Curious About Groups?
“Members of a cohesive group feel warmth and comfort in the group and a sense of belongingness; they value the group and feel in turn that they are valued, accepted, and supported by other members.”
-Irvin D. Yalom
Group counseling!? Talk with others about my problems!? Wait, other people have the same problem!? I am not alone!? You do not have to be.
Group counseling is a great opportunity for individuals to come together to talk about similar issues and or situations that they may be experiencing. People decide to join a group for many reasons. Some individuals find group to be helpful as it provides an opportunity to talk to others about relatable issues and or concerns. Others find group to be a safe place to understand a variety of perspectives and experiences. Oftentimes, group can be a great outlet to receive support, and to further understand that you are not the only one who is dealing with whatever you may be managing. Group can also be a great place to practice interpersonal difficulties and or communication skills.
So, what should you expect? Groups range in size depending on the topic or type of group, but typically you can expect anywhere from 6-8 people. There are also many different types of groups to consider. Psychoeducation groups are when people come together to learn about specific topics (e.g., ADHD, Anxiety) and ways to manage or better understand that topic. Whereas, interpersonal processing groups tend to allow group members to give feedback to one another about their understanding and experiences in a safe and supportive manner. Support groups are common to provide individuals with care and or motivation to tackle a specific issue. In addition, there are skill development groups wherein group members hope to obtain strategies and tools to accomplish and reach certain goals. Length of the group again depends on the type of group. So, you may see groups that run for several weeks or even groups that occur every day (which is more often seen in an inpatient setting). Length of the group time also depends on the topic discussed, but you can expect sessions to last typically between 1-2 hours.
How does group work? Marianne Corey and Gerald Corey, two well-known researchers in the field of group counseling describe the group process in 4 stages. The “initial stage” is when groups get to know one another and set group rules and goals. The “transition stage” is when trust develops among members and individuals can express their feelings to one another. The “working stage” is when the group finds cohesion and members can actively work on issues. Finally, the “final stage” is when members reflect on what they have learned and explore saying goodbye with one another. These stages provide a guideline of how typical groups may develop, but each group is different.
Thinking of joining a group? Talk to your therapist about it or call Lorenz Clinic and we can provide you more information about groups we offer!
Kerry Thompson, Ph.D., NCC
Dr. Thompson provides individual therapy to children, adolescents, and adults. She takes a collaborative, strengths-based approach in session. Dr. Thompson focuses on working with clients on increasing their quality of life considering their biological, psychological, and social aspects of well-being. In addition, she focuses on the many systems in which the individual is functioning within. Dr. Thompson see’s clients at our Victoria office.