Group Therapy: What to Expect
What is an “open” group therapy versus a “closed” group therapy?
Group therapy involves one or two mental health professionals who lead a group of four to ten individuals in exploring, healing, and growing. Typically, groups meet once a week for an hour and fifteen minutes.
Some groups are open groups, which means someone can join the group at any time. Other groups are closed groups, in which all members begin the group at the same time and once the group starts, no new members are admitted into the group until it restarts in the next session.
How effective is group therapy for women?
Group therapy can be effective in helping women overcome a broad range of issues from anxiety and depression to trauma and loss. It has been shown to be as effective as individual therapy, and for some issues, it can be even more effective than individual therapy.
At Guided Wellness, we are happy to help you decide what forms of therapy may be best for you. All clients, regardless of the service they seek, start with a free 15-minute consultation so that we can offer you the best options and empower you with all the information you need to book your first appointment. Would having a consultation today be helpful to you?
What are the benefits of group therapy?
There are many benefits of group therapy. But for today, let’s explore on four benefits that can be easily summed up like this:
First, many members identify with issues the other group members share, and find they are helping themselves just by being present and processing the issues vicariously. Much in the same way you can feel healing or ready to ‘take the next step’ after listening to a podcast, reading a good book or listening to a lecture – witnessing the progress of your group members positively impacts your own growth.
Second, by listening, giving feedback, and engaging other group members about their concerns, you may also be practicing new ways of interacting. This can help you to feel more confident in your healing process and the new skills and mindset that help you heal from depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Third, group therapy provides the opportunity to get multiple perspectives and increased support from peers. This is especially helpful for those with depression, anxiety and PTSD who may struggle with over-thinking, black and white thinking, circular thinking, being preoccupied and pessimism.
Fourth, the group environment offers a safe place to try out behaviors or new ways of being. Group counseling creates a unique environment in which you can begin healing where you realize you are not alone. This last benefit cannot be stressed enough. We know healing cannot occur in unsafe environments. This is why our therapists prioritize being skilled in providing a group therapy experience that is respectful, inclusive and manages the energy of the entire group.
Can I be in individual and group therapy at the same time?
Yes! Many individuals find it helpful to participate in both group therapy and individual counseling. Group therapy can be a sufficient means of working through many issues related to mental health, relationships, and emotions. However, some women may benefit from both individual and group therapy.
What does a typical group session look like?
Groups at Guided Wellness vary significantly in session format. Some groups are structured while others are semi-structured. All groups can include a combination of education, hands-on activities and group discussion. Let’s talk about the difference in group styles so you can feel comfortable knowing what to expect.
A structured group will have a set calendar or agenda with specific topics and activities to be presented and experienced each session. For example, A “Depression In Women” group might have a schedule like this:
- Week 1: Understanding symptoms of depression
- Week 2: Depression and women’s hormones
- Week 3: Using self-care to cope with depression
Semi-structured groups are more fluid and unstructured, with topics changing each session based on what the group members bring up and would like to focus on that day. For example, in our “Women, Sex & Intimacy” group a member might share that she is struggling to communicate with her life-partner. This invites a range of options including:
- Other group members sharing their experience of communicating with partners
- If needed, the group leader teaching communication skills
- A discussion on people-pleasing and how women often feel badly if their boundaries “ruffle feathers” and disappoint people.
Do I have to reveal all my deepest secrets and feelings to the group?
No, you do not. You get to decide how much you want to share and no one will force you to reveal more than you want to share. Typically, group members tend to share more about themselves when they feel safe, heard, and not judged in the group.
While we recognize that sharing can sometimes be uncomfortable, we also know that many members report getting more out of the group experience when they share more personal aspects of themselves. We encourage you to be aware of your sense of safety and vulnerability and to share when you feel comfortable doing so.
What if I’m too shy and not able to talk as much as the other group members?
Most individuals feel some anxiety when first starting group therapy. They may worry they will be the oldest woman, the youngest… the only woman of color… the only queer / gay woman.. or that their “problem” is too weird and awful… or not that their “problem” is not significant enough and they will appear dramatic.
Your group leaders are trained to help initiate conversation and to discuss whatever anxiety the group may be feeling. Most new members find that the group discussion and activities quickly draws them in, and they begin sharing in ways they had not expected. Remember, you are likely not the only one who is feeling a bit nervous when first starting group therapy- we are here to help and work together!
Getting your questions answered before you start the group can help relieve any anxiety you might be feeling. You can call us at our St. George, UT office any time and we’re happy to address your questions. You can also book a free consultation ahead of time using our easy
How many people are in a typical group?
Most groups have between 4-10 women and 1 group leader.
How long do groups last?
Most groups at our Southern Utah location consist of weekly sessions for six consecutive weeks. When there is a holiday in the midst of the six consecutive weeks, one week may be skipped and resume the following week. You will be informed of your group’s duration before it starts and, if you like, you may receive text message reminders of your group meetings.
What role do the group facilitators play?
Groups at Guided Wellness will always be facilitated by a licensed therapist. The basic function of the leader is to facilitate your personal growth within a group setting, assisting to create an environment that is safe for each group member and lends to healing and growth.
You can also expect that your group leaders will:
- guide and facilitate self-exploration
- give feedback and support
- gently and lovingly confront unhealthy patterns
- provide comments on interpersonal issues in the group
- encourage group unity and bonding
Would I like to start group therapy near me?
Guided Wellness Counseling, St. George UT | 84770 | 84790 | 84780 | 84720
Do you think being part of a group could be helpful to you? Would you like more connection with like-minded women, seeking better relationships, healthy boundaries, greater confidence and recovery from PTSD? The next step is to call for a free 15-minute consultation.
During this consultation we’ll ask you to tell us a little bit about why you are interested in a group or individual counseling. For example, are you having trouble moving on from a divorce or end of relationship? Do you need better boundaries? Have you experienced the loss of a loved one? Are you struggling with PTSD symptoms?
Based on this information we’ll recommend a group (or other service) that is the best fit for you. We’ll get you registered and then you are ready to go! This is a really exciting time for your personal growth. Are you ready to get started?