This is a special form of psychotherapy in which a small number of unrelated individuals meet together under the guidance of Dr. Salerno to help themselves and one another. Group psychotherapy has a long and proven record as a highly effective and useful form of psychotherapy. It is as helpful as, and in some cases more helpful than, individual psychotherapy, particularly when social support and learning about interpersonal relations are important objectives of treatment.
If you stop and think about it, each of us has been raised in group environments, either through our families, schools, organized activities, or work. These are the environments in which we grow and develop as human beings. Group psychotherapy is no different. It provides a place where you can come together with others to share problems or concerns, to better understand your own situation, and to learn from and with each other.
How is group psychotherapy different from support groups or self-help groups?
Group psychotherapy focuses on interpersonal relations and helps individuals learn how to get along better with other people under the guidance of a professional. The psychotherapy group is different from support and self-help groups in that it not only helps people cope with their problems, but also provides for change and growth. Support groups, which are generally led by professionals, help people cope with difficult situations at various times but are usually geared toward alleviating specific symptoms or dealing with specific situations. Self-help groups usually focus on a particular shared symptom or situation and are not usually led by a trained therapist.
What if I'm uncomfortable about discussing my problems in front of others?
It's not unusual to feel uneasy or embarrassed when first joining a group, but soon you begin to develop feelings of interest and trust. Most clients find that group psychotherapy provides a great deal of relief because it allows them a chance to talk with others who are experiencing similar problems--in a private, confidential setting. Many people who have experienced group psychotherapy believe that working together with others is helpful and they feel better by participating in this form of psychotherapy.
What kind of commitment do I need to make?
Group psychotherapy does not generally show immediate positive benefit to its participants. Because of this face, participants sometimes find themselves wanting to leave group psychotherapy early on if it becomes stressful for them. We ask that you suspend your early judgment of the group's possible benefits and continue to attend and to talk about the stresses involved and your doubts about group psychotherapy. Before you begin, Dr. Salerno will discuss an initial commitment time. After that time, you will have a clearer sense of the potential helpfulness of the group.