mental health

Is group therapy as good as individual therapy?

What types of therapy are best for different kinds of mental health, and what do the professionals say.
Charlotte Fountaine (she/her)
May 1, 2023
 I loved it and feel incredible! I didn’t realise how much tension I was holding on to and how badly it was affecting my life! Thank you”  

 - Kalda group therapy participant

Introspection - but with help!

Group therapy gives an opportunity to not only learn about ourselves, but learn from each other. With a trained professional present, you can get the benefit of a whole group’s lived experience. Having group therapy within a supportive group means that you can feel less alone in the feelings that you experience.

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is mental health support delivered to more than one person at once. It can be delivered in small intimate groups where people have the opportunity to talk about what they’re going through and listen to others. Group therapy can be delivered in large groups - even 100+, where the therapist talks through the exercises and the participants carry out activities and have opportunities to speak. Even the act of listening to others has proven health benefits. See

What is the science behind it?

 In patients with depression, group psychotherapy is effective for relieving symptoms.”  

 - Paula Truax, PhD

There have been many studies carried out to assess the effectiveness of group therapy. Academics from the University of York published a paper noting that group therapy was effective, and in some cases it was more effective than individual therapy. In a separate study Dr Paula Truax found that group therapy relieved the symptoms of depression.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Groups

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy which encourages people to think about how their thoughts affect their feelings and their behaviours. Mindfulness and meditation is about relaxing the mind to be fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Psychotherapy involves talking through thoughts and feelings with a therapist. All of these different types of therapy are proven to be effective in a group setting.

Is group therapy for me?

If you find yourself feeling worried or stressed, or having trouble sleeping, group therapy could help you. You may have tried other ways of dealing with how you’re feeling, and need something concrete which will help you in your daily life, at work or in relationships.

Lots of people report feeling initially nervous about entering group therapy, preferring to speak to a therapist one-one-one about their issues, which they feel are private to them. It’s common to find during group therapy that your problems are shared by others, and this creates a sense of belonging in the group, as you work through issues together.

When is group therapy not advised?

If you are in a mental health crisis or are suicidal, group therapy may not be the right treatment for you. You need to feel that you are able to function and participate in a group setting. Group therapy also may not be suitable for you if you have a phobia of speaking to a group of people.

However, if you are nervous about speaking publicly you may be able to attend a larger group where you listen rather than speak. You can speak to the therapist running the session before attending about what you feel comfortable sharing.

What are the benefits of group therapy?

Group therapy can instil hope, people in your group may be at different stages in their journey, and relating with and hearing their experiences can help you on your journey. It’s a chance to understand that what you’re going through is common, and you are not alone. The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviours, such as allowing yourself to express emotions you may usually mask.. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing you to share without a fear of judgement.. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a group is cathartic, providing you with the opportunity to be vulnerable and feel heard and understood.

Research from the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy shows that “collective identity has an impact on self-esteem.” so being group therapy with people you have things in common with also increases the positive effects.What do people say about Kalda group therapy?

 I really loved it and would be keen to attend more sessions like it! The therapist’s voice was so calming!”  

 - Kalda group therapy participant.

 I found it very moving, I feel as though I have been reflecting more all week and coming to new insights every day.”  

 - Kalda group therapy participant.

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