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What to Expect in Group Therapy


Group therapy typically involves one or two clinicians with a small group of clients ranging anywhere from five to ten participants. Most groups meet once or twice a week for one to two hours each session. The therapeutic goals for groups can vary greatly from improving social skills to processing grief and loss. Each clinician leading a group should screen the clients through an individual intake process to ensure that the group is a good therapeutic fit for the client’s needs.


Group structure and format can vary greatly depending upon the goal of the group. Psychoeducation groups are generally focused on understanding a specific topic such as adolescent depression or parenting skills. Process groups provide space for clients with similar goals to receive support, encouragement, and feedback from various perspectives in a safe environment.


Regardless of the structure and format, a client joining a group can expect to find a sense of universality and normalization. In a group setting, clients are able to see that they are not alone in their process. Clients are then able to support each other as they are at various points on their therapeutic journey providing opportunity for leadership, increased motivation, and increased hope.


Clients choosing to engage in group therapy can expect to feel some anxiety about starting the process. It is completely normal and expected to feel increased anxiety in a vulnerable setting. The clinician leading the group will work to decrease anxiety by helping all group members understand the setting, the goals, and the group process.


If you are interested in group therapy but feel anxious about the process, feel free to reach out to the clinician leading the group and ask specific questions about format and expectations. Clinicians are more than happy to help you feel prepared and comfortable going into your first group session.


If you are interested in joining a group, please check out the KS Services website for upcoming group opportunities such as Project Connect, a teen girl therapy group focused on self-compassion and connection through the use of movement, art, and narrative work.


Laura Waller, MS, NCC

Licensed Resident in Counseling


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