Common Misconceptions About Group Therapy
"I will be forced to tell my deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets to the group."
You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. You can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you.
"Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because I will have to share the time with others."
Actually, group therapy is often more efficient than individual therapy. You can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself.
"I will be verbally attacked by the leaders and by other group members."
It is very important that group members feel safe. Therapists are there to help develop a safe environment. Feedback is often difficult to hear. One of the benefits of group therapy is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive environment. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is precisely what group can offer. This will be done in a respectful way, so that you can hear it and make use of it.
"Group therapy is not as good or as effective as individual therapy."
If the recommendation of group therapy is made to you, it is because the therapist believes that is the best way to address your concerns. We do not put people into group therapy because we don't have space in individual therapy, or because we want to save time. We recommend group when it is the most effective method to help you.
"I have so much trouble talking to people; I'll never be able to share in a group."
Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will most likely get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.
(This text was developed by Jack Corazzini, Virginia Commonwealth University)