Is group counseling for me?
Good question! Probably so. Group counseling is no different than individual or couples counseling in that it’s purpose is to help you become a better version of yourself. The format by which it achieves that purpose differs from other counseling services. Group therapy gathers three or more folx together who have similar personal or interpersonal concerns to learn, explore, challenge, and/or find solutions as a collective with the direction of a mental health professional. In short, if you are open to growing in the presence of more than two people — Yea, this one’s for you.
How can I benefit from group counseling?
- …takes you out of isolation.
- … gives your real time feedback.
- … provides a safe practice space.
- … gives your greater perspective.
- … costs less than individual or couples counseling.
- … provides multiple sources of support and motivation.
- … offers you the chance to build healthy lasting relationships.
What are the types of group counseling?
Psychoeducational groups aim to educate you. Think of these groups as workshops. Psychoeducation is a process used to provide you with contextual information about your concerns. They tend to have more of a classroom vibe with most of the focus being on the group leader. There is little or only surface level conversation about your personal life.
The purpose of these groups tend to be preventative or growth oriented in nature. They make you aware of coping strategies and additional resources relevant to you.
The size of psychoeducational groups are on the larger size with the potential of peaking around 50 participants. These are usually one time events that meet for a couple of hours.
Counseling groups are similar in nature to psychoeducational groups. They are a place for you to become aware of coping strategies and resources helpful to you, too. The big difference is that you have an opportunity to share your personal experiences in greater detail in a more intimate setting. Group counseling can start with as few as 3 people, but often limited to 10 participants so each person has time to discuss what is most important.
This format is ideal for folx who are experiencing common, yet difficult problems that new knowledge alone will not help. Each person in the group sets individual goals with the assistance of a licensed professional counselor. With the leadership of the group facilitator, members work through their issues by providing and receiving feedback from the group members.
The number of times these groups meet varies. Some meet for as few as 6 sessions. Others continue to meet until all of the participants’ goals have been met. Each session usually lasts 60-90 minutes.
Psychotherapy groups are designed to address the concerns of people with severe interpersonal or personality issues. The purpose of psychotherapy groups is to rectify chronic maladjusted behaviors. They are often held in outpatient hospital settings and are also known as intensive outpatient therapy (IOP) groups. While psychoeducational and counseling groups can be preventative, psychotherapy groups are remedial in nature. In these groups, the leader is a trained licensed therapist who has expertise in managing major emotional problems that commonly arise in these settings. The group size tends to be no more than 15 participants who meet for at minimum months stretching into several years.