Updated: Jan 2
It's no secret that mental health has been in a bad place for years now. Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are not only becoming increasingly common, but they're also on the rise.
However, there may be hope yet. There's a new treatment method out there — group therapy with a focus on mental health and music therapy groups for mental health. When done right, this type of mental health group therapy ideas and mental health group therapy activities can offer its participants a new outlook on life as well as skills to better cope with their difficulties and joys both now and in the future.
What Is Group Therapy in Mental Health?
Group therapy is a type of treatment that allows patients to meet with other individuals who are dealing with similar struggles. This is often done in a group setting, one where people are able to talk openly about their issues while also receiving feedback and support from others. This can help them better understand themselves and their problems, affording them more opportunities to express themselves as well as gain valuable insights they might not have attained otherwise.
While group therapy definitely has its merits, it's not the right fit for everyone. Those who feel uncomfortable talking about their issues in front of others or who feel more comfortable handling things on their own may not get much use out of it. Back in the day, group therapy for mental health patients was often used to treat serious conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder; today, however, the audience for this type of treatment has expanded to include anyone going through any sort of difficulty.
As such, it's important to understand what it is your getting yourself into when you attend a group therapy session. Because each individual who attends could experience a different benefit (or lack thereof), you should be prepared to discuss your problems in a way that doesn't necessarily put you on the spot but which still manages to provide you with a sense of freedom and security. The goal should be that when you leave this treatment session, you want to come back.
What to Expect From Group Therapy?
There are so many benefits to group therapy and group therapy games for mental health that it's critical to know what you're getting into — and what you're getting out of — before attending. Here are some helpful things you need to know:
1. You will find more people with similar thought and concerns.
There's a common misconception that mental illness is something only certain people "get," and that we're somehow fundamentally different from one another. This couldn't be further from the truth. Nearly everyone will go through difficult and confusing times in their lives, and it's normal for these experiences to leave scars — or even for them to result in a mental illness. It's okay to struggle, but what's not okay is for you to accept your struggles as permanent, or even unchangeable.
2. Your peers can relate, and they're rooting for you.
Basically, everyone in the group has struggled like you have and will understand you for who you are. This is awesome because it means that everybody in the group has experienced what it's like to be a human — and to battle our own human nature. More than that, though, your peers can offer invaluable advice and support when it comes to how your mental illness affects them. By talking with one another and understanding each other's experiences, everybody in the room can gain greater insight into how they are dealing with things — insight which will only help them improve as they move forward.
3. It's going to feel brand new.
Because your issues and troubles are probably very similar to those of others in the group, you're going to feel pretty comfortable by the time you leave. This is great because it means that you'll have a chance to learn from others and gain insights into how to deal with your issues on an optimal level. In turn, this can help you improve in many ways, including emotionally, behaviorally, and maybe even spiritually.
4. You will get out of it what you put into it.
Up to this point, group therapy sounds amazing — and it is! However, the above points are only true when you're serious about your treatment and the help you can receive. Therefore, here's a pro tip: if you want to get something out of group therapy (or any other type of mental health treatment), it's up to you to work for it. Now, this doesn't mean that things won't work out well for those who decide to sit back and relax; however, if you're hoping for a real sense of improvement or change in your life, then your best bet is going to be trying hard on both an emotional and intellectual level.
5. You can ask questions.
During group therapy, it's okay for you to interrupt or ask questions. This is because the goal of the session is not only to talk about your issues but also to learn and understand them. Therefore, no statement is really off-limits — in a sense, they're all fair game! However, this point comes with an important caveat: you should only ask questions if you're genuinely interested in receiving an answer. Remember that this group is here for YOU and that there are plenty of other opportunities down the line if you wish to learn more about various topics (or even specific individuals).
6. You'll meet new people.
Sometimes, we make assumptions about the types of individuals we'll meet by going to a particular type of treatment; however, this is rarely true. When going to a meeting like this, you may feel more comfortable with someone who is like you in some way (e.g., they go through the same troubles or mental issues as you), but in reality, most everyone ends up meeting at least one other individual who has similar concerns or difficulties — and perhaps even someone completely different from you! By experiencing exactly what it's like from somebody else's perspective, you can begin to gain improved insight into your struggles and what you're going through.
Also Read: Expressive Art Therapies in Mental Health
7. It'll calm your anxiety down
Group therapy works on many different levels, and one of the main ones is that it helps to relieve anxiety and help you relax. Much more than just a one-hour session with a therapist, this type of treatment can have a profoundly positive effect on your life — something that you're truly going to feel after viewing how this group can aid in your recovery. The best part is that it doesn't matter how anxious or paranoid you are beforehand: your nervousness is totally fine! This means that by the time the session ends, you'll feel much better about yourself and will be able to take on all the challenges and experiences in life head-on!
Despite the fact that you may be worried about attending a group therapy session in the first place, once you meet with the therapists and other individuals there, you'll quickly realize that these people are actually quite nice. In fact, this particular program has been proven to help many people learn to deal with their problems on an optimal level. With new insights into their own mental health, members can improve in many ways — which includes greater empathy and understanding for others. So if you're feeling doubtful about your ability to benefit from group therapy, consider this: if it helps other people the way it's helping you, then there's no reason why you shouldn't go!
Moreover, you can opt for any of the workshops we conduct at ManoShala to see if it works for you or not. We facilitate art therapy workshop, music therapy workshop, drama therapy workshop, movement therapy workshop and caretaker support group workshop every month.
Visit manoshala.com and book your seat today!
Written by Harshita Sevaldasani