Group therapy is a form of experiential therapy and/or psychoanalytic therapy (depending on the therapist leading the group), but worthy of further explanation. In group therapy approximately 6-10 individuals ('members') meet face-to-face, along with a trained group therapist. During the group meeting time members decide what they want to talk about.
Members are encouraged to give feedback to others. Feedback includes expressing their own feelings about what someone says or does. Interaction between group members is highly encouraged, providing each person with an opportunity to try out new ways of behaving; it also provides members with an opportunity for learning more about the way they interact with others. It is a safe environment in which members work to establish a level of trust that allows them to talk personally and honestly. Group members make a commitment to the group and are instructed that the content of the group sessions are confidential. It is not appropriate for group members to disclose events of the group to an outside person.
When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members they usually recreate those difficulties that brought them to group therapy in the first place. Under the direction of the group therapist, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives and comfort members in such a way that these difficulties become resolved and alternative behaviours are learned. The group also allows a person to develop new ways of relating to people.
During group therapy members begin to see that they are not alone, and that there is hope and help. It is comforting to hear that other people have a similar difficulty, or have already worked through a problem that deeply disturbs another group member. Another reason for the success of group therapy is that people feel free to care about each other because of the climate of trust in a group.