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973741 tn?1342342773

Depression group therapy verses individual therapy

Wondering thoughts on group therapy for depression and learning new skills.  Does it trigger people to hear others talking about their situations?  Is it helpful since it is a group of people all dealing with their situations along with you? Is it good to do instead of individual therapy or in adjunct to therapy?  Curious about the ins and outs of it as to how helpful it is.
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I think different people will have different experiences so there's no generalization that can be made.  The truth about therapy is that it's really an art form, not science.  That means how you are affected by your therapist is more important than the form of therapy for most people.  You need buy-in for it to work.  But from my own experience, the two are really for different purposes, and group therapy isn't usually useful unless the group includes only people who have similar problems.  Therapists who run groups need people in them and too often put very dissimilar people together.  Individual therapy is just you and a trained psychologist, or perhaps a lesser trained certified therapist.  A group is led by a trained person but the therapy is mostly listening to people like you and isn't as directed as individual therapy to how you are thinking and living and techniques for you specifically to use to fix it.  The group can make you feel less isolated, and for some problems, such as drug abuse or PTSD can be a good adjunct and supportive but to me at least don't replace that one on one with someone with a lot of training.  I was in a group once for what was at the time a relatively minor depression and anxiety that I couldn't really define and nobody defined for me but I was put in a group with people who suffered from bipolar disorder or other really severe problems and I felt really stupid complaining about my then minor problems so I just stopped going.  That's why I say, if you have a phobia problem and can miraculously find a group where you live that is just made up of other phobia sufferers, it would probably be more useful.  Peace.
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And as for triggering, I think that's a big part of why group is thought to be useful.  They want you to be triggered so you have to face what you've been avoiding or suppressing.  Other members of the group will have the array of personalities we have in the rest of our lives, and they will challenge one another and the leader will try to keep that within the bounds of therapy but it is kind of the purpose.  The support part is there too, but it is therapy, and therapy is always eventually going to get to our triggers.  I didn't like it.  But lots of people do.
My experience with one group therapy at a partial program was rather dismal.   Their policy was one person could discuss her or his issues.  The other members could  listen and give feedback.   Plus it wasn't like eventually  it was your turn to be chosen.   It was same folks every single time , the same consumers for the group.    
Oh, that doesn't sound too helpful. My impression of this is that since it is a DBT group, specifically "radically open DBT" that it is action oriented. They will have things that they try each week, homework if you will.  And share.  DBT is less about talking it out and more about taking action.  Have you ever done ERP therapy?
The above comment was for artmesia.  I am afraid, paxiled, that getting to my son's triggers is important but he's very fragile.  A group setting isn't so hot for that.  This seems to be more along the lines of going over strategy, talking about what it would look like, sending them out to implement for a week, come back and talk about it.  Reinforce, etc.  New strategy, etc.  
That's why I mentioned it, Mom.  I just was sharing from my experience and from the whole purpose from meeting in a group, which twofold, one for support but mostly for an interchange between the members of the group and given what our personalities are like and that those with mental problems have these traits in an exaggerated fashion, I was just warning that the group members aren't necessarily going to be nice to one another all the time and will go after those triggers.  If you do find a group where this won't happen, that's a different thing, but I'm thinking your son might not be at a point where you want him being in a circle with a group of very troubled people right now.  Frankly, Mom, those of us with mental illness can have some really bad moments, and I'm just concerned your son doesn't need that at all at this particular time.  So do your homework about the group really closely.  You've had a hell of a year, Mom.  Peace.

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