Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy: Which Should You Choose?

Deciding it’s time to receive professional help to face a difficult situation can be a big step toward healing and self-growth. Seeking guidance from a licensed counselor equips you to address damaged relationships, cope with anxieties, navigate career moves, and much more.

Because everyone enters therapy for their own reasons and maintains individual treatment goals, the “best” type of therapy will vary from person to person. This post examines both group therapy and individual therapy and discusses when one counseling option may be more beneficial than the other.

Group Therapy is a type of mental health counseling that takes place among a small group of individuals (usually 3-12 members) led by a trained counselor. Members are encouraged to share their experiences with each other to facilitate discussion and generate support among the group. These discussions are also guided by the group’s counselor.

Individual Therapy helps individuals share their experiences and focus on personal development in a one-on-one setting with their counselor.

When is Group Therapy the Right Choice?

Receiving professional help in a group setting may be the best option for you if you’re feeling isolated and alone in your struggle with addiction, depression, anxiety, or other difficult circumstance. It can be comforting to know you are not the only person facing these types of challenges. When you participate in group therapy, you have a safe, non-judgmental support system that can help you learn and grow.

Group therapy can be especially beneficial for problems involving interpersonal communication and social anxiety because of the open discussion and engagement this comfortable setting encourages. As an active participant, you learn how to express your issues and accept both criticism and support from others, developing your communication skills and your ability to socialize.

You may also consider group therapy instead of individual therapy if you learn successful behaviors best by observing others modeling those behaviors.

When is Individual Therapy the Right Choice?

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of choosing individual counseling over group therapy is that you receive the counselors full and undivided attention in every session. If you feel your circumstance requires one-on-one focus, or if confidentiality is your utmost concern, individual therapy may be your best option, as a disadvantage of group therapy is the chance for a breach of confidentiality.

Additionally, individual therapy allows for more flexible scheduling than group sessions. Groups generally meet at the same time(s) every week, so if you were to encounter an unexpected conflict, you might miss your session. On the other hand, individual sessions can typically be rearranged to fit around your personal schedule.

As mentioned earlier, individuals seeking help with social anxieties will likely experience the greatest benefit from group therapy. However, if you’re struggling with a severe case of social phobia, in which the group environment would hinder your ability to share your experiences and play an active role in your own treatment, it may be more effective for you to consider individual therapy as a stepping stone to group therapy.

If you are ready to seek counseling in a group setting or on an individual basis, we are here to help. Please contact Mazzitti & Sullivan today. One of our caring intake specialists will be happy to assist you.