Counseling is a type of therapy that can help people when they are going through a difficult time. Effective counseling can help people identify underlying issues, learn coping mechanisms and how to communicate clearly, and also helping to prevent future relapses or breakdowns. Group counseling is one type of counseling that can really help those that feel isolated or alone. It provides a safe atmosphere with several other individual who may be suffering the same affliction. Group counseling creates an environment of support, social interaction, and encouragement.
Group counseling is a social engagement with a professional counselor as well as anywhere from two to twenty individuals who are struggling with a similar affliction. Group sizes are not limited to twenty people, and most sessions will try to keep the groups smaller. Here, a counselor will lead the session and ask for input, experiences individuals may like to share, and offer guidance. The counselor acts as the group facilitator and will assist those in the group in helping to resolve their difficulties and also to develop new skills that can help them with their current situation and any that may arise in the future.
Group counseling can assist people with a variety of afflictions. Issues such as chronic illness and pain, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and social anxiety can be helped using group therapy sessions. Reassurance from others in the group is a key factor in recovery and healing. Individuals can feel less alone in these group sessions as they learn from others while learning about themselves.
There are several different types of groups offered today. There are process groups that share experiences and benefit from feedback, support and theme groups that all share similar experiences with like issues, wellness groups that help develop skills to increase their overall health and wellness, and also psychoeducational groups that would like to increase their knowledge and mental health. There are many other types of groups available to consider. Choosing one that you will feel comfortable with will benefit you the most.
Group counseling sessions aren’t just a share circle, they involve in depth conversations, discoveries, and new skill development. The counselor may provide useful handouts for the clients to keep and use that will provide useful information and assistance. Group sessions generally have objectives to cover and goals to accomplish. Counselors may provide feedback to each individual as well as to the overall group. Individuals may be challenged with questions to get them thinking outside of the box, and may be asked to do “homework” and provide answers in the next session.
To reap the benefits of group therapy, individuals need to be open and honest. Participation is another key factor when utilizing group sessions as others can learn from you just as you may be learning from them. Seeing and hearing how other people react and respond can provide insight on how to use new behaviors as well as give and receive useful feedback. Group therapy can offer alternatives to how you are coping with your situation, and it continues to provide healing and comfort to those that need it.