Group therapy can be a highly effective form of mental healthcare
While individual psychotherapy may be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of mental healthcare, group therapy can also be highly effective. New Paradigm Recovery’s outpatient mental health program emphasizes individual therapy but offers group therapy to deliver specific benefits. The primary advantage of group therapy is the group dynamic — observing and learning from peers’ views, experiences, and interpretations. For some people, these sessions are the first opportunity to meet people experiencing similar mental health conditions — an experience that can be extremely comforting and destigmatizing.
What is group therapy like?
At New Paradigm Recovery, group mental healthcare sessions are always supervised by at least one therapist, sometimes more than one. Groups are held in our larger group room, and participants sit comfortably in a small circle of chairs facing one another. The therapist is usually seated among the group or maybe standing if writing on a whiteboard or otherwise providing instruction. If groups are focused on meditation, mindfulness, yoga, or movement, participants may use yoga mats on the floor.
Group is a safe and supportive space for all participants, and it is the therapist’s job to ensure a positive therapeutic environment. At New Paradigm Recovery, clients who would benefit from group work are thoughtfully selected, and groups are kept small to improve participant comfort and afford ample time for each person to contribute and ask questions.
Like all medical care, client identity is protected during group therapy. However, clients who meet in group therapy sessions sometimes exchange information and develop supportive relationships outside of the therapeutic environment.
How often do groups meet?
New Paradigm Recovery group therapy sessions usually happen weekly and at a set time. Efforts are made to set a mutually convenient time for clients and clinicians that works for people managing family, career, and school obligations. Most group sessions take place on weekday evenings.
New Paradigm Recovery group topic examples
Currently, New Paradigm Recovery offers an Emotional Sobriety group for people seeking healthier interpersonal relationships. Led by Clinical Director Cindy Sample, this group uses the Tavistock closed group approach developed by Wilfred Bion in the 1960s and Gestalt therapy to help clients learn emotional regulation, deepen their understanding of themselves, and explore what they bring to and want from relationships. While Gestalt, encounter, and other approaches emphasize individual uniqueness and often focus on couples as central linking units, Tavistock theory concentrates on the individual only as they relate to the group. This method regards the group as a holistic entity greater than the sum of its parts. It focuses less on individual distinctions and more on the harmony of function, task, and motivation to reveal vital group-level experiences and insights that are typically overlooked.
A major advantage of the Tavistock approach is that group participants can discuss and learn from the unconscious reactions to negative life and relationship events without reliving or disclosing the specifics of these events in a group setting, which increases perceived personal safety.
Other groups are developed as needs are recognized within the current client milieu.