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Group Therapy

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REFLECTION ON GROUP COUNSELLING IN RELATION TO THEORETICAL APPROACH:- Group therapy for me was a very new concept. My understanding towards group therapy was that every one share their concern issues and goup members discuss about that issue and get different perspectives about how to deal with that issue by building cohession and trust among the members. According to zander (1968) a group is a collection of individuals who have relation to one another that make them interdependent to some significant degree. , Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time.Generally, the counselling group has a speific focus, which may be educational, vocational, social or personal. This type of therapy is widely available at a variety of locations, including private therapeutic practices, hospitals, mental health clinics and community centres.

Group therapy is sometimes used alone, but it is also commonly integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes individual therapy and medication. Group therapy is a therapy where a group of people (not more than 10) gather together under the guidance of a therapist, and share everyone’s experiences, problems and weaknesses and where each one gives their views on what others are sharing and gives each other emotional support. I personally feel Group therapy is very effective where the group members are asisted in developing their skills in dealling with interpersonal problems so that they will be better able to handle the future problems of a similar nature. Most of the time what happens is, when each one start sharing about their experiences, member’s feels there is hope and that there is something to look forward to.

Group therapy helps members grow emotionally and personal growth. Another benefit of group therapy is being able to learn from the experiences of others. We can hear about what coping strategies where members found to be effective and what coping strategies were not effective. We may also learn new ways of addressing a problem in your relationships or at work. By being in a group, we can be exposed to other perspectives on our problems that we may have never considered. Group therapy is very effective to bring about changes in the member’s. The first time I personally experienced attending a group therapy was part of my course. Through this experience i can say that group therapy can be very powerful in healing a person emotionally and since the members were from the same class, where we all have similar goals. Group therapy helped all of us to establish meaningful and intimate relationship and we also recognised commanality of members needs and problems and to develop a sense of bonding and we became very close and we could also be there for each other during emotionally trying times.

It also helped me to increase self-growth, self acceptance and self –confidence among oneself and group members. Group therapy is a powerful venue for growth and change. It also helped me in expressing my emotions in a healthy way. I feel that group therapy is one of the most effective tools for addressing issues among diverse groups. Group therapy can benefit almost everyone. Like individual counselling, group therapy can benefit almost anyone. It can be especially useful for people who want to explore their style of relating to others and enhance their approach to relationships in areas such as trust, intimacy, anger, conflict, assertiveness, risk-taking, self esteem, issues of depression, anxiety, and alcohol and other drug issues, medical illness, loneliness, shyness, or who have experienced losses, sexual assault, or other stressors. Group can provide members with diverse views, responses, and feedback.also in group therapy setting, you likely will not be able to discuss certain problems as deeply as you would in individual therapy.

From my experience I personally feel among all the theoretical approaches I found psychoanalytic approach works best in group counselling. The reason for this is emotions started pouring in, everyone’s past started getting connected and it was a major healing process. For me personally, when I shared about my dreams I got to know the conection between my past life where childhood played a vital role, a lot of the past life affects my behaviour today. Most of them are also not aware that it is because of some incidents in the past that many of them behave the way they are behaving today. Through group therapy and through the use of psychoanalytic theory, many of them realised that they have been drastically affected because of their past. For example one of the members realised that it was because of a terrible experience that she had with some men in the past that left her traumatized, because of which now she finds it very difficult to deal with men. I feel that early learning is not irreversible, but to change its effects one must be aware of how certain early experiences have effected to one’s present personality structure. Through psychoanalytic therapy, the client can realise and identify what is the cause of his or her behaviour today and then work on it.

In group therapy also all the members can work out on ways to deal with each one’s problem after knowing their past incidents. This approach also helps the members to ease and reduce the burden of suffering. Psychoanalysis intends to help individuals develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of themselves and to help people become mature, well-functioning human beings. In our group therapy session, it was quite difficult for the members to open up about their past, but through the therapist’s patience and appropriate dealing he was able to make the members open up. Even for me personally it was very difficult to open up and speak. But after I spoke out, I felt so relief as though a whole bag of weight had been lifted up from my shoulders also the defence mechanisms that members were using from childhoodand continued into adulthood when faced similar experience or situation. So when leader gave the feedback and also the other members the person is fully aware of their defensive styles of interaction, with also awareness members were also able to be more flexible in the use of defenses, and the grou members are able to choose diresct forms of dealing with the situations that emerge in the group. Using this theory can make a drastic change in the person and can bring about a lot of awareness in the person.

But along with this, I feel that psychoanalytic approach cannot be used only in one group counselling session there should be continuity in treatment which is essential to developing the therapeutic relationship required for this kind of self-exploration. The aim of psychoanalysis therapy is to release repressed emotions and experiences, i.e. make the unconscious to conscious. Psychoanalysis is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. I feel that psychoanalysis requires a lot of time and patience to focuss on members issue .Our therapist used various techniques as encouragement for the members to develop insights into their behaviour. In our group our therapist encouraged us to share a lot about our childhood life. The positive, negative and the most significant incidents of our childhood was shared. Psychoanalysis is a therapy as well as theory. Our therapist by using psychoanalysis helped me feel understood as a unique individual, helped me get relief from painful emotions, and also understand feelings and behaviours of others. He also made me aware about how the past is presently affecting me and with my daily activities and also talk out all that was there within me.

Personally through this experience, I felt that psychoanalysis was very effective in our group therapy session and it was very fruitful. In conclusion, group therapy is a very effective and emotionally healing process. The psychoanalytic approach also helped us bring out our past and deal with our emotions and through group therapy we were able to be there for each other and support each other emotionally. Group therapy helped us get closer to each other and build strong bonding with each member in the group.


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