What is Group Therapy and How Can it Help my Child?

Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy


During this kind of treatment one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group. The broader concept of group therapy can be taken to include any helping process that takes place in a group, including support groups, skills training groups (such as anger management, mindfulness, relaxation training or social skills training), and psycho-education groups. Other, more specialised forms of group therapy would include non-verbal expressive therapies such as art therapy, dance therapy, or music therapy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_psychotherapy)


Group therapy is often beneficial to children and adolescents by providing support from others going through similar situations. Groups are led by qualified clinicians who have experience working with children and adolescents in this type of setting, in order to maximise the benefits but also reduce the costs to the parents.


Group therapy focuses on “change”: change in attitudes, beliefs, emotions and/or behaviors. In the group, members are relieved to discover they are not alone—their experiences, problems or fears are not unique or isolated. Group members are able to receive support, consider alternatives, challenge thoughts and develop new, more effective coping skills to ease their struggles and improve the quality of their lives.


Groups generally meet weekly for a specified number of sessions. Family members or other support persons may be asked to participate in some of the sessions.


Common misconceptions about group therapy:


#1:  I’ll have to tell all my deepest, darkest secrets. 

No one will force your child to divulge anything he/she is uncomfortable sharing. Your child alone decides what to say and when to say it. However, in order for the group to help, it is important to realise that what your child puts into the group will determine what your child gets out of the group. As he saying goes “A problem shared is a problem halved….”


#2:  Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because my child will have to share the time with other members.

Actually, group therapy is more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, your child can benefit by listening to others, even if he/she doesn’t say much. He/she will find they have a lot in common with other group members. As they work on their issues, concerns and fears, your child can learn more about him/herself. Second, group members often bring up issues that strike a chord but that your child might not have been aware of or brought up him/herself.


#3:  Group therapy is not as good as individual therapy.

Research has shown that group participants usually experience equally satisfying results. In fact, some find it is even better than individual therapy. Group therapy is recommended when your child’s therapist believes it is the best way to address your child’s needs, not because we do not have space in individual therapy, or because we want to save you time. We recommend it when it is the most effective method to help




The Psych Professionals Child Psychologist regularly offers therapy groups on a number of topics including, but not limited to, Mindfulness, Sensory Processing, Effective Communication Skills, PALS Social Skills Program for Children aged 4 – 6 years, Girls Social Club, Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Chronic Pain, Animal Assisted Therapy Groups for Disengaged Teens and a Postnatal Depression Support Group.  To get more information or to express an interest in any of these groups, please call The Psych Professionals on 07 3801 1772 (Lognaholme) or 07 3823 2230 (Capalaba).



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