Group therapy is a treatment in which people with similar conditions or goals learn from, and move toward better mental wellness together. Group therapy is one of the most effective treatments for healing and hope. The group setting provides a sense of community, support, and understanding that can be difficult to find elsewhere. The process of the group helps encourage self-awareness, help you find new perspectives, gives ideas and approaches for old struggles, and provides hope during difficult times.
Group therapy can be beneficial for many reasons. It provides a safe space and informs members at different stages of healing & treatment how others are doing. It helps members see who is doing better for inspiration, and helps some to help find comfort knowing they’re not alone. This blog post will discuss one major benefit of group therapy: hope.
Group Members Celebrate One Another’s Successes
Group members celebrate the successes and progress of different members. Hearing another group member’s success story may give you new ideas for things to try. Or if they are on a similar path give them confidence in the direction they are taking.
Additionally, this celebration is important for the group member celebrating this success. Other people in their life may not understand how much of a “victory” something is. But when members of the group hear the story, they can celebrate together because they understand the significance.
For example, a member of a bereavement support group who plans their first vacation after the loss of their spouse may share this in the group. They may be afraid to talk about the upcoming trip to other family members who may not understand how emotional this first trip will be. The other group members are more likely to “understand that it is a big deal, and to provide the gentle encouragement the member needs to move forward. Furthermore, this may inspire another group member to begin to make plans to do something they once enjoyed with the loved one they lost.
Group Members Share Tips That Can Give Hope
In group therapy, people often share new ideas and tips with one another which can give people hope that they can try something a new way.
For example, in a support group for moms of young children, a member may share that she’s been using an approach to potty training in a book she recently read. This new strategy may give those who are exhausted and feel like they’ve tried everything hope that there is something else to try that could work.
Even hearing about another group member’s “failures” can be helpful. When one shares that they didn’t cope very well with a situation, it can help group members realize that they aren’t alone in their struggles. Or, If a group member tries to access a community resource and isn’t able to, another member may provide a workaround for the same resource.
Group Therapy Members Offer Support & Understanding
It’s not unusual for a group member to say, “I tried _____ and it didn’t work for me, but it could work for you.” Sharing both successes and failures can open new doors and shine a light on different approaches.
When someone is struggling, it is often difficult to find understanding and support from those around them. In group therapy, members offer understanding and support for one another. As the group progresses, it provides an environment of understanding and support, which helps to build hope.
For example, in a group of people with chronic pain, members may share how are struggling to keep up with their work and household duties. They may feel like they are a burden on their spouse or friends who have to take on extra work to help out. They may express feeling guilty or like they’re a failure as a spouse or friend. When other group members hear this, they can offer empathy and help, expressing that the pain is taking a toll on them. They understand how difficult those day-to-day household duties may feel with chronic pain. This validation and reassurance can help those who are sharing feel less alone, less guilty, and more hopeful.
Group Therapy Provides Reminders On Bad Days
Group members are encouraged by seeing others who have also struggled with something but overcame it or at least learned to cope with it. Seeing peers doing better than they were when they started gives hope for improvement down the road as well. And when one group member is at a real low point? When things get hard and they can pull themselves to the group that week? In these moments when one group member is struggling, it is often helpful to rely on peers that are doing well to have that example of where you can be. Other group members are a reminder that healing, coping, and/or moving forward is possible.
Group therapy can be helpful for those who are at different stages of treatment and healing. Group members can offer support and understanding to one another that you may not be able to get somewhere else. This can be powerful and validating to members when navigating tough times.
Research Supports Group Therapy!
We’re not saying that groups increase support based on our own experience as therapists. In fact, research has demonstrated the power of groups to promote hope for members.
For example, in one study, mothers with children suffering from cancer in a group therapy program had increased levels of hope and decreased levels of depression. In another study published in 2017, female patients with Multiple Sclerosis in group therapy showed a reduction in anxiety, depression, and stress. Yet another study published in 2015 of six therapy groups of HIV+ men showed that there was a relationship between the hopefulness of individual members after treatment and the level of hope expressed by other group members.
So, what does this all mean? It means that groups provide community and support which can help to increase hope in members. With the skillful support of a mental health professional, a group of people can lift one another up. This increased hope can lead to positive changes in mood, decreased stress levels, and improved mental health.
Group Therapy is a Beneficial and Effective Tool for Healing
Group therapy can be beneficial for those who are at different stages of healing. There are many benefits to group therapy. Benefits vary based on the type of group, the cohesiveness of the members, how long the group has been meeting and so many other factors. Furthermore, most effective therapy groups share the benefit of helping build hope among members.
In short, group therapy is a powerful tool that can help build hope for those who are struggling. Then help those who successfully build hope maintain that hope. Hope often leads to a positive change in your mood, decreased stress, more confident action, and improved mental health.
Curious About Group Therapy in Scotch Plains, NJ?
Attending group therapy can help you build hope and make connections with peers who have had similar struggles. Our skilled therapists are here to support you during the support group and provide guidance where needed. Worried there might not be a group for you? We have many different options when it comes to group therapy. Including for new moms, survivors of sexual assault, teens, and more. We have options for your support group, including in-person sessions at our Scotch Plains, NJ counseling office. Or if you prefer, we can meet with you virtually using online group therapy in New Jersey. To get started, follow the steps below.