Group therapy means that more than one patient attend to the same therapy program at once. There are some things that are really important in group therapy, more than one to one therapy, such as a good etiquette. This allows the attendees to gain confidence and liaise easier with the therapist, as well as with each other. Such elements exist in the group therapy and we will try to depict them in the next paragraphs.
The group rules are something special in a group and, if obeyed, this can be a very good step to creating a relaxed environment, in which everybody can feel safe and be drawn into communication. A group usually establishes its rules by itself and as a good therapist, one needs to pay respect to them. This can be achieved by not speaking unless it’s your turn so you don’t interrupt anybody, paying attention to the things another group member says and totally avoiding making judgments about people in the therapy group.
The efficiency of a group therapy is held by every member and the degree of his or her participation. Engaging in group activities and also encouraging others to do the same makes the group bound quicker and better. Of course, the participation must go by the rules of the group which, during the group sessions must be kept as fundamental guidelines.
It’s important to keep all discussions and stories and remarks on topic, because it’s easy to deviate from one subject to another, especially if the group members feel better and the communication goes on very good.
At the same time, there is a probability that at least one of the group members is not a very good talking person, so patience must be one element that mustn’t lack. It’s good to be supportive towards those members, to be understanding, to encourage them when such a situation occurs and also congratulate them when they manage to actively participate to a discussion.
A facilitator in a group is very important, especially if he or she manages to go by all the above rules. Given the fact that in general groups develop an attitude of being against the therapist, a facilitator can help improve some aspects from within the group and help the therapist become a part of a group much easier. From an experience point of view, the therapist has as much to share as anybody else in the group.
Some more specifics rules exist when dealing with group therapy. The first one it that these sessions are confidential and no information regarding these should be externalized, one must keep in mind that the trust and safety are some of the main targets. Instead of using “we” statements, the therapist should always employ the “I”; this makes his telling more personal and shortens any distance between him or her and the group. Being on time, not interrupting a member when speaking, not giving direct advice and avoiding dramatic discussion topics means to be respectful towards the group member and towards the recovery process he has undertaken.