Individual and group therapy are two popular options for mental health treatment. They are very different in nature, but both can be effective for treating many common emotional and behavioral problems. If you’re considering starting therapy, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each type so you can choose the best fit for your needs and goals.
There are a number of aspects to help you differentiate between the two therapies and which might be more beneficial for your needs.
Group Therapy Involves Meeting With a Group of People
Outpatient therapy can be a great option for those who want to learn from the experiences of others and are comfortable sharing their feelings with others. There are many different types of group therapy, including:
- Support groups: Helps people who struggle with similar issues cope with their mental health and live healthier lives
- Psychoeducational groups: Teaches participants about mental health conditions and what they can do to manage them
- Behavioral therapy groups: Encourages changing negative behaviors or improving their daily routines using cognitive-behavioral techniques
A Group Therapist Leads the Group Discussion
A group therapist leads the group while the participants talk about problems, feelings, challenges, and goals. The therapist helps the group members to resolve their problems. The therapist also helps them understand and deal with their feelings more effectively. As a result of this process, participants can achieve their goals in life more easily.
Group Therapy Is the Most Affordable
Group therapy is often more affordable than individual therapy. Unlike individual therapy, group sessions usually include several patients and can be scheduled at fixed rates. This means that you have the opportunity to save money on your sessions if you are part of a group insurance plan.
Group Therapy Tends to Be Shorter-Term
Group therapy is often shorter-term. Some people prefer group therapy because it allows for flexibility in scheduling and costs less than individual therapy. Group members typically meet on a weekly basis, but you may be able to take advantage of even more frequent, regular sessions if your therapist lends them to you.
Individual therapy is different than group therapy in the following:
Individual Therapy Involves Meeting One-On-One With a Trained Psychotherapist
Individual therapy is a one-on-one session with an individual therapist. This can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on your needs and goals. Individual therapy is longer-term than group therapy and more expensive, but it is also more private.
Individual Therapy Promotes Tailored, Lasting Change
In individual therapy, you are given tools and advice to help you achieve your goals and make lasting changes. Therapy is a collaborative process between client and therapist where both parties work together to decide on treatment goals that will benefit the client. By taking an active role in treatment, the client can take responsibility for his or her needs, identify barriers that might get in the way of achieving them, and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers. The therapist provides emotional support as well as insight into patterns of thinking or behavior that may be causing problems in life.
Individual Therapy Is Typically Longer-Term Than Group Therapy
Individual therapy tends to be more long-term than group therapy. The average length of individual therapy is 12 weeks, while the average length of group therapy is eight weeks. Individual therapy can be more expensive than group therapy but pays off in terms of longer-term results and less time spent in treatment overall.
Individuals who are interested in personal growth may find that one-on-one counseling provides a deeper level of understanding than what’s offered by groups or couples. This can provide an opportunity for greater insight into your own psyche, as well as help you develop strategies for overcoming obstacles on your path toward healthy living.
If You’re More Introverted, You Might Find Individual Therapy Easier to Speak In
You can also make the most of individual therapy if you’re an introvert. In group sessions, there are often so many people talking at once that it’s hard to get a word in edgewise if you’re someone who enjoys their own company and isn’t used to being around others.
Individual therapy allows you to control the pace of your session. If it’s too fast or slow, feel free to adjust accordingly. You’ll also have more choice over what topics we talk about during our time together. This could mean choosing which areas of your life you focus on most or just asking a question when something comes up that interests or concerns you.
Both Are Valid Options; Choose the Best Fit for You
Choosing between different types of therapy can be a difficult decision and one that many people struggle with. It can help to think about the kind of relationship you want with your therapist, as well as what type of problems you are looking to address.
When it comes down to it, both options are valid ways of addressing issues in your life. Depending on the issues you’re facing and what your needs are, either approach could work for you. If unsure about which type would be best for you, consider seeing a therapist who does both individual therapy and group therapy. You may find that combining these two approaches works better than one alone.
Individual and group therapy both have pros and cons, but they’re both powerful therapies. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, there are many factors to consider. Sometimes you might start one type of therapy and decide to try the other; it is okay to try both types to see which one will work best for your individual needs. If you or someone you know is struggling and need therapy, reach out to Acera Health. We evaluate all the factors and make an individualized plan for each client to promote healing and the most effective coping skills. For more information on therapeutic options, call us today at (949) 647-4090.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.