Group therapy uses the relationships formed within the group to illustrate patterns of relating which can then be examined and reworked. It is particularly useful for looking at relationship issues, sexuality, race, abuse and trauma, and many kinds of anxiety and depression. Most people can benefit from working in a mixed group, but sometimes it is better for people with similar problems to work together in a group, for example people with alcohol or drug problems. Through sharing with others and feeling accepted individuals can feel less isolated and feel more confident socially. The support and safety of the group helps them to confront difficult issues and recurring themes which might be relevant to both the individuals and to the group as a whole.
Group therapy can take time, but its effects can also be of lasting duration. The lower weekly fee can make it more accessible for those who cannot afford individual rates, and also allow them to stay longer.
There is a large overlap between clients who are suitable for groups and those suitable for individual therapy although assessment for group therapy has to take into account both the client and the existing group, and is therefore best done by the therapist. The referrer also plays a critical role, especially if this is a doctor or another therapist. Ideally referrers can speak positively about groups, perhaps based on their own good experiences, whether in training, support or therapeutic groups.
Assessment is done co-operatively with the client who usually comes to the right decision themselves. It is takes two or three sessions and also helps to prepare them for the group. Where group therapy does not seem appropriate, Sutton Counselling is committed to helping the client find suitable alternative support.