Taking a step forward and deciding to work on your mental health is a big step towards your overall well-being. However, once you’ve decided to take that step, the next decision you will need to make is where to start. Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, you may begin by visiting a psychologist for talk therapy, a psychiatrist for medical management, or possibly both.
Both psychologists and psychiatrists provide you with the ability to work with them one-on-one. However, some therapists may even offer group therapy sessions. Group therapy sessions are often led by a single counselor or therapist and can contain a varying number of members. They are also centered around a theme that all of the members have in common and members will usually discuss their struggles and triumphs, as well as provide advice for other members.
With any type of psychological or psychiatric treatment, it is important to determine what works best for you. Ultimately, everyone reacts differently to similar things, therefore one approach may or may not be beneficial for you. However, group therapy sessions may be right for you if:
You Feel Alone
Attending group therapy where the other members are experiencing something similar to you can help you realize that you are not alone and that others have an understanding of what you are going through. Often times, group members will develop a bond over shared experiences that allows them to feel supported by one another.
You want to improve your social skills
Group therapy sessions provide the perfect opportunity to work on how you interact with others. While individual therapy is helpful for introspection, the dynamics of group therapy are more similar to real life scenarios. If you find yourself struggling with communication, personal relationships, and social interactions, group therapy can help you develop skills that can help.
You feel lost
If the situation you’re going through makes you feel completely lost, like you don’t even know where to begin, listening to others who have experienced a similar situation can help. Often times, different group members will provide advice based on their experiences. While their advice may not always be perfect for you, it can help to give you a direction to find something that does work.
You like helping others
Not only does group therapy give you a place to discuss your situation and gain feedback from other members, but you can also give feedback as well. Helping another person with their situation can make you feel better and boost your self-confidence as well. This also provides you with a chance to earn praise from the group, which can also be a self-confidence boost.
You don’t know how to tell your family
Sometimes there are cases where you may be struggling with something that you don’t know how to communicate with your family. Although family support has been found to be beneficial to mental health, being able to talk candidly with your family about the situation is a key step to obtaining that support. By talking about your situation out loud with other group members, you can prepare yourself for speaking with family members in the future.
Overall, group therapy may be right for you if you feel alone, want to improve your social skills, feel lost, like to help others, and don’t know how to tell your family something. Group therapy offers a safe space where you can work on your mental health with the expertise of a mental health professional and the support of other group members going through something similar. If you have made the decision to start working on your mental health and are unsure where to start, you may want to speak to your local psychologist about nearby groups.
Dr. Miller is trained in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also trained in Anesthesia and Pain Management. Because of her broad experience, Dr. Miller is uniquely qualified to treat psychological trauma, depression and anxiety that can occur as a result of injury or disability. For more information, schedule a consultation at NJ Family Psychiatry & Therapy.