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Calm Therapy Office

Embrace Greater Healing with
Group Therapy in West Hollywood

There has never been a greater need for group therapy in Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

 

Many of us were already feeling overwhelmed before the pandemic started in 2019. Since then, the number of people reporting high levels of anxiety and depression has exploded.

 

There is some good news, though. More people have been willing to seek mental health treatment than ever before.

 

However, the mental healthcare system hasn't been able to keep up with the resulting spike in demand, according to a practitioner survey by the American Psychological Association. As a result, access to affordable mental health services has become nearly impossible.

 

You might protest, "But I have health insurance!"

 

Unfortunately, the problem is systemwide. Just ask anyone who has recently tried to find a therapist who is in-network, is taking new patients, and actually returns your calls.

 

Don't take my word for it. Check out the report “Inaccurate and inadequate: Health plans’ mental health provider network directories.”

 

So, now is the time when the benefits of grouptherapy can help most!

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Exactly What is Group Therapy?

Exactly What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a form of psychological treatment where the therapist meets jointly with a small group of people (usually about 6-8).

The main goal of group therapy is to use the supportive and dynamic atmosphere of a group to help the individual members find ways to improve their personal social functioning, so each can live a happier, more satisfying life.

 

In a typical “process” group – like the groups at Philip Lewis Therapy – group members tackle the most common source of emotional distress: a person’s inability to effectively establish and maintain meaningful, satisfying relationships.

 

They do this by engaging in purposeful group experiences with each other during groups. Members learn better ways to relate with other people, and they also can develop effective skills for coping with emotional problems and stressful situations in their own lives.

 

The experience can be transformative, whether the group therapy is held in person in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, or virtually (e.g., on Zoom).

 

Just about everyone has wished they could speak openly and honestly to someone else regarding how they feel, and receive equally honest feedback in return.

 

Today’s contentious society discourages such open communication. Even well-intentioned interactions are vulnerable to miscommunication that can rapidly lead to hurt feelings and ruptured relationships.

In a therapy group, though, engaging in honest interpersonal exploration with others is an essential part of the healing process.

 

In fact, you can learn easier ways to honestly share perceptions and feelings about yourself and other members as they come up. So, when familiar self-defeating patterns inevitably emerge in the group – or even in life – you’re prepared to meet them head on.

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Benefits of Group Therapy

It's not "magic," as some of my clients have called their group experiences. But, the powerful changes it often sparks in a client’s relationships can make group counseling seem magical.

Keep reading to learn some of the specific benefits of group therapy!

Benefits of Group Therapy.

Meaningful Support and Feedback

When you search for ‘group therapy near me,’ you're actually seeking a connection with people much like yourself.

 

Groups often develop a cohesiveness, where powerful feelings of support, trust, and belonging grow among the members.

 

This is a key benefit of group therapy. It encourages individuals to confront and modify destructive behavioral patterns that have been keeping them stuck, sometimes for years.

 

Additionally, people are generally more open to constructive feedback when it comes from others with whom they can relate. Advice based on lived experience carries more weight than the clinical opinions of a paid professional.

 

As the renowned founder of Yalom group therapy psychiatrist Irvin Yalom notes, "[Trusted group] members represent the real world and can be counted on for spontaneous and truthful reactions and feedback."

New Solutions For Challenges

A major benefit of group therapy in West Hollywood—or anywhere else—is the unique opportunity to learn better relational skills.

 

The similarities among members can provide a sense of community, while the diversity of experience can spark ideas for new ways of coping with challenges.

Greater Confidence and Self-Esteem

Engaging in group therapy in LA allows you to tap into the collective strength of shared progress.

 

Sometimes merely showing up each week helps people feel more comfortable in group situations outside of therapy.

 

Groups also serve as a safe ‘social laboratory’. You can take social risks, experiment with new ways of interacting, and practice effectively expressing emotions. This helps hone valuable social skills that you can more confidently apply in other areas of your life.

A Source of Hope

Another valuable benefit of group therapy is getting to see other people—often struggling with problems just like yours—as they dramatically improve their lives in group.

 

Witnessing such personal transformations enables you to envision that similar success is possible in your life too.

Find Your Blind Spots

Group therapy offers a crucial opportunity to deepen self-understanding.

 

With the guidance of an experienced therapist, the group can help you unravel the maladaptive mechanisms underlying self-defeating thoughts and emotions.

 

You can then identify, confront, and modify unconscious interpersonal patterns that no longer serve you.

You’re Not Alone (Universality)

At some point, everyone is confronted with sudden fear that they are the only person who is harboring some seemingly vile, dark secret.

