Therapy is a critical part of recovery, but how do you know whether group therapy vs. individual therapy is right for you? In today’s blog, we’re exploring the differences between these therapies and how you can know which one is right for you.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Let’s start by defining what psychotherapy is. Simply put, psychotherapy uses psychological principles to help individuals get where they want to be. Trained therapists and psychologists often provide these services.
Individuals who seek therapy usually want to change what they do or how they think. They might need help working through their emotions or dealing with significant life events. Therapy can help in profound ways.
What Is Individual Therapy?
You can split therapy into two basic categories: group therapy vs. individual therapy. There is an abundance of psychiatric tools used within both types.
Individual therapy is where one individual works with at least one therapist. The therapist can be a psychologist, social worker, counselor, psychiatrist, etc. Anyone who has the necessary training can provide therapy.
In most situations, individuals work one-on-one with a therapist. But in some cases, more than one therapist is necessary. This is most common when therapists with different specialties are needed to treat one patient.
Why Individual Therapy?
There are several reasons why individual therapy is beneficial. Let’s take a look at these reasons:
- It’s easy to keep things confidential.
- The therapist gives the client one-on-one attention.
- The therapist can provide in-depth, intensive therapy.
- The therapy location is flexible.
- The client can take as much time as they need on a specific topic or area.
- The therapist and client form a bond from having a therapist-client relationship.
- Clients can learn a lot about themselves through feedback from the therapist.
- The client can schedule therapy for a time that works best for them.
- Therapists can often fit clients in at the last minute if they have an emergency.
- Individual therapy helps clients develop their communication skills.
Disadvantages of Individual Therapy
While the list above indicates the benefits of individual therapy, some cons are worth mentioning:
- Individual therapy can get expensive very quickly.
- Individual therapy isn’t the best tool for individuals who need to relate to others who share similar experiences.
- A client needs to be motivated to progress in individual therapy.
Why Group Therapy?
Group therapy is where clients gather together and receive treatment from at least one therapist. Usually, five to 15 clients come together, with one or two therapists leading the session—some groups are larger or smaller. Sometimes, only one therapist leads a session.
Advantages of group therapy
- Group therapy helps clients feel like they’re not alone when they can relate to others. This is called the “principle of universality.”
- Group therapy is a place to both give and receive support. In the group therapy session, receiving support from others helps form bonds and connections—providing support helps each client learn and grow.
- Hearing someone else’s story can provide you with a new perspective.
- Group therapy helps individuals to communicate and socialize better. It’s a safe place for everyone to learn and grow.
- Individuals in group therapy usually develop greater self-awareness from listening to other people dealing with similar situations.
- Sharing experiences is therapeutic.
- Group therapy allows for “modeling” successful behaviors, copying and imitating actions to learn from each other.
Disadvantages of Group Therapy
While there are significant aspects of group therapy, there are also some disadvantages.
- In group settings, no one is the focus of attention. Whoever speaks up gets the most attention in any given group therapy session. Because of this, not everyone receives the same benefits.
- It’s not as easy to maintain confidentiality in a group setting. While you can trust the therapists to keep your information confidential, you can’t expect everyone in your group to do the same.
- Some individuals in a group setting will piggyback on others’ successes instead of achieving their own. It’s easier to hide and avoid accountability.
- The therapeutic alliance is broader, but it’s not nearly as focused or as intense as individual therapy.
- Group therapy sessions meet at specific times and in particular places, making it harder for some people to attend group sessions.
- Group therapy might not work for shy, impulsive, or passive-aggressive individuals or individuals who have psychosis.
- It’s hard to know who will identify with each other.
- While it’s unfortunate, some may form alliances to the detriment of other group members. Skilled therapists can usually prevent this, but it still happens.
Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy
We’ve gone over the differences between group therapy vs. individual therapy. But which is better? Neither group therapy nor individual therapy is better. It all depends on the individual’s needs. Research shows that both are effective forms of treatment.
So, how do you choose? You should try both and see if you have a preference. You could sign up for both or try one at a time. Ultimately, your individual goals, what you’re working through, and what kinds of therapists are available in your area will determine what type of therapy you choose.
Ardu Recovery Center
Are you considering group therapy vs. individual therapy for yourself or a loved one? Here at Ardu Recovery Center, we believe in both kinds of treatments. As discussed in this blog, there are as many benefits and disadvantages to each type of therapy. It’s a matter of getting to know yourself and seeing what works best for you.
At Ardu Recovery Center, we offer many types of therapy to help individuals recovering from addiction. Addiction is a disease. It does not define you, but it does affect your life, often in profoundly negative ways. Recovering involves receiving treatment.
In addition to group and individual therapies, we also offer IV amino acid therapy, oxygen therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, massage, yoga, reiki, and more. We customize recovery plans based on individual needs.
Are you ready to get started or help a loved one get started? We’ll be happy to assist in any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.