Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy — What’s the Difference?
We get it, therapy isn’t always an easy decision. It takes a conscious effort and lots of insight to reach out for support, particularly when we’re already going through a challenging time. But outweighing this initial uncomfortable feeling is the huge benefit that comes with therapy, particularly if we’ve never sought help from a psychologist before.
When we finally decide to seek help, we may face a bunch of internal questions that we hadn’t thought about before, like:
- “How do I know who is the right psychologist for me?”
- “How does therapy actually work?”
- “Is this normal worry or should I get help?”
Now that we’ve gotten those questions out of the way, let’s dive into finding the right therapy.
What are the differences between group and individual therapy?
Group therapy can be extremely helpful for those of us who aren’t quite sure what our unique concern is. If we’re not facing an individual crisis and looking for ways to inspire change in our lives, a group workshop with a psychologist might be the perfect fit.
Because no two people’s mental health needs are precisely the same, there’s no “best” form of treatment for everyone. It truly depends on the person and their circumstance.
In short, both forms of therapy are effective for most people, with each offering a range of advantages and disadvantages.
Comparing group therapy with individual therapy
Even though we can often get 10 rebatable sessions of individual therapy (under Medicare), the out-of-pocket cost can still be a little out of budget for some. Sometimes group workshops—which focus on specific skills and tools over a shorter period of time—can be a cheaper alternative that also meets our needs. The cheaper price point is largely because you’re sharing the experience with other like-minded individuals rather than dedicated one-on-one time.
Group workshops and therapy can offer a welcoming and safe space for us to connect with like-minded people experiencing the same concerns as us. It helps to remove any stigma or loneliness we may feel for longer when facing our concerns on our own. Additionally, for those of us who struggle with opening up or being the centre of attention, sometimes a group setting can be exactly what we need to ease into the experience of therapy.
Like individual therapy, when commiting to a group program or workshop, we’ll need to complete homework and continue the work outside of the face-to-face sessions. A group dynamic can often provide us with the accountability we may struggle to keep up with during individual therapy.
Group workshops typically focus on a particular area of concern or skill, such as building mindfulness for those with anxiety or low mood. This means that often the workshop will take place over a set number of sessions that are already planned out before they begin. Individual therapy tends to be stretched out for a longer period of time and with no set number of sessions, as there is usually a lot to unpack before true change can take place.
Ultimately, the best form of therapy depends on our individual needs, preferences, budget and lifestyle. It’s common and very normal to try both forms of therapy before choosing the one that we think is most suited to us and is most likely to help us achieve our mental health goals.
Have questions about which therapy is right for you?
Book a call with our intake team to discuss what might be better suited to you.