 

Fortunately, hundreds of successful counseling groups in Los Angeles provide powerful evidence that no one alone in these common fears. Indeed, many other people—wonderful, talented, and strong—struggle just like each of us.

 

Through this peer validation, you begin to realize that your shortcomings are not unique, and you’re far more ‘normal’ than you may think.

You Get to Help Others (Altruism)

As Yalom notes, "There is something deeply rewarding in the act of giving."

 

By helping others resolve problems, you can feel a greater sense of purpose and self-esteem, and in time see your own problems as less intense.

Improved Clinical Evaluation

In individual treatment, the therapist knows only what the client reveals to them. Let's be honest, though, few of us can avoid smoothing rough edges when describing our shortcomings.

 

In contrast, a group therapist sees firsthand how you interact with multiple other people. This offers a more objective and accurate impression of your social functioning. For instance, imagine if you could click a special link to reveal the harsh reality behind the deceptively-perfect life so-called “influencers” post on Instagram.

Cost-Effective Mental Health Care

Studies show group counselling can be an effective standalone form of psychotherapy.

 

Many therapy groups are offered at a much lower per session fee than individual treatment. . . including groups at Philip Lewis Therapy!

Does Group Therapy Make You Live Longer?

I can't claim that, but consider the following:

Maintaining close social bonds and engaging in regular face-to-face interaction with other people are essential to personal well-being, at least according to psychologist Susan Pinker in her book "The Village Effect."

Likewise, in a 2017 TED Talk, Pinker points to studies by Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad which say exercise, diet, quitting smoking, etc. are not the primary predictors of longevity.

Instead, factors that most influence how long a person will live are aspects of social life, specifically "social integration" (how often you interact with the people you see each day), and "close relationships" (you ‘should’ have at least three).

Other Helpful Groups

There are other types of groups apart from the formal “process” therapy groups like those at Philip Lewis Therapy.

Other Helpful Groups.

Psychoeducational Groups

Psychoeducation groups are generally the most structured. They tend to follow a specific plan or curriculum. The therapist typically is more active and acts much  like an instructor.

 

“Psychoed” groups are often time-limited and relatively short-term. They may focus on specific skills, such mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills. Or they may focus on a specific need, such as treating substance use disorders, anxiety, or specific phobias.

Support Groups

In contrast, support groups are the least structured. They tend to help people cope with difficult life changes (e.g., death of a loved one), support individuals who have experienced sudden trauma (natural disaster), focus on a specific demographic (divorced fathers), or address a specific problem (12-Step groups for addiction).

 

The primary goal in support groups is to offer a space for members who are struggling in a similar way to exchange unconditional acceptance and comfort. Facilitators may be a mental health professional or a lay person who has experienced similar problems.

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Which is Best: Group Therapy or Individual Therapy?

The reality is, both individual and group therapy can be excellent treatments for mental and emotional problems.

 

Some people prefer individual therapy since they feel safer opening up to just one person. For others, individual therapy can be daunting. They feel pressure to “perform,” or awkward when the entire therapy session is focused on just them.

 

Paradoxically, a therapy group frequently puts people at ease. Members routinely become so engrossed in conversation with other each other that they forget the therapist is there at all. When people feel more at ease, they engage more freely with others.

 

Also contrary to common belief, group therapy can be incredibly effective as a stand-alone treatment, or as a supplement to individual therapy. It can be especially beneficial if you struggle with forming connections or expressing vulnerability in relationships.

For more information on this topic, take a look at “How Does Group Counseling Differ From Individual Counseling?"

Which is Best: Group Therapy or Individual Therapy?

How To Find a Therapy Group

Help is just a click away! I’m available to answer questions and help you explore what the wonderful world of group therapy can offer.  Click here to set up a free phone consultation.

 

If you’re the more adventurous type, below are a few places you can explore on your own:

  1. The American Group Psychotherapy Association makes it easy to find a certified group psychotherapist (CGP) near you. Click here to search the AGPA directory.
     

  2. To find group therapy in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or other parts of Los Angeles County, you can also contact the delightful folks at Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles (GPALA). Click here to peruse the GPALA directory of area groups.
     

  3. The Group List is described as "a concise list of over a thousand therapy groups in Los
    Angeles county," edited by James J. De Santis, Ph.D.

     

  4. If you are currently working with a mental health professional, be sure to ask them for any referrals or recommendations.
     

  5. There are also large, online directories where therapists pay to advertise their services, including the groups they offer (e.g., Psychology Today Support Groups).

How To Find a Therapy Group.

Ready to tap into the benefits of group therapy? I can help you explore how group therapy in Los Angeles or West Hollywood can benefit you.

Click here to claim your free consultation!

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