How To Choose Between Group And Individual Therapy

Individual Therapy

Psychotherapy applies principles that formally assist an individual in need of thought process or behavior modification. In it, a patient and a licensed therapist enter an agreement to use a structured approach to treatment. Categorically speaking, it may take the form of group or individual therapy.

Both carry their own set of benefits and downsides and bring about a process of modification and restructuring happens as the patient learns to adapt to the changes resulting from a formal and honest relationship with a licensed therapist and/or group therapy members.

Let’s talk more about these two types of psychotherapy below.

  1. Group Therapy VS Individual Therapy
    1. What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a form of psychotherapy wherein a professional therapist and a patient work hand in hand to address the latter’s psychological concerns through one-on-one counseling. 

The former may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or family and marriage counselor.

Despite this being a partly personal setup, individual therapy involves a structural approach that may last 45-60 minutes each session. It may be a long-term or short-term agreement between the two parties and may take the form of one of the following types:

  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  1. What Are the Advantages of Individual Therapy?

People seeking professional help through individual therapy sessions may find that the approach:

  • Easily maintains their confidentiality as the agreement involves only two parties
  • Is comprehensive and individualized or personally tailored to their condition
  • Can adjust its pace based on his/her progress
  • Allows for the development of self-awareness through constant discussion of issues and provision of feedback
  • Has a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to scheduling sessions
  • Aids in developing his/her communication skills
  • Fosters a strong working relationship between their and the therapist, which in turn aids in the effectiveness of the individualized treatment
  1. What Are the Disadvantages of Individual Therapy?

The downsides of individual therapy are usually relative to the patient. They may include the following:

  • One may find that individual therapy costly compared with group therapy.
  • Individual therapy requires a commitment to treatment, and one who isn’t ready or willing to make personal efforts may struggle during sessions.
  1. Who Should Undergo Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy may suit the preference or lifestyle of:

  • People who need the convenience of scheduling
  • Patients who are not comfortable opening up to large groups
  • People who need specific treatment needs and unique problems that need comprehensive discussion and feedback
  1. What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is another form of psychotherapy that involves two or more participants (usually a maximum of 12) and one or two therapists. The success of the treatment relies on the efforts of all parties. Examples of group therapy are:

  • marital counseling
  • substance abuse counseling
  • psychodrama
  • encounter groups
  • interpersonal group therapy
  • self-help groups
  • medication groups
  1. What Are the Advantages of Group Therapy?

Group therapy provides the following benefits to participants:

  • A feeling of connection and belongingness as they get to know other people going through the same experiences
  • Reduced feeling of shame on their condition or problem
  • A collaborative and interpersonal treatment approach because all members of the group are encouraged to provide support and feedback to each other
  • Development of social skills
  • Lower cost of sessions versus individual therapy
  1. What Are the Disadvantages of Group Therapy?

While group therapy offers benefits to its participants, it also has some weak points:

  • Group therapy may discourage some participants from sharing their experiences or thoughts, making them passive during sessions.
  • Personalities may clash during group therapies. The participants may have a mixture of shy, strong-willed, impulsive, depressed, and manipulative characters.
  • Some participants may feel inferior to other members, e.g., A blue-collar worker may end up keeping to themselves in a group of professionals.
  • There is a possibility of subgroups forming within the group. While this helps form bonds and encourage social interactions, it may also impede the progress of less assertive members.
  • Finally, scheduling is rigid and usually fixed as there are many individuals to accommodate.
  1. Who Should Undergo Group Therapy?

Group therapy sessions may be recommended to individuals who:

  • Need to overcome a sense of loneliness
  • Are looking for support or advice from people with similar experiences in a structured treatment setting
  • Prefer having a ‘safe bubble’ as they learn to overcome social anxiety or trauma
  • Are looking for a variety of perspectives on his/her condition
  1. Which Type of Therapy Do You Choose?

The answer is relative. It’s based on which advantage or disadvantage matches a person’s needs. The benefits are relatively equivalent according to research, after all. 

The ideal scenario, however, is trying both individual and group therapies simultaneously. Unfortunately, mixed therapy sessions can be time-consuming and expensive for patients. Still, the success of treatment lies, not only on the efforts of the therapist but in the willingness of one to go through each session and embrace developments.

Teleconsult services are another choice for you if you’re not comfortable opening up in person, and they are the best option during this time of a pandemic.

If you’re in Redondo Beach and seeking clinical assistance on stress management, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, substance abuse, sleep conditions, relationship challenges, and other psychological concerns, you can book a session at South Bay LA Therapy via our Appointment Setting page

What are your thoughts on individual and group therapies? Let’s talk in the comments section below!