The Benefits of Group Therapy for PTSD

Can Anxiety Work In Our Favor?

‘Group-based trauma treatments are regularly offered to clients in need of trauma-specific treatment. Expert clinical opinion supports this practice, emphasizing the importance of meeting other trauma survivors and the potential such encounters in a therapy setting bear for corrective emotional experiences. (Boon, Steele, & van der Hart, 2011; Ford et al., 2009; Yalom & Leszcz, 2005).1)Stige, Signe Hjelen et al. “A meaningful struggle: trauma clients’ experiences with an inclusive stabilization group approach.” Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research vol. 23,4 (2013): 419-29. doi:10.1080/10503307.2013.778437’ 

So what exactly are the benefits of attending group therapy if you are suffering from PTSD? 

Meeting and Learning from other Trauma Survivors:

Meeting other trauma survivors can be enormously beneficial to those who have been through traumatic events. You can learn so much from other people that have had to deal with difficult emotions, flashbacks and triggers. It doesn’t matter if the trauma has no relation to what you may have gone through, many of the emotions experienced will be relatable. You will be able to hear which coping strategies have worked for some people, and which didn’t.

You may discuss current issues that people are facing in their day to day lives – such as how to cope with problems in relationships, both in work and at home. Group sessions can also provide valuable new insights into your own problems, as there will be many different people with varied perspectives. Some of which you may never have considered before. 

Group therapy can also help those of us who struggle to be in social situations or around a number of people. This can often be a challenge for sufferers of PTSD. However, knowing that you are in a safe environment, surrounded by people who understand your struggles, as well as professionals whose job is to keep you safe, can really help us learn ways of coping in a social setting. 

Feeling Like you are not Alone:

When in a group of people who are all struggling, it can often really offer us a sense of validation, connection and belonging. Feeling like we aren’t alone can be an enormous relief for someone who has been isolated due to their trauma. Seeing how other people are also finding normal activities like sleeping, eating and interacting with family members or loved ones, difficult can also be a comfort. 

Often among people who haven’t been traumatised, we can very often feel misunderstood. Obviously it’s hard for those who haven’t experienced PTSD to understand what we are going through. That’s why it’s nice to be validated in our thoughts and feelings by others that have been through similar experiences. 

Giving Back: 

As well as learning from others, you can also help people in the group by sharing your experiences. Giving back to others and seeing that your own experiences can benefit another’s recovery can be a real self esteem boost. It can also show you that, actually – you are able to cope better than you thought you were. 

Building Relationships

Working with others in a group setting can be extremely intense, but it can also be exceptionally rewarding. You may form bonds and build friendships and relationships in a way you never thought you’d be able to do. You will learn what a healthy, supportive and trusting relationship is like, and what it takes to develop one, all the time being in a safe and supportive environment. This means when you are ready to attempt building relationships outside the group setting, you will be better prepared. 

Why Choose Group Therapy over Individual Therapy?

At Khiron Clinics, it isn’t about choosing one over the other. We appreciate that both types of therapy can often be necessary for survivors of trauma. We understand that as beneficial as group therapy can be, there will also be moments when you may need more time spent examining a specific issue.

The one thing you can be assured of at Khiron is that group therapy is always a safe space for you to come and share, learn and heal. Certain topics won’t be discussed in groups, if they could be triggering to others. Group therapy also isn’t the place to go into extensive detail about your trauma, that’s also what your one to one therapy can be used for. By ensuring that our groups adhere to specific rules, we know that we can foster safety and bring about self understanding whist also helping reduce shame, isolation and other misconceptions we may have had before starting group therapy. 

If you have a client, or know of someone who is struggling to find the right help for them. Reach out to Khiron. We believe that we can stop the revolving door of treatment and misdiagnosis by providing effective residential and out-patient therapies for underlying psychological trauma. Allow us to help you find the path to effective, long lasting recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).

References   [ + ]

1. Stige, Signe Hjelen et al. “A meaningful struggle: trauma clients’ experiences with an inclusive stabilization group approach.” Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research vol. 23,4 (2013): 419-29. doi:10.1080/10503307.2013.778437

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