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What Are The Types of Group Therapy? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.

What Are The Types of Group Therapy? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.

A lot of clinical psychology focuses on individual psychotherapy because this is what the majority of the profession gets involved with. As well as a lot of university courses, textbooks and resources focus on individual therapy, but a lot of aspiring clinical psychologists don’t always know about group therapy in any great depth. In this clinical psychology podcast episode, we change that by learning what are the types of group therapy and more. If you’re interested in learning about clinical psychology, therapy and psychological interventions then you’re going to enjoy this episode for sure.

Today’s psychology podcast episode is sponsored by Working With Children and Young People: A Guide To Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also available as an AI-narrated audiobook from selected audiobook platforms and library systems. For example, Kobo, Spotify, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Overdrive, Baker and Taylor and Bibliotheca.

What Is Group Therapy?

The main difference between individual therapy and group therapy is that group therapy offers clients things that individual therapy cannot. For example, group therapy offers clients a chance to meet others experiencing the same or similar difficulties as them and it introduces them to different people at different stages of their recovery. This can be extremely useful to clients just starting their own recovery so you can immediately see what group therapy can accomplish because you can see the people who have had positive treatment outcomes.

Personally, the reason why I’m focusing on this topic at this moment in time is because I’ve been thinking a lot about survivors, group settings and the benefit I might get from engaging in a assault survivor community and talking to other survivors. I know I am not there yet but this personal tragedy did spark my interest in actually looking into group therapy and trying to understand it a little more.

Especially because I know Assistant Psychologists tend to get heavily involved in group therapy work but at university, no one really talks about group therapy.

I want to help people learn about it so they aren’t in the dark about this useful and important area of psychotherapy.

What Are The Three Types of Group Therapy?

What Is Psychoeducational Group Therapy?

Whenever I think about group therapy, Psychoeducational Group Therapy never makes it onto my list because I thought this was a major part of all therapies, and it is to some extent. Since the purpose of psychoeducational group therapy is to teach clients about their mental health condition and help them to learn coping skills. These conditions can include anger management, depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.

In this type of group therapy, clients tend to meet once a week for one or two hours. Then in these sessions, a therapist helps clients to learn the skills they need to manage or overcome whatever difficulty that they’re facing. As well as the therapist might give them homework or reading to help the clients further understand their progress in-between sessions.

Finally, typically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used in psychoeducational group therapy because this therapy module helps clients to identify, challenge as well as change any biased cognitive processes that they have. Also, CBT is very action- and present-orientated so clients can come away from this therapy type with the tools and knowledge to help them recover.

Personally, as much as the idea about CBT is “only present” focus is a myth because CBT can focus to a limited extent on the past if needed. I can understand why CBT is used in group settings because it’s easy to follow and cost-effective so you can treat a range of clients at once. The former NHS commissioning officer I spoke to would be so proud of me for that comment.

On the whole, psychoeducational group therapy is about teaching clients about their condition and any coping skills they need to deal with whatever they face.

What Is Support Group Therapy?

Whenever we think of group therapy, this is certainly the one that pops into mind because we see this constantly on TV, movies and in books. This is typically shown as Alcoholics, Gambling or Narcotics Anonymous and I can certainly say that some shows do it better than others. I’ve only ever read academic sources on these groups but when you compare these sources to TV shows, some of the TV shows are seriously lacking in their accuracy.

Anyway, the entire point of Support Group Therapy is that a client is with other people that are like themselves. This allows the clients to talk about why they joined the group, what their current struggles are and what they hope to get out of the group also known as their goals.

The main aim of Support Group Therapy is for clients to encourage each other to move forward in their recovery. Therefore, clients offer each other words of motivation, compassion and they share stories with each other. As well as within the support group, clients can meet others who are further along in their recovery and this can be a powerful sense of hope for the future.

In addition, support groups allow clients to see first-hand how group therapy helps others because group members tend to drop in and out and clients can find themselves in a new group of people from one session to the next.

