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Techniques and Examples of Group Therapy

Katherine Williams, Stephanie Thomas
  • Author
    Katherine Williams

    Katherine Williams has an Mth in Theological Ethics and Philosophy from The University of Aberdeen and a BA in Theatre Arts from Oral Roberts University. Katherine has 10+ years of experience teaching literacy, essay composition, philosophy, and world languages. Katherine is also a TEFL-Certified ESL teacher. She has 3 years of experience teaching and developing curriculum for ESL students.

  • Instructor
    Stephanie Thomas
Understand what the definition of group therapy is. See examples of group therapy, discover group therapy techniques, and explore the major benefits of group therapy. Updated: 12/14/2021

Table of Contents


What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which people who have similar problems or share similar experiences meet together and work on those common issues.

Group therapy has been around for centuries, but it has found its way into contemporary society in the last 50 years. Group therapy works today much like from previous eras. The main purpose of group therapy is to provide support and resources to those who are struggling with personal issues and find it difficult to resolve on their own.

The general purpose of group therapy is to help people in need of a supportive environment where they can voice their thoughts and feelings without fear and judgment from others. It is designed to help people better understand themselves and their relationships with others. Group therapy is used to help people overcome obstacles, such as mental disorders, addiction, and grief.

Characteristics of group therapy:

  • Group therapy can be between families, couples, or a group of strangers with a common goal/need.
  • Group sessions are held in a safe, comfortable space where clients feel free to share their thoughts and feelings.
  • Group therapists may not have been trained in the same field as individuals seeking help, but they represent the skill set that group members need.
  • Group therapists encourage self-care through activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise, or mindfulness.
  • Group discussions help people to share their personal experiences in a supportive environment.
  • Group therapy sessions give people the opportunity to talk about their feelings without the fear of being judged or shamed by others.
  • Groups are not necessarily limited to adults; they can also include adolescents or children.

A group therapy session begins with an intake session where the therapist asks participants about their life history and mental health condition. The leader also discusses whether they prefer to do their work in small groups or one-on-one sessions. In group therapy, members are encouraged to share their experiences and problems. The sessions can be helpful in eliminating the barriers that exist between people, promoting trust and understanding, and providing a sense of belonging and identity.

Group Therapy Techniques

To have a successful group therapy session, all members should have a common goal or purpose. For example, they might work on becoming better friends with each other or work on resolving an issue that has troubled them. The leader will help them set up individual goals and ensure that everyone is comfortable. A group leader will play a significant role in the success of the group therapy sessions. They should be patient, understanding, and work to establish trust among the group's members.

Group leaders and therapists use different techniques when conducting a group therapy session. The most common technique is verbal communication, which is done through either spoken word or writing. This is often called "sharing." Group members share their thoughts on what they are going through or what has happened that brought them there. This allows other members to see that they are not alone in their experiences and to empathize with one another. Another technique is called "active listening." This involves listening attentively without trying to understand everything being discussed.

Not everyone will find the same technique to be effective for them during a group therapy session. That's why it's important for those involved to remain open-minded about what works best for each individual in order to achieve the desired results.

Group Therapy Examples

In a group therapy session, the therapist may ask questions to help people discuss their experiences and learn about what they have in common with others. The participants may also share personal stories or talk about their feelings while they listen to others' experiences.

A therapist will use different methods to help the participants come together as a group while addressing any issues that arise. These methods include:

1) Asking questions - "Who are you? What do you like doing?" The therapist might ask these questions as part of the ice-breaking process or a group introduction.

2) Agreeing on ground rules - It is important for groups, strangers, friends, and families to agree on ground rules and safety precautions for their group therapy sessions to foster an environment of empathy and understanding.

3) Choosing a topic to discuss at length such as steps to overcoming addiction.

Group therapy has recently been applied to workplaces. It provides the opportunity for employees to discuss their feelings and concerns in an open and safe environment.

group therapy examples, group therapy techniques, group therapy definition, what is a major benefit of group therapy

Some topics the group therapist could lead the group to discuss include:

  • Personal successes
  • Personal struggles
  • Appropriate ways to support each other in the workplace
  • Cross-department interactions
  • Team strategies to create a better working environment or to increase productivity

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Types of Group Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral group therapy helps people to identify and change patterns of negative thoughts and behaviors.

Interpersonal group therapy helps people with several different mental health problems by addressing their personal relationships, including family, friends, and colleagues. These group therapy sessions can often be broken into small groups to work on peer-to-peer relationships.

Psychoeducational group therapy involves a group of people who are working on common problems. It's typically used when someone has experienced a significant life event and needs to process what happened.

Skill development group therapy is designed to help people improve their skills in different fields. This kind of therapy uses the idea of learning through doing and teaching by example to achieve this goal.

Support group therapy is an approach for treating groups of individuals with a diagnosis of a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and more. This kind of therapy includes peer-support groups to deal with the symptoms of the disorder and provides a sense of belonging.


Cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT) tries to help people through the use of behavioral techniques. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the way thoughts, emotions, and behaviors interact over time to influence behavior.

An example of this is when an individual feels hopeless, and they begin to think that life is not worth living because they are constantly overwhelmed with tasks. The therapist can help the individual become hyper-aware of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors so the person can make changes in the way they interact with others. An example of this kind of therapy would be when people have a problem with anxiety, such as agoraphobia. CBGT helps them by teaching them how to manage their anxiety and what avoidance means for them mentally and physically.


An example of this interpersonal therapy is the role play technique which is typically used in schools.

Peer-to-peer therapy is very popular for helping like-minded people overcome traumas and fears.

group therapy examples, group therapy techniques, group therapy definition, what is a major benefit of group therapy

For example, if a student has difficulty with schoolwork, they can be paired with a partner from the group to go through different scenarios the student may face. They can also work together to brainstorm strategies to handle possible situations which may arise in real-life conversation.


Psychoeducational group therapy is a type of group therapy that seeks to address the mental and emotional needs of children, adolescents, and families to process traumatic events.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is group therapy used for?

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is typically conducted with a group of people. Group therapy can be used as an efficient way to address issues, overcome challenges, and achieve personal growth.

What is group therapy and how does it work?

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that typically involves a small group of people to help them cope with their problems and reach goals. Group therapy is often used in hospitals and mental health settings to provide support for those who are recovering from an illness or experiencing hardships.

What are the types of group therapy?

The main kinds of group therapy include:

Cognitive behavior therapy

Interpersonal therapy

Psychoeducational therapy

Skill development therapy

Support group therapy

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