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West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Treatments and medication > Group therapy

Group therapy

Group therapy helps a person to talk about problems with the support of others experiencing similar problems, facilitated by trained therapists. The relationships that develop amongst a group are particularly helpful for those learning to integrate better at home, work or in the community.
This form of therapy also enables the therapist or clinician to assess the progress of members of the group as they can observe their interactions and give feedback in real time.
Participants discover how they relate to other people and how other people see them. In a safe and nurturing environment based on trust and respect, they have the opportunity to see how their thoughts and actions affect those around them. Through the group, a person is able to discover a sense of their own personal identity separate from their mental illness.

Shared support and advice

Group discussions are particularly useful for a person needing coping strategies for anxiety, relationship or social problems. At the same time, giving support and advice to others with similar issues can be therapeutic in itself. Discovering that others share the same experiences and feelings is very positive. It creates a sense of belonging and offers new ways of looking at issues.

Confidentiality

Group meetings are confidential and participants are asked not to meet up outside the group. Problems and concerns stay within the group where they can be discussed with the support of a trained WLMHT therapist in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

Personal development

At WLMHT, participants use the groups differently, and all are encouraged to go at their own pace. To begin with some feel reluctant but group therapy does help many people to make significant changes in their lives and relationships.
Peer support can be central to a person’s development and recovery. As participants gain in their confidence and are able to express themselves more openly, group therapy gives them the personal and social skills they need to improve their everyday life and be part of their local community.

When it doesn’t work so well

Group therapy will probably not be helpful for a person who is frightened of people or finds it difficult to trust others. If a person feels too ashamed to share a problem with a group or has feelings of paranoia, a one-to-one treatment may be more appropriate. It’s also difficult for people to benefit from being involved in group therapy if they lack any self-awareness about their condition and fail to identify with the purpose of the group.