Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves the use of a group method of treating psychological problems, in other words, a group of people meets in a specific place and at a specific time under the supervision of a psychotherapist. There are many areas of group psychotherapy. Psychodynamic, gestalt, trainings for personal growth and professional skills, psychoanalytic groups, support groups for experiencing certain states, dance and movement therapy, psychodrama.
About group therapy and group dynamics can be said for a long time, it is almost inexhaustible and very interesting topic. These are groups in which participants have therapeutic relationships with the leaders. The therapeutic group can be viewed as a collection of individuals, where each participant is a unique person and has unique goals and objectives.
Such people will talk about what is usually accepted to be silent. On such groups, people open their cards to better know themselves, in the process of interacting with others. Within the group, they see the usual difficulties in the relationship and, at the same time, a new opportunity and a chance to resolve it.
Group therapy differs from individual therapy in more effective conditions. Just to talk in front of group you need a lot of courage. Everything, as in life: a certain competition, the ability to give in or insist, to make your right choice and much more. The group always sees more widely than one person. Therapeutic changes in the group occur through the difficult interaction of various components of a person’s life experience, which can be considered as therapeutic factors.
Types and methods
Today, there are several main types of group therapy:
- Group discussion;
- Group family therapy;
- Projective drawing;
- Music therapy;
- Drama therapy;
- Isotherapy, etc.
Group psychotherapy involves the use of various methods: self-help groups, psychodrama, group-analytical method and others. The choice of a particular technique depends on the patient’s problems. Experienced psychotherapists in medical centers conduct group sets designed to solve a variety of problems.
Group therapy techniques:
- Paraphrasing statements;
- Facilitation of communication;
- Discussion of the problem;
- Emotion identification;
- Behavior identification;
- Rehearsal for adequate behavior;
Group therapy objectives can be:
- resolution of internal conflicts of participants,
- removal of emotional and mental stress,
- getting rid of fears and anxiety,
- correction of deviations in certain forms of behavior,
- development of skills and abilities of emotional response and adaptive behavior,
- establishing effective interpersonal interaction
- other maladaptive problems that can be corrected or treated in psychotherapeutic practice.
Problem solving with the help of a professional psychotherapist in group therapy is different from individual psychotherapy, in which communication takes place one-on-one between the client and the therapist.
The format of group therapy allows people who have difficulties in communicating and building relationships not only to realize the destructive mechanisms of response and behavior, but also to work them out in direct communication in a psychotherapeutic group, receiving feedback from both the therapist and each member of the group.
This advantage of group psychotherapy applies to both interpersonal relationships and close relationships in which difficulties or barriers arise associated with the achievement of openness, sincerity, mutual understanding and emancipation.
In group therapy, one or more therapists work with a small group of clients. Psychologists recognize a positive therapeutic effect that could not be obtained in individual therapy. For example – interpersonal problems are solved in groups.
The goal of group psychotherapy is to emotionally support difficult decisions and to stimulate the personal development of the group members. The combination of past experiences and experiences outside the therapeutic group, interactions between group members and the therapist, becomes the material through which therapy is delivered. These interactions can be perceived not only as positive, since the issues that the client faces in daily life are inevitably reflected in the interaction with the group. This provides an opportunity to work through problems in a therapeutic setting, producing experiences that can then be translated into “real life.”
The task of the therapist working with the group is to support the processes of therapy and preserve the necessary boundaries of the group. The force that makes changes on the personal level is the group itself, not its leader. This is a very important point.