Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which a therapist works with a small number of people together as a group. Up to 8 individuals meet face-to-face with the trained group therapist and work through issues important to each individual but as a group.
How does Group Therapy work?
In a nutshell, we develop our awareness by presenting ourselves, receive feedback, we learn who we are and it’s reciprocal. It is a shared process of self-learning conducted in a safe and confidential setting.
The key to group therapy is that we can’t achieve change alone. For each individual to progress and change, the group as a whole must negotiate two vital issues: trust and conflict. In looking to establish trust we explore our anxieties and fears. We also learn to be empathic and respectful of other group members to encourage that process in each other. By extension of this, we explore conflict. Group members experiment with expressing difference. As the group feels safe to do so it further cements trust and leads to a deepening in the relationship of the group.
In negotiating trust and conflict, the group develops a cohesiveness from their shared experience. This creates the environment for change to be allowed to happen. Deeper exploration and insight into ourselves occur. This is assisted by the understanding of the commonality of our experience that is seen in the group, that our problems are the same. The group establishes an intimacy, the learning of which can be transferred into the other groups in our lives – whether family, work or friends.
What does the Group Therapy process involve?
The process of Group Therapy involves the exploration of trust, relating styles, conflict or expressing difference, and assertiveness. In negotiating these, a group cohesion develops and assists in the establishment of intimacy and the understanding of the universality of our problems. This group learning helps us relate in new and better ways to the groups in our lives - whether family, friends or work colleagues.
What are the advantages of Group Therapy?
Group therapy and individual counselling both offer self-development. Group therapy also offers the development of relational skills such as the exploration of our style of relating and the practice of assertiveness in a safe space. Group feedback also assists us in our self-learning as we see how we are perceived in the eyes of others. This gives us a more rounded view of ourselves and speeds up the process of our self-learning. As we also provide feedback we learn how to read and understand people. Finally, the understanding of the universality of our problems is a hugely valuable and experiential understanding that assists us in our acceptance of ourselves and the world.
Is Group Therapy Totally Confidential?
Group Therapy is a totally confidential service in almost all situations. However it is important to point out that in certain circumstances ethical and legal obligations must be considered, such as the Child Protection Act protects the rights and welfare of children and minors. The therapist will fully explain confidentiality to you in the first session.
Is My Group Therapist Properly Qualified?
All of our counsellors and psychotherapists have completed a full professional training and are associates or accredited members of the main professional associations, mainly the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP), or the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).
See our events page for details of new group therapy courses starting