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What Is Group Therapy?

Learn more about group therapy, how it works, and if group therapy at Boardwalk Recovery is the right treatment option for you.

Group Therapy Overview

Group therapy is a form of psychiatric care in which several patients meet with one or more therapists simultaneously. In group psychosocial therapy, patients meet regularly to interact and discuss thoughts, feelings, and issues within the group, guided by a trained counselor. Mindful therapy groups are beneficial to all individuals across all demographics. 

group therapy session

What Is Group Therapy Used For?

The purpose of group therapy is to help individuals manage mental health conditions or negative experiences. Group therapy is widely used with children, adolescents, or adults who have been exposed to psychological trauma or are dealing with psychological distress. Mindful therapy groups are also beneficial for managing and treating individuals with traumatic stress disorders.1

Group therapy can be used more efficiently alongside individual therapy or other treatment forms. Aside from group therapy for mental health, group therapy sessions are also beneficial for individuals working on self-improvement by giving them a healthy space for growth and learning. 

What Happens in A Group Therapy Session?

In group therapy sessions, members work to express their challenges, experiences, reactions, aspirations, and ideas as freely and honestly as possible. As a result, individuals learn to understand themselves and their issues while becoming therapeutic helpers for other members 

To fully reap the benefits of group therapy, individuals are provided with an opportunity to build better relationships. These relationships ensure that they are not alone while working on their mental health under the supervision of a therapist or other trained professional. Psychologists with professional training work tirelessly in group therapy sessions to teach group members proven strategies for managing an array of mental health issues.2

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.

Types of Group Therapy

While the foundation of group therapy remains the same, there are numerous subcategories of this type of treatment; these categories will be detailed below.

Psychoeducational Group Therapy

Psychoeducation helps to provide individuals with basic knowledge and insight into their condition and helps to prevent relapse in patients with substance use disorders. Group psychoeducational therapy is made up of members with similar conditions learning more about their condition and treatment options while guided by a trained professional. Providing printed materials highlighting important points from the discussions in a session can be very helpful in this type of group therapy.3

Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy

Cognitive behavioral group therapy is a group approach that utilizes relational, talking, and cognitive procedures to enhance the coping skills of members. In this type of group therapy, the group provides a rich source of ideas and resources for alternative strategies or role-playing. Using cognitive therapy in a group allows mutual encouragement among members.4

Interpersonal Group Therapy

Interpersonal group therapy focuses on improving communication skills, cultivating interpersonal effectiveness, and steering individuals away from negative feelings like self-blame and hate. The group environment is used to explore behavioral responses to interpersonal relationships. The goal of interpersonal group therapy is to help members of the group gain valuable insights while learning to relate to each other, and then apply those insights in their daily life outside of the group environment.5

Skills Development Group Therapy

These mindful therapy groups focus on introducing and improving skills that help members cope with certain mental health conditions. The overall goal of skills development therapy is to build an arsenal of behavioral and cognitive resources to help members make more positive life choices and avoid harmful situations.6

Support Groups

Support groups consist of people with similar problems, situations, or diagnoses working together to share experiences and give and receive support. A support group can be member-only, known as self-help, or supervised by a trained group leader or a therapist. Support groups help members to develop and strengthen their ability to manage their thoughts and emotions and to develop better interpersonal relationships.

Group Therapy Techniques and Activities

There are a variety of different techniques and activities used to help group members get to know each other, better express their feelings, or process a traumatic event. All of these techniques and activities are utilized to make group therapy more effective.


The lighthouse activity can be used in group psychotherapy to help members find hope in a difficult situation or season. The Lighthouse technique focuses on individuals' ability to find hope amidst whatever trauma or stress they might be facing. A lighthouse serves as guidance or motivation, and individuals can be urged to draw or paint whatever they picture as a lighthouse in their situation.

Icebreaker Activity

These are designed to warm up the conversation and help group therapy members more comfortably interact with each other. Icebreakers can be used in the first group therapy sessions or whenever there are new members to prepare them to engage. Icebreaker activities include helping members to know each other and to build rapport.

Joyful Memory

Reminiscing on past positive memories elicits positive feelings and can increase mood and positive behavior. Sharing joyful memories can improve a member’s recall ability, helping to exercise their brain. It also helps members practice their communication skills by delivering the story to the group. This activity also helps to strengthen relationships among individuals.

