Seeking therapy is not always easy. Men especially have a difficult time opening up to a therapist because of the stigma and stereotypes placed around men seeking help. Men could also become hesitant because therapy is a very personal experience that involves disclosing information about yourself and emotions that you might not even share with your close friends and family. However, therapy is not limited to seeking counsel from an individual therapist.
Alternatively, group therapy provides an effective opportunity for treatment and behavioral health issues. Men who seek counsel in a group of other men tend to open up and express themselves more effectively because they share similar experiences. If you can get past the feeling of becoming vulnerable and judged, group therapy can be very rewarding, especially if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or social phobias. Let’s take a look at the benefits of group therapy and why you should consider it.
Sense of Camaraderie
Among the most important benefits of group therapy is camaraderie. Participating in a group setting with other men will allow you the opportunity to see you’re not alone and that others like you are encountering similar challenges. Often, strong feelings of isolation and alienation occur when you are dealing with a mental health or substance use disorder, making seeking treatment even harder.
In group therapy, you will be among other men who are dealing with similar issues. Therefore, a shared understanding of a challenging experience will help nurture trust and eliminate judgment. Sharing your feelings and hearing the feelings of others can help relieve the pain and stress that you may be feeling. Such a form of camaraderie can create the foundations for strong support groups and even flourish into friendships that last a lifetime.
A significant component of group therapy relies upon input from a variety of perspectives. The men in your group will undoubtedly view each other’s problems and experiences differently. While observing how others handle their issues or concerns, you can incorporate different strategies to address your own issues and challenges.
Additionally, different members will be in different stages of their treatment and recovery and will offer you new ways of coping with certain challenges. In turn, you can also benefit from helping others at different points in their recovery. Such a sense of leadership can boost your motivation to continue building upon the tools needed to manage mental health or substance use disorders.
While peer pressure is not always regarded as positive, subtle forms of it can be with group therapy. It does not mean that you or others will be judged or made to feel guilty. Nor will it involve feeling pressured or bullied to do something you are not ready for or behave in a certain way. However, when other group members provide positive feedback and advice for addressing challenges, a feeling of accountability occurs from wanting to deliver and be accepted by your group. It is just enough motivation to help push you forward toward achieving your goals.
Confidence and Self-Discovery
Having the camaraderie, fellowship, and support of other group members provides a type of safety net that nurtures confidence. Such confidence will enable you to push yourself outside of the group. You can take on challenges knowing that if you stumble, you have the support from others to fall back on. Having this kind of network formed of peers is essential to helping you sustain your focus and well-being.
Additionally, building confidence and taking on more challenges helps you learn and discover things about yourself that you might never have known otherwise. When interacting with members of the group, you will see reflections of yourself from their perspectives, allow any “blind spots” to surface, and improve your ability to cope with challenging situations.
Similar to individual therapy, group therapy requires participants to maintain confidentiality outside of the group. Granted, group members aren’t subject to the same ethical standards as licensed therapists, but members are typically required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Given the shared experiences of members, a strong bond forms. Therefore, members often tend to look out for one another and protect each other’s expressions of vulnerability.
Whether you participate in full or partial in-patient treatment programs, most patients find that group therapy is a critical asset to helping them sustain their recovery. Therefore, outpatient programs ensure that you can continue such therapy to help you transition from initial treatment to transitional living and eventually back into your everyday life. Of course, you can continue to attend group therapy to aid you in your recovery.
Seeking therapy can be intimidating; however, maybe you have overlooked the right setting. Group therapy can add a multitude of benefits that help build and shape the foundational elements necessary for lasting recovery. At Choice House, we continue to refine our approach by offering group therapy sessions consisting of only men. Our efforts to provide a space where men can comfortably express their emotions and vulnerabilities prove successful in helping men build healthy relationships and expand their social circles to include peers that have a great understanding of what they are going through. If you have been unable to find success with other forms of therapy, attending a group therapy session with other men could be the key to helping you finally overcome and express your feelings. If you are currently struggling to manage your emotions and are experiencing negative thoughts and behaviors, then the time to get help is now. Find out more by calling (720) 577-4422.