There is a common belief that the only advantage of group psychotherapy is that it is not as expensive as individual therapy. Although it is true that group psychotherapy is usually less costly, participation in the group psychotherapeutic work is a unique and rich experience that has many other advantages for clients. Following are just a few of them:
Advantages of group therapy
- Clients receive support and acceptance not only from a therapist but also from other group members
- Because each group represents a social microcosm, participants have an opportunity to learn how they are perceived in the society by receiving feedback from other group members in a safe atmosphere of group work
- Participants have a chance to feel the power of common experience
- Participants have a chance to experience feelings of being needed by other group members – feelings of belonging. This may positively affect their self-esteem
Despite the above advantages, there are some downsides of group psychotherapy as compared to individual psychotherapy.
Disadvantages of group therapy
- If in individual psychotherapy, a therapist guarantees confidentiality to a client (except for limits of confidentiality), in group therapy, confidentiality, although encouraged, cannot be guaranteed by a psychotherapist. This is because a psychotherapist cannot guarantee that other group members will not breach confidentiality
- Group therapy is not recommended to anyone. Some people may feel that group process is too threatening to them, and it may be more beneficial for them to seek individual treatment. Typically, during the pre-group initial interview, a group candidate and I can determine if a particular group is the best fit for them.