Group therapy involves one or more therapists who lead a group of roughly five to 15 clients. Typically, groups meet for an hour or two each week, every other week, or once monthly. Some people attend individual therapy in addition to groups, while others participate in groups only.
Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as depression, obesity, panic disorder, social anxiety, chronic pain or substance abuse. Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness and low self-esteem. Groups also often help those who have experienced loss.
Regularly talking and listening to others also helps you put your own problems in perspective. Many people experience mental health difficulties, but few speak openly about them to people they don't know well. 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 realize you're not alone.
Unlike traditional group therapy, support groups tend to be less clinical in nature, having the therapist play less of a role of an educator role and more of a facilitator role, and sometimes having no therapist present at all.
Support groups are offered as a space where individuals can come together to share their stories, experiences, and lives in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness. Oftentimes, we think we are struggling alone, but support groups help us see that there are others who may dealing with similar situations and who in turn can help us get better.