Group Therapy for Mental Health

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What is Group Therapy?

URP Behavioral Health emphasizes the use of evidence-based treatments for the best chance of ensuring favorable outcomes. Group therapy is one such treatment, and it’s a part of most residents’ individual treatment plans. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it’s highly effective for developing and practicing coping skills, as well as increasing treatment engagement. At the mental health treatment center, patients attend cognitive behavioral group therapy sessions on a daily basis. Let’s discuss the benefits of group therapy, along with therapeutic factors and the conditions it can help treat.


It’s a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists will lead a group session involving two or more residents. At URP Behavioral Health, these therapy groups are usually small to ensure that all residents get adequate guidance and attention from therapists. Residents attend group and individual therapy sessions, with the former taking place on a daily basis. These groups include patients struggling with similar symptoms and diagnoses, depending on the purpose of the session.

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What Are Group Therapy Sessions Used to Treat

At URP Behavioral Health, group therapy sessions are used as part of treatment programs for the following conditions:

Anxiety Disorder

Relying on cognitive behavioral techniques during group therapy is highly effective for anxiety disorders like social anxiety. You realize that you’re not alone in your struggles and experience empowerment as you learn to help others.

Bipolar Disorder

Research indicates that patients with bipolar disorder experienced significant improvements after undergoing group therapy. You can talk about shared experiences in an environment that fosters accountability and increases treatment adherence.

Depressive Disorder

When you feel a lack of motivation due to a low mood, it can lead to feelings of guilt. Group therapy is an effective way to alleviate the stigma associated with the condition and receive acceptance from your primary family group and other members.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many patients with PTSD tend to isolate themselves to avoid feeling unsafe or overwhelmed. Research shows that exposure-based group therapy is highly effective when you have PTSD as it allows you to build coping skills as a team.


The main goal of using group therapy to help with schizophrenia is to cope with psychotic symptoms. Additionally, it helps improve patients’ interpersonal relationships so they can learn to be part of a closed group or community again.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Group therapy sessions offer you a safe space to talk about OCD without judgment. As you learn to process complex emotions, you also feel motivated to develop coping skills and manage maladaptive behaviors.

Panic Disorder

Studies show that group therapy is useful for reducing the severity of panic attacks. After undergoing the group psychotherapy sessions, patients used fewer avoidance and escape strategies. Instead, they used more adaptive coping skills.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Group therapy is associated with greater symptom reduction compared to other treatments. In most cases, the one attending group therapy also uses DBT techniques to develop acceptance of their condition while understanding the need for change. It can lead to reduced symptom severity and depressed mood.

The Importance of Psychoeducation

Dissociative Disorder

Group therapy is effective for stabilizing patients with dissociative disorders. Research shows that these sessions are associated with improvements in psychological functioning. It can reduce dissociation while increasing cognitive functions to prevent crisis situations.

Advantages of Group Therapy

Here are some of the advantages of getting group therapy:

You Give and Get Support

During these sessions, you’re in a safe environment where you can express your thoughts without fear of judgment. And as other group members express their feelings, you can listen and offer support.

You Feel Inspired and Motivated

Seeing other members successfully gain control over symptoms will motivate you to remain in treatment and achieve your goals.

You Stay Accountable

When you talk about your goals in a group setting, you get feedback and guidance, which urges you to stay accountable.

You Learn About Yourself

Although skill-building is a part of individual and not group therapy techniques, the latter gives you a chance to practice your skills with others. As you do that, you start learning more about how others respond to you and vice versa.

Types of Group Therapy

Some of the modes of group therapy at URP Behavioral Health include:

Cognitive Behavioral Groups

This involves the integration of cognitive behavioral techniques in a group setting. In group cognitive behavioral therapy, you’ll learn to alleviate intrapersonal and interpersonal issues while building a stronger understanding of the connections between your thoughts and behaviors.

Skills Development Groups

In this group therapy session, you learn and improve the necessary skills to cope with unpleasant psychological symptoms. The primary purpose of these sessions is to enhance your cognitive and behavioral faculties so you can prevent harmful situations and make informed decisions.

Support Groups

As the name implies, these group treatment sessions offer your support group an environment of unconditional acceptance and empathy. They’re suitable for discussing the challenges you face due to your condition.


An essential focus of group and family therapy, psychoeducation involves informing and educating you about your condition so you can work on new coping strategies.

Therapeutic Factors of Group Therapy

To ensure successful outcomes, group therapists at URP Behavioral Health rely on specific therapeutic factors, such as:

Modeling and Instilling Hope

When groups include residents at different stages of their treatment plan, it allows interactions between old and new members. Here, old members of the group who have successfully developed coping strategies serve as role models for new ones, instilling a sense of hope.

Practicing Social Skills

When learning new skills, the group setting offers a suitable environment to practice these behaviors. A supportive setting allows you to experiment and test different techniques without worrying about failure.

Interpersonal Learning

You start learning more about yourself through interactions with other group members and the therapist. As you gain feedback on behaviors and responses, you understand your strengths and feel more confident.

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Group Therapy Activities


Therapists can use a variety of approaches to engage a group. While sessions usually focus on skill-building and the interpersonal process groups practicing said skills, therapists can also use activities such as the following:


Expressive Writing


Through this activity, residents write about their feelings and experiences as a way to explore their emotions and the events that lead to them.


Vision Boards


It’s an excellent activity that helps group members set specific treatment goals by creating visualizations of what they want to achieve in therapy group.


Gratitude and Reflection


Through this technique, the therapist encourages group members to recount the different aspects of their life that they’re grateful for, such as their family, partner, or career.

FAQs for Group Therapy for Mental Health

Some of the most commonly asked questions about group therapy and its impact include:

The most significant benefit of group therapy is that it reduces the feeling of isolation that accompanies most mental disorders. When you’re encouraged to socialize with other people who have had similar experiences, you build communication skills and realize that you’re not alone.

According to the National Institutes of Health, exclusion criteria for group therapy includes patients who can’t participate due to interpersonal, logistical, or cognitive factors. Some examples include antisocial or extremely shy people. Similarly, people struggling with suicidality, substance use disorder or acute stress shouldn’t be considered for group therapy and should be managed individually.

Sessions can last between one and two hours because they accommodate groups of two or more people. At URP Behavioral Health, residents are expected to attend daily group therapy sessions. The course of group therapy lasts for the duration of the treatment plan, which can vary depending on the diagnosis. Initially, residents may receive a month-long treatment plan, but this is modified every two weeks based on progress.

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