If you are considering therapy, work together with your therapist to explore the nature of your problem. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of treatment options for your particular needs and what is right for you is the best approach. You will want to develop a better understanding of the problem and discuss what changes might make the situation better.
Some questions you may want to ask your therapist are:
Therapy or support groups are right for anyone who needs psychological services and is very effective. The most common support groups address issues like depression and anxiety, addiction or personality disorders, loss, trauma, aging, lifestyle issues, interpersonal relationships, adolescent or child-related problems, and chronic illness to name a few. Sometimes there are groups that are mixed as well.
In studies comparing group psychotherapy to individual therapy, group therapy has been shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective. In cases of medical illness, there is substantial evidence that this form of therapy helps people cope better with their illness, enhances the quality of their lives and, in some cases, such as breast cancer, has even been shown to help people live longer.
Consider why you are in therapy. Ask yourself what first brought you there. Share with group members those things which concern you most. During discussions, let the group know that you need: if it is understanding, pointed feedback about something you say that may be negative and so on. Tell members what you expect from them. How much you will gain is directly correlated with how open you are, how much you reveal about yourself or your feelings. The most useful disclosures are those that relate directly to your present concerns. It is your decision how much you talk about yourself and depends on your comfort level. Eventually you should begin to develop feeling of interest and trust. The more you are invested, the more you are committed to change, the more likely you will benefit from group sessions. If nothing else, ask the group what might be or might not be helpful.
Support group therapy is typically covered by medical insurance and cover much the same as individual therapy. It is best to check with your insurance company for your specific coverage. Hospitals and not-for-profit agencies often offer support groups for free.
Costs or fees vary depending on the type of therapist and even the geographic area of the state. Typically, group therapy is about half the price of individual therapy.
Counseling Washington offers a list of therapy groups organized by audience or group title. The groups are led by counselors who also have private practices on the website as well. You can find out more specifics about each of the groups by looking at the Therapy Group Listings. The listing include title, general group description and what subjects are discussed, dates, times and fees associated with the group and who the facilitator is. Check the website often for availability since these groups update, vary and new offerings are posted and updated weekly.
The type of group and the nature or extent of your problems, will determine the time commitment you will want to devote. There are short-term groups that can last anywhere from 6 to 20 weeks, whereas support therapy groups addressing medical illnesses like cancer, may take longer. There are also self-paced groups that stop when their goals are met. A discussion with your therapist may be the best way to determine the length of time that is right for you.
You get out of group therapy what you invest. To get the maximum benefit out of group therapy, you should attend meetings regularly. You should uphold the commitment you made to yourself and the group. Group sessions should be considered as part of your life and try to reflect back on what you’ve learned. If group is not what you think it should be, let everyone know so it can be addressed. Be part of the solution and actively participate to make more progress. Change only comes about if you implement or experiment with what you’ve learned otherwise you won’t change. If you never risk, you won’t gain so take some emotional risks in this safe and supportive environment. Use honesty and openness as much as you can in group so that they have the benefit of really getting to know you. Using first person makes what you say more personal and powerful. Be responsible only for your own experiences and allows others to accept responsibility for themselves. Concentrate on listening attentively to others instead of worrying about formulating your response otherwise you may not really hear what is being said. Learn the difference between thoughts and feelings and recognize the difference. Be sure to speak to individuals directly rather than speaking about them to others. Honest and directness in group is best. Specificity and directness is always appreciated. Share positive and negative thoughts. Be respectful even if you disagree with a person’s position or behavior.