Have you ever considered group therapy for your experience of depression or stress?
Whether you are struggling with depression, anxiety or trauma / PTSD group therapy could be a good fit for you. There are many benefits to group therapy. In fact, group therapy is more effective than individual counseling for some women. But how will you know if group therapy is for you? And what can you expect in your group counseling sessions?
What is the difference between group therapy and group counseling?
Truth be told, there is not a difference between group therapy and group counseling. In this blog we’ll use the two terms interchangeably.
The reason that some may call your experience “group counseling” is because your group leader may be a licensed counselor in the state of UT. Therefore, some will call it “counseling” to reflect what kind of licensed professional you are working with. Luckily for you, all of the therapists at Guided Wellness Counseling in St. George UT are licensed professionals meaning your safety, dignity and confidentiality take precedence.
What does group therapy do?
Group therapy provides you an opportunity to focus on a specific concern within a small, like minded community of women. For example, you might join a group for Trauma & Loss to address the end of a marriage, death of a loved one or a relationship made difficult due to emotional abuse. Or you might join a group for sexual health that includes an emphasis on healthy boundaries, empowerment and communication skills.
I often get asked, why wouldn’t I just do individual therapy? Why can’t I just read a self-help book? Well… you can. But group counseling is more effective at offering specific benefits that those two resources cannot.
How is group therapy different?
An article by Risa Kerslake on PsychCentral.com provides some great insight into the unique benefits of group counseling. She explains that among the many perks of group:
“Giving and receiving support from others can even boost your overall health. When you feel good about helping someone else, or feel heard yourself, your brain releases dopamine, the “feel good” chemical messenger, into your body. Even the anticipation of give-and-take can be enough to raise dopamine levels.
What is the main goal of group therapy?
There are several goals of group therapy for depression or any other topic you might seek. We’ve spoken to these goals of group therapy in our blog Group Therapy: What to Expect. But let’s talk about them a little more here.
One of the benefits to group therapy at our St. George UT location is exposure. This is a big factor for those recovering from depression and PTSD / trauma which can be intensely isolating. Along with this, there is often a lot of shame attached to symptoms of depression (e.g. laziness, low motivation, lack of self-care). And the one thing shame cannot survive is being seen. When you join a community to address your depression the shame starts to lift, almost without effort.
A second benefit to group therapy is practice of skills. While you can practice new communication or coping skills in one-on-one therapy, practice is multiplied in a group setting because you also get to witness other women learning, growing and doing. Have you ever seen someone do something and think, “Oh my gosh – I never thought to try it that way!” You’re likely to have dozens of these aha moments in your group experience.
Is Group Counseling Right For Me?
This is a question that I’ll answer in two ways. Let’s talk about the emotional aspect first. Are you asking yourself this question because you’re feeling self conscious about something? That’s not uncommon.
Going back to the PsychCentral.com article we mentioned, Kerslake goes on to reassure you that:
Group therapy can be intimidating at first, but its value outweighs any initial awkwardness by providing a sounding board and social support outside your inner circle as you work through your situation.It can also help you manage your mental health condition or work through difficult experiences with a group of people who are working through similar issues and toward similar goals.
Many members have worries before their first group that they won’t fit in. That they won’t share enough or that they’ll be ‘called out’. They might worry about being the only woman there with a certain problem and struggle. Rest assured, no two people have the same experience of depression, anxiety, PTSD or life-topic (loss, sexuality, etc).
With this in mind, let’s discuss logistics. We often offer groups at our Southern Utah location based on topic. This helps you to know that you’ll be with like minded women with common experiences or interests. We also keep groups small (typically 4- 8 women) to help facilitate sharing and making sure you get to show up as much or as little as you like.
How Do I Start Group Counseling Near Me | 84770 | 84790 | 84780 | 84720 |
You’re first step to starting group counseling at Guided Wellness Counseling in St. George UT is easy. All group members start with a free 15–minute consultation. If you’d be willing to tell us which group caught your interest or what topic you’d like to address (e.g. “I’m struggle to move on after my miscarriage” “I need more coping skills for depression”) we can look into the best group or service for you.
Most of our groups are 6-weeks long. Depending on your group, you may be able to jump in the very next week or you may need to wait until we start a new series. If it turns out that a group is not a good fit for you it’s possible we’ll recommend individual counseling with one of our therapists or refer you to another resource.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to depression. Group therapy is not a magical fix – therapy never is. But it does offer benefits that cannot be found anywhere else. Could this be a good fit for you? Let’s jump on a call and answer all of your questions.