What is group therapy?

There are many different types of therapeutic groups, psychoeducation, skills development, support, interpersonal, cognitive/behavioral. Basically, it's when a group of people working on similar issues come together and help each other to learn and grow under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Groups can be open, allowing members to flow in and out, or closed, with a set list of attendees and usually a set time frame.


What makes group therapy beneficial?

I am a big proponent of working in groups and believe them to be more effective than individual therapy in many circumstances. We humans are strongly influenced by the humans around us. Groups offer a safe haven to share the relief of knowing you are not the only person struggling with certain feelings, learning from each other, the benefit of helping another person, insight by watching and listening to how others interact...the list goes on. Group therapy can also be less expensive, and frankly, more interesting and fun.


What do you talk about in group therapy?

A proper group will have a clear definition of its structure, rules, and goals. A support group may have people talking about their feelings or sharing learned resources where a skills group may have members talking about how they have applied specific new skills learned in group in their personal life.


What is expected of me as a group member?

First, pat yourself on the back, as many people shy away from the idea of attending a group, despite their great effectiveness. We can all be a bit nervous about sharing with folks we do not know. But be aware that most everyone there feels the same way. Come with a spirit of curiosity, cooperation, respect, and support of others. Most groups do not require you to share personal information, or even talk if you do not want to. Just listening can be immensely helpful. Plan to maintain confidentiality, as this is a critical factor in group cohesion and effectiveness. Play be the rules that are discussed at the beginning. Allow the facilitator to do their job in keeping the group moving forward and staying balanced in sharing. Basically, plan to treat your group members as you would want to be treated. And bring your own boundaries, don’t share things that are overly personal until you trust your group.


Are FPA’s groups support or therapy focused?

The groups that I cofacilitate at FPA are skills based. We learn skills to be applied to life situations, then allow members to discuss how the skills apply to their particular situation, if they choose to share. We support each other through the time limited process, forming bonds and gaining cheerleaders. Many of our group graduates report that in addition to new skills, the main thing that they gain is feeling less alone in their desire for change and growth. They often say they were surprised and relieved that others shared their issues. This feeling of “universality” can really take the pain out of a struggle and allow one to just focus on improvement.

​​​Florida Psychological Associates LLC

We asked Connie Cooper, our group therapy coordinator some questions about groups and how they work.  If you would like any additional information, please call our office at (904) 277 0027.