual group member to recreate the social aspects of his or her life in a way that is difficult to achieve in one on one therapy. Under the guidance of a trained therapist, the individual, with the help of the other group members, can gain tremendous insight into issues that might be interfering with the enjoyment of life. The group also gives the participant an ideal "laboratory" to develop and experiment with newer, healthier behaviors.
In a number of studies, group psychotherapy has been shown to be at least as effective, and sometimes even more so, than individual therapy. To give just one example, in cases of medical illness, there is substantial evidence that group psychotherapy helps people cope better with their illness, and enhances the quality of their lives.
Group psychotherapy is a special form of therapy in which a small number of people meet together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another.
If you stop and think about it, each of us has been raised in group environments, either through our families, schools, organized activities, or work. These are the environments in which we grow and develop as human beings. Group psychotherapy is no different. It provides a place where you come together with others to share problems or concerns, to better understand your own situation, and to learn from and with each other.
Group therapy helps people learn about themselves and improve their interpersonal relationships. It addresses feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety. And it helps people make significant changes so they feel better about the quality of their lives. Additionally, group therapists can apply the principles of group to other settings and situations such as businesses, schools and community organizations.
Group works! In studies comparing group psychotherapy to individual therapy, group therapy has been shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective. In cases of medical illness, there is substantial evidence that this form of therapy helps people cope better with their illness, enhances the quality of their lives and, in some cases, such as breast cancer, has even been shown to help people live longer.
If you are considering therapy, together you and your therapist can explore the nature of your problem. You will work to develop a better understanding of the problem and discuss what changes might make the situation better.
Who Can Benefit
Like individual therapy, group therapy can benefit almost anyone. Some of the issues typically addressed include:
Difficulties with interpersonal relationships
Problems facing children and adolescents (such as impact from a divorce, peer issues, learning or behavioral problems)
Depression and anxiety
Lifestyle issues within a traditional culture
Our knowledgable grief counselors will come into your environment to help your staff deal with issues of trauma and loss.
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How Grief Therapy Groups Can Help
Grief support groups are an important part of grief counseling and healing from the loss of a loved one. Support Groups in general are excellent opportunities for individuals to deal with issues in a setting which reaffirms the idea that they are not alone with their circumstances. In life we will all deal with grief in its various forms but bereavement in particular has a sense of finality which is perhaps unfair to categorize into the common stages of grief. All we know that sometime we reach out for someone and they are no longer there. Loss of a Child Loss of a Parent Loss of a Pet Loss of a Sibling Loss of a Spouse
Grief Groups Helpful Role Many people dealing with grief believe they are dealing with a very personal issue and they may be correct. However, seeking out the help of a grief counselor or a bereavement group can be a truly empowering and liberating experience. A lot of people feel a tremendous amount of personal guilt if they believe they are not feeling sad enough after the death of loved one. Others may isolate themselves and have no idea how to function and continue on with life with the intense amount of grief they are feeling. Some may bury themselves in grief books looking for answers. The grieving process can be completely debilitating. Fortunately, counselingwill help. Whether it is creating an understanding regarding the lack of, or the intensity of the emotions created by the loss of a loved one, a support group can help someone identify how they are feeling and reinforce the idea that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. This fact alone can help someone suffering an episode of grief to realize that they can move toward a place of hope and create a new sense of what is normal in their lives. Grief Support is not about diminishing the loss of a loved one or even a pet. It is about understanding that there will be a time that someone will look towards the future with the ability to honor the past but not have to live in it. This means that counseling is a way to help someone in bereavement to understand that once the shock of the loss is over, there will be a point where they will reach a new beginning. And whenever this time comes it will feel ok to keep on living without any sense of guilt about the past. This is not to imply that someone needs to forget about the past to live in the present, but more to reinforce the idea that the memories of loved can play a positive the future of someone who is grieving. Regardless of how the loss of a loved one can completely change someone’s life there will be a time that the individual simply must continue to live. It may be a struggle to get to that stage but the support structure of a bereavement group is designed to provide the strength or the little nudges it will take to persevere. Ideally, the group will be led be an experienced grief counselor and have members who are also dealing with somewhat similar circumstances. Sometimes reaching beyond ones traditional and familiar support system will provide extremely powerful results. We all have great friends and family but perhaps others experiencing grief are better suited to relate to the issues at hand. Having said that, there will also be those who feel they have no friends or family to rely on and this makes it even more important to seek out the support of a group with the power to help someone come to terms with the idea of moving forward. Grief Groups Promote Healing As with any type of support group, grief groups are structured in a way to promote healing and to provide tools to coping with loss. They provide a safe environment for individuals to make connections others in similar situations. One of the most important things that can happen within the group dynamic is the establishment of sense of community that can validate that the emotions and reactions to the grief process are normal. There will the opportunity to learn new proven methods to effectively move outside one’s own grief and gain a different perspective through the experiences of other members. Within a grief group individuals will engage in exercises and self exploration designed to promote both healing and personal growth. Even though it might be too simplistic to say that people will learn to move through the five stages of grief and come out the other side because the stages are merely a blueprint of commonalities expressed during grieving, it can be noted that the group structure can provide a direction for individuals to move towards. Regardless of the time someone will commit to grief counseling or a bereavement group believing that the grief will fully resolve itself simply due to the participation in the group would be untrue. Grieving is difficult and the healing work must be done individually but having the support of the other members, and the counselors who lead the group, can really help promote healing and movement into a hopeful mindset filled with unlimited happiness.
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