Group therapy and mental health support groups have been beneficial to millions of people for more than 50 years. In fact, studies that compared group psychotherapy to individual therapy found that group therapy has been just as effective – and, in some cases, more effective.
Group psychotherapy is a specific therapy in which a small number of people meet together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. It generally helps people learn about themselves and improve their interpersonal relationships.
Support groups are organizations of people who share a common disorder, like depression or anxiety, who meet together to discuss their experiences, share ideas, and provide emotional support for one another. Usually a support group is led by a member who has had some training in facilitating group discussions.
People who take part in these types of mental health support groups often find they work for many reasons. Here are five commonly listed reasons many people feel they work:
- They find it boosts emotional courage - Emotional courage as defined in Psychology Today is about a brief moment, a pivotal instant in time in which we take an action - we choose to heed our convictions, beliefs, and intentions and do what we know in our heads is good for us (instead of heeding our fears and anxieties and continuing to avoid the situation). Group therapy often is the catalyst for people experiencing the strength to find this courage within themselves and act on it to their benefit.
- They have new social confidence - Social confidence is the power to be yourself in settings involving other people. Because mental health support groups require the sharing of personal experiences and issues, participants find that doing so often in this group setting enhances their ability to communicate with other people as their authentic self.
- They develop new interpersonal skills - Mental health support groups encourage communicating with others on a very intimate level. For some participants, this provides the opportunity to communicate with and trust others in ways they haven’t before. When they are successful at it, there is a ripple effect in their interactions with others they encounter in the process of daily living.
- They realize they are not alone in having issues - Simply by virtue of being in a group setting with others who are freely discussing personal issues provides participants the comfort of knowing they are not alone in feeling troubled. This comfort offsets the alienation from others that people sometimes feel when they are experiencing mental health issues.
- They find their “voice” - Many participants feel empowered to say how they feel in a group setting for the first time in mental health support groups. This usually has a ripple effect as well in their personal interactions being more authentic.
At Advantage Mental Health Center, we offer support groups, workshops and seminars designed to aid adults who are facing mental health issues, such as anxiety, social anxiety, and depression. We help them move their lives forward and attain a level of personal happiness and fulfillment in a safe, empathetic and confidential environment that will assist in coping with life's greatest challenges. We specialize in working with alcoholism, addictions, and recovery issues. Additionally, we work with mental health issues, trauma, and relationship difficulties.
We use several therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral, strengths-based, and dialectical behavioral techniques. Our mission is to provide quality mental health services so you feel comfortable to heal, improve, and change what you can through psychotherapy.
Advantage Mental Health Center has several counselors on staff who are experts in a wide range of specialties. If you are feeling disconnected from your loved ones because of trauma, suffering from an addiction, or are concerned about your overall mental health, contact us today to discuss your needs and schedule an evaluation with one of our trained therapists: (727) 600-8093.