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  • rachelbibby36

What is group therapy?

It’s when a group of people with similar issues get together and share them with others, with the help of a qualified therapist. As the therapist I would ensure the group keeps to its boundaries of confidentiality, respect, inclusion, compassion. Being with a group of people that are strangers to start with may sound intimidating, but group therapy can provide benefits that individual therapy may not.

Having other people there gives you a different perspective on what your going through. Oftentimes, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you're not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they're going through and realise you're not alone.

A group is typically a minimum of 8 people and a maximum of 12 and we would meet for 1 ½ hours for 6 weeks. Before being able to join the group, we would have a chat to see whether group therapy is the right fit for you at this time. Part of my role is to make sure the group environment remains respectful, and all members feel safe, comfortable, and free from harassment or discrimination. We would go through a group agreement to make sure everyone understands what is expected of them in the group. The group is set out in circle which allows everyone to see each other and feel included.

The different types of groups are either open or closed, our group would be closed which means that everyone would begin together. If it was an open group different people would join in each week. There are pros and cons of each type. When joining an open group, there may be an adjustment period while getting to know the other group attendees. However, if you want to join a closed group, you may have to wait for several months until a suitable group is available.

When it comes to sharing with the group, confidentiality is an important part of the ground rules. However, there’s no absolute guarantee of privacy with others, so it’s best to use your common sense when sharing personal information. That said, remember that you're not the only one sharing your personal story. Groups work best where there is open and honest communication between members. Group therapy allows members to understand how they relate to others and to make positive changes in their relationships.

Group members will start out as strangers, but in a short amount of time, you'll most likely view them as a valuable and trusted source of support.

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