Throughout July, Heartland Therapy Connection is bringing awareness to trauma therapy and the modalities used to address trauma in our therapy sessions. In this blog, we will take a look at what group therapy is and how it may benefit you in your journey to understand and cope with your trauma and/or PTSD.
WHAT IS GROUP THERAPY?
Group therapy is when a group of individuals, typically 4 to 15 people, meet together under the guidance of a qualified facilitator. This person may be a mental health professional, a psychologist, or a social worker trained to handle dynamic groups. Some groups may meet once or twice a week for one to two hours. The duration depends on the treatment format.
Groups are started to aim at a specific problem or population. This means you can usually expect other group members to be working on some of the same issues you are. While group therapy has many benefits, many people find it helpful to participate in both group therapy and individual therapy.
HOW CAN GROUP THERAPY HELP ME WITH MY TRAUMA?
Learning skills and teaching skills
As you begin group therapy, you may learn that there are others who are having a hard time with difficulties you have had or have currently. Throughout group sessions, you can listen to others speaking about these difficulties and providing coping skills they have found helpful or not helpful for them. As you learn new ways to address some of these struggles, you can also provide your own feedback on what has been effective or ineffective for you.
Studies show that helping others can actually help our own well-being, so, in group therapy you are encouraged to share! Group members may also be able to challenge and help each other in ways that the group leader cannot due to the perceived shared status of being a trauma survivor. This can look like honest feedback and solutions from your group members that want to help and understand you.
Individuals with PTSD and trauma symptoms often socially isolate and have difficulty trusting others. This can make attending a group setting where you have to talk about your experiences and hardships extremely frightening. But you will not be the only one. There will be others who are also trying to learn new and better ways of interacting and relating to others. Group sessions can be a great place to practice and role-play skills before using them with people outside of the group.
Sense of belonging/support
Another benefit of group therapy is it provides an excellent opportunity to build a support system. When trying to heal and cope from PTSD and trauma, strong emotions may come up. These can be difficult to deal with on your own. Group sessions can be a place to learn how to ask for help. Your group members can be there for you when you need support.
Group leaders will also help guide their groups towards authentic connections. This means group members are to be honest with each other, which sometimes means learning to speak up for yourself. This can lead to deeper connections due to the fact that you’re in a space that allows you to ask why someone said what they said to you, relinquishing misunderstandings that often go without being talked about. This can produce feelings of being safe and appreciated, even while being surrounded by strangers.
Although we are not offering group therapy sessions at the moment, here at Heartland Therapy Connection we are committed to helping people work through their trauma in individual therapy sessions.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us today at (816) 287-0252 and schedule a free consultation. We would love to assist you in any way we can!