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Group Work

 

What is Group work?

Group work is when participants come together and collaborate to develop and enhance skills like communication (listening and speaking), conflict-resolution, decision-making, problem solving and critical thinking. Working in a group increases self-awareness and perspective-taking. A group environment can also nurture a cooperative learning, trust and supportive environment. Types of group work include group therapy, support group and open/closed group.

Working in a group includes benefits that individual therapy may not provide. Sharing feelings and experiences with others can relieve one of stress, shame or guilt. Group participants also gain the opportunity to meet others who are facing a similar situation and increase their support network. It instills hope in them to see that they’re not alone in facing their challenges and boosts confidence and self-esteem. 

Although there are many benefits, group work may not be the right place to start depending on your challenges. For example, those who are struggling with social and anxiety problems or are facing crisis should not start with group work. Consult with a mental health professional or our team if you’re interested in group work. You may also find out more about future group work conducted by Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy below.

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Therapy Session

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy where a counsellor or therapist will work with multiple people at the same time. It’s a practice that has been used in hospitals, mental health clinics and community centres among other facilities. Group therapy can be used alone or it can also be part of an individual’s therapy plan (e.g. a person with trauma may join group therapy for meeting others in a similar situation and build a supportive network). The size of the group varies depending on the goal, but generally smaller groups can offer more time to focus on each individual whereas larger groups can offer more perspectives. 

 

How group therapy is conducted depends on the counsellor or therapist and the goals for the group. For example, some group therapy work on identifying and resolving distorted thinking patterns and its respective emotional or behavioural reactions. Group therapy focused on interpersonal relationships and skills talk about on social support, interactions and relationships and how these aspects impact your mental health. Psychoeducation group therapy aims at educating group members about disorders and ways to improve their skills and coping strategies.

 

Regardless of the structure, overall group therapy can help with a variety of mental health conditions, such as:

 

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Addictions

  • Eating disorders

  • Anger management

  • Divorce

  • Grief or loss

  • Domestic violence

  • Chronic illness or pain 

  • Parenting

A Supportive Hug

Support Group

Family and friends are important social support, but they may not always understand what a person with mental health challenges is going through. This is where support groups can help by facilitating a safe environment for us to meet others who have been in similar situations. Participants can freely share about their experiences and feelings with others who, facing a similar challenge, can better empathize and understand us. 

 

One important difference is that support groups are not meant to provide treatment. Instead, the focus is to foster peer support and to create a trusting environment for participants where they can share their stories and coping strategies. Support groups meet to offer advice, encouragement and comfort. 

There is a wide variety of support groups for different concerns, such as for:

 

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Addictions

  • Eating disorders

  • Grief or loss

  • Anger management 

  • Divorce

  • Domestic violence

  • Chronic illness or pain

  • Special needs parenting

 

Attending a support group can benefit a person’s recovery but it should not be viewed as replacement for treatment. Contact a mental health professional if you’re interested in joining a support group.

Support Group

Open And Closed Group

An open group is one where new participants are welcomed to join at any time. Examples include groups that face challenges like workplace anxiety or alcohol addiction where new people may join when they wish to. 

 

A closed group consists only of members that started the sessions together. Closed groups may be held because of the delicate nature of concern the members are going through, like sexual trauma. It’s easier for members to build rapport with each other and open up knowing that there is a fixed number of participants. It may also be more difficult for newcomers to enter a group knowing that the other members are already acquainted with each other.