Group psychotherapy, or group therapy, relates to the treatment of a group of patients or clients at one time. More often than not, these sessions are done among patients suffering from the same psychological problems or situations. It is believed that group therapy helps an individual to relate his experiences to that of others. Examples are those that address grief, addiction, and weight issues. One or more therapists can administer group therapy sessions. Here's how to do group therapy activities:
- The first activity in group therapy is the icebreaker. This part basically involves the self-introduction of each participant to the group. It establishes trust and comfort among the participants. Although it is not guaranteed that each patient will feel at ease right away, an icebreaker will always lessen feelings of inhibition. There are a lot of different icebreaker activities available, so there isn't one activity that works for each session.
- The next step is the building of trust. This is a challenging part of the process. It entails the administration of activities that will get each participant to trust his group mates. It is the responsibility of the therapist to break the walls that exist between the participants. Only after doing this can the members of the group be able to bond with each other.
- Telling is the third step in the process. This is the part of the session when each member tells the others something about his or her life experiences. Trust building and telling are directly related to each other. Only after a successful building of trust is achieved will a member truly be able to open up to the group. For other members, on the other hand, trust is developed after hearing the stories. This is usually true when a common experience is discovered that a member can relate to.
- After trust is built and life experiences are told, group therapy exercises and games will be introduced. Simple games like charades or hangman will do. Often, it is the therapist who chooses what game to play. It may be one that the therapist sees as a good fit for the group.
- Lastly, role-playing or psychodrama is done. This part is when each member will act out a certain life experience. Role-playing becomes a venue for venting feelings that have been kept inside for so long. This is the most dramatic part of group therapy. As with the other parts of the session, the other members will be able to relate to the co-member who is actively venting out his feelings.
Opening up to other people with the same experiences can sometimes prove to be more beneficial than having a one-on-one session with a therapist. It gives a patient a support structure and they might eventually become friends with the other patients. Human beings are social, and being part of a whole is an important aspect in life. Group therapy becomes an effective venue of belonging to a whole.