Comparing Individual Therapy and Group Therapy: What Is the Difference?

There are many different mental health approaches you can take when it comes to treating anxiety or depression. Individual therapy and group therapy are two popular options. Both offer different things, and some people benefit more from one setting than another.

Of course, the obvious difference between individual therapy and group therapy is that one involves you and a therapist, while the other is a more open setting with several people.

But aside from the numbers, what are the differences between these two options? Will comparing therapy methods help you to decide which is right for you?

Let’s take a look at what to expect from each type of therapy.

Getting the Attention You Need

Individual therapy tends to be more focused on your needs as an individual. Since it’s just you and a counselor or therapist, you can spend more time talking about what you’re dealing with. Your therapist can then help you to discover some of the underlying causes of your depression, anxiety, or other mental and emotional health struggles.

Group therapy, on the other hand, allows you to address issues both collectively as a group and individually within the group. Hearing from others who might be facing similar struggles can be beneficial to some people. Plus, it lets you know that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. That can be extremely important if you struggle with issues you might feel ashamed of or embarrassed about.

Finding Yourself in Therapy

Both individual therapy and group therapy can help you to develop a better understanding of yourself. Individual therapy does that by creating a more intimate relationship between you and the therapist, where you both share the common goal of getting to the bottom of your problems.

You don’t have to listen to the issues of others that may not be relevant to your own. You also can set up a schedule according to your personal needs, instead of having to wait for a group meeting. And the pace will move according to your progress, no one else’s.

Group therapy can help you to have a better understanding of yourself by listening to others. Yes, talking one-on-one with a therapist can really help you to open up. But, sometimes, listening can be just as effective. As other people in the group start to express their thoughts, struggles, and mental health issues, you might hear something that “clicks” and reminds you of your own problems. Self-discovery can be a big part of group therapy.

Understanding Your Privacy

It’s easy to want to steer yourself toward individual therapy because it’s more private. Some people don’t want others to know they’re in therapy. So, they try to be as discreet as possible.

First of all, remember that going to therapy is never something to be ashamed of. But if you do want a bit more privacy and you prefer quieter, more intimate settings, individual therapy may be the best for you.

Group therapy isn’t something that allows your problems to get fired off into the world. You could have a group of two people or ten people. What you have to say is supposed to stay in that room. So, it’s not as though there’s a lack of privacy. In fact, you can feel uplifted and hopeful by sharing your story and hearing others. You can celebrate their successes with them, and they can encourage and motivate you.

Not only are there some big differences between individual therapy and group therapy, but there are obvious advantages and disadvantages to each, too. If you want to learn more about group therapy or individual therapy, feel free to contact me for information. Finding the right therapy option for you can really help to start you on your journey to better mental health.

All images are used for illustrative purposes only. Any person shown is used as a model only.