Now the interesting thing about support group therapy compared to other types of therapy is that you can join it at any time. You don’t need to wait for the current group to finish their course of therapy before the group allows a new intake to join. Due to it is the group leader that kicks off the session and keeps the meeting going forward but the leader doesn’t encourage or teach extensive interactions between members, partly because these group leaders aren’t mental health professionals normally. Nor are they typically licensed.

In my opinion, I do like the idea of support groups because I’ve read the research on their effectiveness for gamblers, alcoholics, victims and more. I know they’re important and I know they can be effective if you find a good one and if you put the work in.

In my current situation, I’m still playing with the idea of joining a sexual assault support group because part of me wants to hear stories, I want to know I’m not alone and I want to have that sense of other-people have been through it and have thrived in some small way. I know I’m not there yet because this week I tried reading some survivor stories online and that went so, so wrong for me.

That was a mistake, but maybe this support group idea is something for the future.

Just because a client isn’t a good fit for something now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future.

What Is Process/ Working Group Therapy?

This is another type of group therapy I’ve never heard of before this podcast episode, and in Working Group Therapy, the clients aren’t there to offer each other sympathy and support and they aren’t there to learn more about their condition. Instead this type of group therapy focuses on interpersonal processes so each client encourages each other to self-explore.

Then the clients challenge each other and discuss their difficulty in a back-and-forth manner.

In addition, these sessions are normally led by a licensed mental health professional but they are mainly there to facilitate the discussion instead of offering wisdom. As well as these conversations can flow naturally from topic to topic so clients can jump in at any time or just sit and listen.

Also, clients can offer each other advice, compassion, personal experiences and most importantly they can learn from one another.

And it is that idea of learning from others that I love. I love the idea that someone who is struggling with a mental health condition can learn from other people that have been through the same or very similar experiences to them. Since I’ve been in individual therapy before and I love it, I support it and therapy works. Yet I always feel that minor disconnect in terms of experiences because sometimes I think it would be nice to hear from someone who has been through a similar thing to me. Instead of a therapist who has only an academic knowledge of what I’ve been through, and experiences they’ve been told from other clients in the past.

Of course, I acknowledge that is a brilliant way to do therapy. Since it allows a client to unlock and realise the answers for themselves instead of relying on someone else to effectively spoon-feed them the answers, but it’s an interesting and fun idea. Hearing from someone else.

Clinical Psychology Conclusion

Overall, whether a client is dealing with anxiety, anger, depression or another mental health condition, they might benefit from spending time with people who have experienced the same as them. Group therapy might help them feel less alone and abandoned. It gives a client a chance to find strength, inspiration and comfort in addition to learning new skills, develop new connections and receive guidance.

And individual psychotherapy is still brilliant because it works, it’s useful and it changes lives for the better. But there is one thing individual therapy will never ever be able to accomplish like group therapy and it is important, it is critical and it can be life-changing.

Group therapy teaches you, you are never alone in your experiences.

And that is a wonderfully powerful thing to realise.


I really hope you enjoyed today’s forensic psychology podcast episode.

If you want to learn more, please check out:

Working With Children and Young People: A Guide To Clinical Psychology, Mental Health and Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also available as an AI-narrated audiobook from selected audiobook platforms and library systems. For example, Kobo, Spotify, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Overdrive, Baker and Taylor and Bibliotheca.

Have a great day.

Clinical Psychology References and Recommended Reading

Evidence on the effectiveness of group therapy. (n.d.).

Faridhosseini F, et al. (2017). Effectiveness of psychoeducational group training on quality of life and recurrence of patients with bipolar disorder.

Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy. (2019).

Rønning SB, et al. (2019). The use of clinical role-play and reflection in learning therapeutic communication skills in mental health education: an integrative review.

The science of kindness. (2019).

Thimm JC, et al. (2014). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression in routine practice.

What is a certified group psychotherapist (CGP)? (n.d.).

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