The Power of Group Therapy

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By: Susan Clifton, MSW, LCSW

We are social beings. Sharing one’s story and connecting with others can be very healing. At Pasadena Villa Outpatient Center, we witness how group therapy can transform people in ways that are not possible in individual therapy. Group peers can serve as sounding boards and “hold up mirrors” providing feedback to each other. Group members realize they are not alone and the success of others fosters a sense of hope which is critical in recovery. Also, group therapy permits individuals to experiment with new skills in the safety of group sessions before trying new things in the real world.

Research examining why and how group therapy works highlights the connection of peer interactions to many therapeutic factors. Friedman’s 2013 study, Individual or Group Therapy? Indications for Optimal Therapy, concludes that group therapy and individual therapy are “complementary rather than alternative approaches” and that both may be needed for one to develop and recover. Learning skills and concepts is a large part of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) groups. Skills training learned within the shared activity of peers is not only more effective but is also more fun.

Although the clinical staff at Pasadena Villa are fans of group therapy, we understand many newcomer’s express anxiety about group participation. We address the root of the concerns by creating structured and emotionally safe groups where members share personal details at their comfort level. Also, the primary therapist collaborates with the individual each week to choose groups to address their needs and preferences. It is not long before members are relaxed, connected, and interacting freely with one another. Group cohesion is so strong and meaningful, that we hold a monthly alma mater group for continued peer support after individuals graduate the program.

If you or a loved one have questions regarding a mental illness, seek guidance from a mental health provider that is right for you. You do not have to face this challenge alone, Pasadena Villa Outpatient – Raleigh can help. Call us at 407-215-2519 or complete our contact form to help with the next steps of treatment. 


If you’re ready to start your recovery, we’re here to help.

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Our treatment centers accept private payment, out-of-network benefits, and in-network benefits.

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If you’re ready to take the next step in the recovery process for you or your loved one, the compassionate team at Pasadena Villa is here to help. Give us a call at 407.215.2519 or complete our contact form.

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