Expressive Writing

Expressive writing is used in various types of group therapy and is often called a written disclosure. Using this format, individuals write about their thoughts, emotions, and feelings relating to a personally stressful or traumatic experience.


Affirmations are short, positive statements that can help individuals boost their mood and stay motivated. Positive affirmation is a great tool in therapy; they are brief phrases or statements repeated frequently designed to encourage positive feelings, emotions, thoughts and attitudes.

What Conditions a Group Therapy Can Help With

Group psychotherapy has been proven to be an effective treatment option for a wide variety of mental health conditions and psychological disorders. Aside from group therapy for mental health disorders, self-improvement and character development sessions may also involve certain levels of group therapy to provide support on one’s journey of personal growth. Group therapy can motivate individuals to make positive life changes and develop healthy coping mechanisms. 

Group therapy can also help individuals connect with other members in a similar situation and give them the safe space that they need to share their stories with people who can understand and provide the necessary support. Support from group members encourages people to more actively work toward their goals.

Examples of Conditions Group Therapy Can Benefit

Some examples of conditions group therapy can help treat include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Drug misuse and addiction
  • Depression
  • Anger management
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias and fears
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Group Therapy Benefits

There are several benefits of group therapy; the most improvement is seen in people who actively participate and work on personalized issues as they are addressed. Benefits of group therapy will be detailed below.


Group therapy can help hold members accountable and take responsibility for their actions. Other members' positive feedback and advice may stir a feeling of accountability and help increase motivation to achieve goals.

Offers a Sounding Board

The group environment acts as a sounding board to encourage members to speak their minds and properly analyze future actions. Speaking out helps individuals hear their thoughts and process them.


Group therapy cost varies depending on the size of the group, location, therapist, and other factors. However, group therapy usually costs less than individual therapy because therapists work with several people simultaneously.

Personal Growth

Group therapy provides exposure to new behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts, which helps to change people's perspectives on life and help them grow.


Self-discovery is one of the core benefits of group therapy. Through feedback and critical self-observation, group members gain awareness of the strengths and limitations of their behaviors.

Provides a Safe Space

Group therapy provides a safe place for individuals to share their feelings and explore the nature of their conditions. Mindful therapy groups are a place where individuals can feel connected by reaching out to people with similar conditions. This is a great way for people to establish networks of support.

Joining A Group

While group therapy is a great treatment option for a wide variety of mental health conditions, it might not be the right treatment for everyone. There are several considerations to keep in mind when considering group therapy as a treatment plan.

Consider Your Personal Preferences

All people are different, and there are bound to be conflicting preferences in every group. Still, with the right planning, it's always possible to find a system that suits everyone. Before beginning group therapy, assess certain personal preferences critically.

This includes how many people you will be comfortable having in the same group and whether you prefer closed or open group therapy sessions. Also, considerations like session timing go a long way to determining how successful the group therapy will be for you. 

Consult with a Physician

Being in the right group is one of the keys to the success of group therapy. It is in your best interest to consult with a medical professional before committing to group therapy full-time. An expert or a physician would help ascertain if you are ready for group psychotherapy or if individual therapy sessions would better suit you. These assessments are based on individual needs, current stage of recovery, and personal preferences. Also, a physician would help decide the best mindful therapy group to join. 

woman showing support in group therapy

Getting Group Therapy at Boardwalk Recovery 

Mindful group therapy has numerous proven benefits, and getting the best care possible can often be determined by where you are receiving your mental health treatment. At Boardwalk Recovery, we offer a wide variety of group psychotherapy programs to suit the specific needs of every individual who comes in. Each group therapy session is chaired by a highly-trained therapist to ensure that each person benefits from the program and leaves each session feeling better and refreshed than when they walked in. Our experts are highly trained and have the necessary experience to best facilitate group therapy sessions in a way to maximize both your time and your self-improvement.

Reach Out Today to Begin Healing

If you have any questions or concerns regarding group therapy, how it works, our therapists, and if it is the best treatment plan for you, please reach out to Boardwalk Recovery by phone, or visit our website to explore your options and our available resources.
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