Why Group Therapy Is Beneficial for Individuals Struggling With Depression

A person who is struggling with depression might want to consider group therapy, which is recognized as having benefits for individuals affected by mild to moderate chronic depression. Participating in individual therapy at the same time allows the person to talk one-on-one with a licensed counselor about issues triggered by the group sessions. The combination can be especially effective at helping someone find their way out of this mental health condition and regain quality of life.

People suffering from this form of depression have a tendency to become isolated, avoiding social contacts with friends and family. Participating in the group therapy sessions gives them a chance to rebuild their social interaction in a non-threatening environment. Everyone in the group understands, to some extent, what the individual is going through. That can be a very different and reassuring setting compared with people who have never experienced depression and try to encourage the person to lighten up, look on the bright side or think positively. Those misguided attempts at help sometimes make the depressed person feel worse and want to avoid interaction.

The safe environment also allows each participant to learn to become more authentic in social interactions. An individual dealing with depression can say what he or she really feels and thinks. Those comments might be bewildering or even hurtful to others in emotionally close relationships with this person. Learning what has helped group participants move forward can be valuable, providing possible paths to renewed mental health. If a path is tried and it doesn’t work, there’s no need to feel like a failure. The group will support the member in a nonjudgmental fashion. Sometimes commiserating is all that’s warranted.

Practicing authenticity in the safe setting brings courage to start being more authentic in daily life. Whereas a person might previously have just put up with critical commentary from family members, now he or she can make an assertive statement that they must stop. This individual also learns to understand the feelings of others better and to realize that friends and relatives often just want to help, even if they don’t know how to go about it.