A therapeutic group can be quite beneficial as part of recovery as it enables individuals to provide and receive emotional support through sharing similar experiences with other group members.
The specific benefits of therapeutic groups were first observed following World War II, when groups of combat veterans were treated together. Since then, therapeutic groups have become a very common form of treatment.
What are the benefits of therapeutic groups?
Therapeutic group programs work under the principle of universality. It assures individuals they are not alone, and other people share similar problems and struggles. It offers the opportunity to both give and receive support to and from others. Receiving support from another group member acts as an important part of bonding, and the individual giving another support allows for growth and learning. In comparison to individual therapy, group work allows for the incorporation of many different viewpoints which allows for greater perspective.
Additionally, therapeutic groups help people develop communication and socialisation skills. It allows individuals to learn how to express their concerns and accept feedback from others. This setting also increases a person’s ability to develop self-awareness by listening and sharing with others who have similar issues. Importantly, therapeutic groups reduce isolation and can provide a broad safety net for individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to discuss their feelings and perceived weaknesses.
Finally, therapeutic groups can often model successful behaviours. Hearing how other group members have successfully overcome concerns (e.g., overcome their fear of grocery shopping) can be very encouraging for others.
How to make group programs work for you
First and foremost, participate and share. There will be days you do not feel like talking and that is okay. However, the more you contribute, the more you will get out of it. Your experiences might be meaningful to someone else, and maybe you will find helping someone else helps you too.
With the impacts of ongoing lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining an online group program may help you connect with others, share your experiences and delay the feelings of loneliness and isolation. It may also connect you with people you would not have met otherwise and expand your own perspective taking.
At Mates4Mates, we offer a range of group programs including online groups such as Mates4Mates Online STAIR program, Mates4Mates Online Sleep Program and more.
To find out more about the range of programs we have coming up or to learn more about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact Mates4Mates on 1300 4 MATES or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Mates4Mates psychologist Tamsin Wallace