Group counselling is a form of therapy where people with similar experiences/issues come together with a professional therapist.
The therapist runs the session, but generally everyone contributes in some way, listening to others and talking themselves. It’s usually focused on a particular issue, like:
- eating disorders,
One of the main principals behind group counselling is that meeting other people who are dealing with something similar and hearing their story lets people know that they’re not alone. Things like depression or bereavement can be really isolating and make you feel like you’re facing the world alone. Group counselling can be a good way of getting over those feelings of isolation, and realising there are other people in the same boat.
It can also be easier to talk to people who share the same issue. They can understand how you feel a bit more than family members or friends who haven’t had firsthand experience of the problem you’re dealing with.
How it works
There are lots of different types of group therapy. Some groups are more structured, and are based around doing an activity or project together, team-building and even physical games. Some are more freeform, more like meetings where people have conversations about how they’re doing and listen to others.
Some have a set number of sessions, and others are drop-in groups that you can attend if and when you need to.
Is it for you?
Group therapy is something your counsellor might suggest to you, depending on what you’re dealing with. It’s not for everyone, and the idea that might make you nervous, but it can be worth giving it a go and seeing if you find it helpful.
For information on group counselling services, talk to your GP or counsellor, check the Golden Pages or look in the Counselling Directory. It might be best to ring a counselling service and see if they offer group sessions. For more on individual therapy, read counselling.