Group Therapy vs Individual Therapy

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Group Therapy vs Individual Therapy

Almost 20% of Americans report attending a form of therapy in 2019. If therapy is something you are considering, it’s important to look at the appointment options. The two most common are individual and group sessions.

Group therapy involves attending a therapy session run by a professional counselor with multiple patients. Group therapy isn’t as popular as individual therapy, but there are benefits that those in individual therapy won’t receive.

Individual therapy is the practice of a singular person receiving personalized treatment from a professional. Despite being the most popular treatment method, individual therapy has its downsides.

When comparing group therapy vs individual therapy, it’s important to look at the benefits and disadvantages of both.

The Benefits of Group Therapy

Those participating in group therapy can feel more validated. It can be helpful to see that other experience the same emotions that you have.

There is a greater sense of accountability when in a therapy group. When tasked with performing an assignment outside of a session, there is pressure to complete it. We know others will see our progress.

A sense of community arises when like-minded people work to overcome issues. Dr. Ned Hallowell has material that patients to access outside of sessions to help make progress. Attendees can then exchange tips and tricks.

The Disadvantages of Group Therapy

Some sessions may be dominated by other attendees. This can reduce the amount that we contribute. It could leave patients feeling like sessions are not effective.

Similarly, conflicting patient personalities can surface and cause problems within the therapy group.

Patients may not be comfortable with sharing personal problems in front of others. This can also reduce the effectiveness of appointments as we don’t share the issues we face.

The Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy focuses on the sole patient. This allows the patient and the provider to develop personal and centralized outcomes for the patient to achieve.

Patients may also be more comfortable sharing their feelings and problems one-on-one. This can lead to a strong connection with the provider.

Individual therapy forces the patient to learn how to express their emotions adequately. Instead of relying on others to drive the conversation, they are in charge.

The Disadvantages of Individual Therapy

Attending an individual therapy session as opposed to a therapy group can be awkward or uncomfortable for some patients. Being the center of attention for an entire session can be anxiety-inducing.

Individual therapy can also lack the collaboration that group therapy offers. Patients are alone when trying to communicate issues or solve problems.

Individual sessions can lead to a plateau in progress. Patients may not be as motivated to advance without accountability from others.

Comparing Group Therapy vs Individual Therapy

When weighing the pros and cons of group therapy vs individual therapy it is important to choose the option that best suits you.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking in groups, individual therapy may be your best bet. On the other hand, if being the center of attention makes you nervous, group therapy can help you avoid that.

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