It’s important to help clients become familiar with group therapy and understand the benefits of group therapy versus individual therapy. Enlisting a client in a group is not only an educational process but also a process of working through client’s fears. (Suggest clients read the in-depth article about group therapy on my website at www.wespsych.com to gain a better understanding of the benefits).
Below is a list of key points to emphasize in discussing group therapy:
- During the therapy session, discuss group therapy as an important part of the treatment plan and emphasize the value of group as being different from individual psychotherapy. Describe how peer support and feedback help clients improve and/or develop relationship skills which transfer to outside relationships. Individual therapy is enhanced by group therapy because relationship issues which present in group are then explored in individual therapy. Some of these issues are seen more clearly in a therapy group and can accelerate the therapeutic process.
- Explain that during the evaluation/ interview process for group: “I will be working with you as an individual therapist to set positive goals for your client’s work in group therapy.”
- Clients need to feel safe and not fear judgment, particularly when there are fears of vulnerability and closeness. Often, clients need help understanding that joining a group is a safe means of bringing regular, dependable, and caring support into their lives.
- Explain to clients that group members are not judgmental. Members enjoy being together, become important to one other, and appreciate working together as a team on issues. Growth and learning occurs from this close, non-judgmental working relationship.
- Explain to clients: “When you commit to working on yourself in group therapy, you are making a commitment to making life less stressful, to live more at ease with others, to engage in caring relationships, and just have more fun. When you join a group, you acquire a support team.”