If you have never experienced it, you may wonder what group counseling actually is. At some point in our lives, nearly all of us face a situation or event that can be challenging to deal with. Whether it’s during this time or years after, coping can sometimes be easier said than done. However, once we begin talking with others, we realize that we are not as alone with our problems as we thought we were. This, however, is only the beginning of how beneficial group counseling really can be for those that need it. Let’s take a look at five of the top benefits this type of counseling has to offer.
Not only is group counseling a great way to help you cope with traumatic or difficult events or situations, it is also a great way to learn more about yourself. This type of counseling offers people with a safe and confidential environment to learn and share. Experiences in this setting help to encourage change while connecting with others in similar circumstances.
Sharing with others in a group setting enables you to receive feedback from others that may be sharing the same feelings and experiences that you have. Seeing how others handle their coping issues not only provides you with support but also a different perspective that perhaps you never considered.
By being surrounded by others that are striving to cope, you are provided with motivation to strive, learn, and heal. Having others around you with a common goal can make the healing process much faster than with traditional individual counseling sessions. Additionally, you will be surrounded by others that care about your progress and are willing to help, and more importantly, understand you. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, many feel closer to those in their group in only a short amount of time.
While learning or honing social skills is not the primary focus of group counseling, it is a pleasant side effect that comes with this form of counseling. While most will feel some anxiety during their first group session, attendees tend to feel more comfortable as the sessions continue and many even feel a sense of relief. Just keep in mind that this improved feelings and emotions do not typically come about right away. However, with patience and sharing at a comfortable pace, attendees gradually build upon their comfort levels.
No Constricting Time Limits
With individual counseling sessions, you are restricted by the counselor’s schedule. However, while most group counseling sessions do have a predetermined time to call it a day, it is not unusual for a session to run longer, especially when an attendee has decided to open up or has just made an emotional discovery.
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Yes, group counseling can be intimidating at first, especially if it is your first time sharing your issues in a public, yet private, setting. However, with the benefits that we have discussed above, group counseling could very well be the best and fastest chance for many to resolving their coping issues.