Seeking professional mental help can be an incredible journey. It takes a significant amount of vulnerability to show your true self to a therapist, especially if you have never been to therapy before. The therapeutic experience is not only there to give you the safe space to be your true authentic self, but to give you the support and tools to process through and learn from daily stressors, trauma, addiction and more. When first seeking therapy, there are several types that you can participate in all with their own unique individual benefits: individual, family and group. Yet, which one would fit best for your needs?
Individual Therapy Individual therapy is the most common that you hear about whether it is from someone close to you in your life or watching it on an episode of the Sopranos. Individual therapy is what is in the name, one on one session with the professional therapist. It can encompass several different theories including, but not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused brief therapy and emotionally-focused therapy. Individual therapy is there to give you undivided support. The therapist works with you to help develop coping skills and increase your awareness of effectively working through challenges and gaining new skills. While attending individual therapy, you are given the personal space for you to focus on your own needs and recognize your own individual strengths.
Family Therapy Family or couples therapy is used to build upon and learn new skills from a mental health therapist to apply in your relationship. Family therapy can range from treating friendships to families. The client in family therapy is not an individual member, but it is the entire system. To work through the challenges and stressors, all members need to be partaking in for family therapy to be truly effective. The goal of going to family therapy is to foster a space that engages the system in open communication and support to all members. This can be achieved by the therapist encouraging the system to communicate with one another in place of talking to the therapist about others. By doing so, the members are better able to see the patterns within their relationship that may contribute to the challenges and stressors.
Group Therapy Group therapy is a modality of therapy that involves one or more therapists working with multiple clients at the same time. Group therapy gives you the opportunity to share and process similar experiences with other clients in the room. It is a place that can instill hope, solidarity and catharsis from being able to share your concerns with the support from other group members. Groups typically have a theme in order to be applied to a wide variety of needs (interpersonal, psychodynamic, support etc.). The benefit of group therapy is that it can help one feel that they are not alone in the world and develop communication skills for when there may be conflict with others.
Individual, family and group therapy can be used individually and in tandem. It is important to be able to receive individual support to see your own strengths and to also to be able to find solidarity within your community. To discover what modality of therapy works best for your needs, please consult with a professional mental health therapist to help you on your search.