There are various differences between individual and group therapy. Individual therapy occurs when one person attends therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. On the other hand, group therapy occurs when more than one person is treated together in a formal therapeutic environment. Within group therapy, any number of individuals can participate, provided that there are at least two participants. That being said, there differences in the way in which the two types of treatment operate. On the one hand, individual therapy provides an opportunity to form a stronger connection with the therapist, due to the individualized attention. On the other hand group therapy allows for a unique dynamic, where group members can strongly benefit from group cohesion and the support of the other group members.
When looking at the effectiveness of both treatments, it can be seen from the research that there are not significant differences in effectiveness between the two treatments. The research shows that despite individual therapy being more effective in the short term, in the long term there are no significant differences. Despite the fact that many individuals believe individual therapy to be more effective, due to the ability to build a stronger rapport with the clinician, there are many benefits that are unique to group therapy as well.
Below are some ways in which group therapy can be beneficial:
– Group therapy facilitates giving and receiving support
– Group therapy helps you find your voice
– Group therapy is more cost effective
– Group therapy promotes social skills
– Groups provide a sounding board
In engaging in group therapy, not only will individuals be able to receive treatment on a more timely basis, they will be provided with more cost effective treatment. Additionally, individuals will be provided a forum where they can learn the skills to address their symptoms, in an environment that fosters support and cohesion.
Author: Gabriella Podolski, M.A.
Cuijpers, P., Straten, A. V., & Warmerdam, L. (2008). Are Individual and Group Treatments Equally Effective in the Treatment of Depression in Adults? A Meta-Analysis. The European Journal of Psychiatry, 22(1). Doi: 10.4321/s0213-61632008000100005