The Benefits of Young Adult Group TherapyReading Time: 3 minutes
Even if they haven’t had personal experience with mental healthcare, most people are familiar with the one-on-one setup of an individual therapy session. This traditional talk therapy format offers a safe space to process the highs and lows of the healing process with a trusted clinician who can offer guidance and support.
However, group therapy has been shown to be just as effective, if not more effective, than individual therapy in combating symptoms of trauma. Moreover, group therapy for young adults offers benefits that support recovery from a wide variety of mental health conditions and co-occurring disorders.
What Is Group Therapy?
As a critical component of individualized, comprehensive care for emerging adults, group therapy is used to treat the impact of trauma and many other mental health conditions. Young adult group therapy can occur in the inpatient or outpatient setting, and is typically facilitated by a mental health professional and limited to a small number of participants.
The frequency of group therapy depends on the needs of the individual, but in most residential treatment programs, clients attend several group therapy sessions per week, focused on a range of topics related to their treatment plan. All group participants agree to maintain confidentiality, ensuring that what’s shared in group therapy sessions isn’t shared with anyone outside the group.
Depending on the setting, young adult group therapy can focus on any topic—from substance abuse and compulsive behaviors to trauma and relationship issues.
Depending on the setting, young adult group therapy can focus on any topic—from substance abuse and compulsive behaviors to trauma and relationship issues. Sometimes discussions are focused on identifying problematic behaviors or practicing healthy coping skills. Other sessions serve as a cathartic emotional release in which participants can openly share their stories and provide a listening ear to others in need of support.
Why Is Group Therapy Effective?
Regardless of the topic of discussion or the specific activity that takes place, group therapy is proven to be a highly effective intervention for individuals who have suffered the impact of trauma. As part of a comprehensive approach to treatment, group therapy is often used in tandem with individual and community-based interventions and can serve as a lifelong support.
There are several key benefits of group therapy for emerging adults, including:
- Combating isolation: Often, individuals who develop mental health conditions related to trauma face significant feelings of shame and isolation related to their condition. This is because their symptoms can be hard to describe to other individuals who haven’t shared their experiences. Even well-meaning friends and loved ones may not understand what they’re going through, and this can cause them to feel incredibly alone. Young adult group therapy works to combat this feeling by bringing people together who have traveled a similar path.
- Building validation: In addition to decreasing feelings of isolation, group therapy can serve as an incredibly validating experience. Individuals suffering from mental illness can feel alone in their struggles, sometimes causing them to question the validity of their feelings. But in forging relationships with others who have also dealt with trauma or other psychiatric challenges, they come to see their feelings as valid and worthy of sensitivity and care.
- Sharing wisdom: In telling their stories, group participants offer guidance and support to each other throughout the healing process. In sharing their collective wisdom with each other in group therapy sessions, the entire group learns new ways of responding to common struggles and gains insight into healthy coping tools and strategies.
- Offering support: In providing a listening ear to other participants, individuals develop greater self-esteem as they begin to see themselves as capable of encouraging others. And as they deepen relationships with their fellow group members, they learn how to forge healthy, trusting social connections—a skill that will serve them as they work to reconnect with their community outside of treatment.
A Tool for Lifelong Healing
As part of Newport Institute’s multidimensional approach to trauma-focused treatment, we offer many types of group therapy for the emerging adults entrusted to our care. Group therapy is also a critical component of our aftercare planning process, which begins from the moment each patient is enrolled.
Young adult group therapy is one of the many ways that the staff at Newport Institute helps patients foster authentic connections with themselves and with others. We encourage our patients to access support groups when they return to their communities, so they can continue to make strides in the healing process alongside their peers.