Group Counseling

Group Counseling


Group Therapy treatment is provided by one or more therapists depending on the number of clients that are attending a session. This is a form of psychotherapy counseling highly recommended and a treatment that varies according to the client's diagnosis. Although it is used alone at times it may be combined with a treatment plan that includes both therapy and medication. This can be effective in treating those who suffer from trauma or behavior disorders because of the interaction that is associated with it. Group Therapy gives people the support that they need from not only a counselor, but a group of people who are going through some of the same conflicts. The other members of the group often serve as models if they have overcome some aspects of the treatment.

Goals of Group Counseling

The goal of Group Counseling is to instill hope in clients and bring people together so that they can benefit from more support throughout the session. It helps clients who feel alone and isolated which can in turn result in depression and worsening behavioral issues. The goal is to initiate interaction between one another and help boost self esteem within the group. When the clients need to start using a new behavior as a part of their treatment, the group setting is a fitting place to begin because it is supportive. When a group unites with a similar goal in mind there is a sense of belonging during the sessions. Group counseling focuses on promoting interpersonal learning with others and providing feedback so that each client may have a deeper understanding of their own diagnosis.

When is Group Counseling Used?

There are various reasons as to why Group Counseling may be used. It's often chosen over individual psychotherapy for social reasons. Those who are in the group are there to improve throughout the treatment by observing others who are dealing with the same areas of health. Although the client doesn't partake in one-on-one interactions with the counselor there are advantages to the environment. Group counseling is used when the client is in need of an increased amount of feedback. It may be provided if the client benefits from modeling and social interaction. When the individual is able to see others improve they can use the model's coping methods for their own cognitive and behavioral growth.

How Group Counseling Works

Throughout the session a group of individuals come together with either one or multiple therapists depending on the size of the group. This offers participants the opportunity to socialize with others who may have some of the same issues. They may be asked to try out new behavior and engage with others by giving and receiving positive feedback. While in the group it is likely that the clients will be satisfied with the way that they can speak openly about their insecurities or worries. The individual is in control of how much they expose to the group. A group setting is not aggressive in making clients speak about issues that they aren't comfortable with.

Most patients are secure with the setting within weeks. When the patient becomes comfortable it is common that they will begin to interact more. There should never be any groups that have more than 12 clients because it can be difficult to give every person the effectiveness that they need in treatment if there are too many people. Small groups are more effective in giving and receiving support because the clients can get to know each other on a more intimate level.

Members of this group speak with one another about personal issues. They may respond to some of the events that they have already overcome since treatment has begun. Many sessions confront issues that have been brought up by other members out of concern or worry. The subject of the session is concluded by what the group of clients wants to speak about. The therapist does not decide on the topic of conversation. Feedback that stems from others can actually help the group have more of a maladaptive behavior which is constructive throughout the treatment.

Criticisms of Group Counseling

There is minor criticism made toward treating patients who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in a group setting. Research shows that there are only some clients who have BPD and have benefitted support in group sessions. Clinical studies illustrate that having both group therapy and individual therapy is most effective for some clients depending on their diagnosis. Overall studies point out the effectiveness of psychotherapy in the form of group counseling.


Group therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Howes , R. (2013, May 30). What about group therapy?. Retrieved from

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