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Is Group Therapy Right for Your Practice?

Offering group therapy is a great way to expand your practice. It can be beneficial to many clients. It can also be an additional service that pairs well with individual therapy. If you have been on the fence about offering group therapy, this blog post will give you the confidence you need to decide.

Why Do Most Practices Offer Group Therapy?

This answer will vary for many practices. However, the most common response is that their caseload is full, and they still want to help as many people as possible.

Creating a group therapy option offers more people the opportunity to get their needed help. The need for therapy is rising, so many practices are fully booked.

Offering group therapy may be an excellent addition to your practice for this reason.

Group therapy is a great way to bring people together struggling with similar circumstances. It can validate their feelings and make them feel like they are indeed not alone. Being the person who sees this effect within group therapy can be empowering, fulfill your passion for helping others, and allow you to grow your practice.

Group Therapy Responsibility: When you take on one client at a time, you know that you are responsible for the outcome of each session and the progress. When you have a group setting, it may be more responsibility. Not only are you still responsible for the result of each session and the progress. You are also responsible for how the group session goes and how all of the group members act. This is why forms and rules are essential. Be transparent with how each session will go so that everyone understands. Also, be clear about what the appropriate session behavior will be. Express your group therapy expectations so that everyone is on the same page. Doing this can avoid issues with group therapy in the future.

Group Therapy Settings: Keep in mind the setting for group therapy. Will these group therapy sessions be virtual? Or will it be in person? If in-person, will you have a large enough space to accommodate the number of people attending? If virtual, you will need to have rules put in place to protect everyone attending the session.

Online Setting: If you consider offering group therapy online, you should consider a few things.

  1. Client setting- You will want to ensure that the client's virtual environment is acceptable. I suggest having a checklist for them to follow. Make sure that the background is free of noise. They are alone; they are using headphones so that everyone feels safe to say what they need to.

  2. Platform to host the group therapy session- Making sure that you have a reliable platform to host the group therapy sessions is critical. You want to choose a HIPAA-compliant and safe platform for everyone.

In-Person Setting: If you are looking to host group therapy in person, here are some things to consider.

  1. Location- Where will the group therapy take place? If it is in your office, make sure you have plenty of space to accommodate everyone that will be attending. If it is a place that you are renting make sure they understand the sensitivity of what you will be doing and that no one will interrupt the session.

  2. Location setting- Be sure that the environment is calm and welcoming. It is an excellent idea to provide refreshments so that people can feel more comfortable and have a space to snack and get to know each other.

  3. Offer resources- If you feel it is necessary to have a handout and worksheets, ensure that they are printed and handed out to everyone. Make sure you calculate this cost into the cost of the group therapy sessions.

Closed or Open Group Therapy: What is the difference between a closed and open group? What are the setbacks and what are the perks? These questions come up a lot in the planning stage. Let me explain the differences a little further.

Closed Group: In a closed group setting, there is a start date and an end date. It is typically, at most, 12 weeks long. There is also a curriculum that is followed, allowing members of the group to dive deep into a specific subject each week. With a closed group, there are always the same people for the sessions. Being in a closed group establishes more of an understanding of what is being taught and makes for an intimate learning environment. I am a big fan of a closed group myself.

Open Group: An open group is typically a group with a start and end date; anyone can join the conversation when they would like. This can cause the group to go over the same topics constantly. Therefore, making it harder for people to absorb what they need. It can also create a culture within the group that may only be comfortable for some. A group format is meant to develop and establish relationships with others who have gone through the same situation. So an open group can lead to an inconsistent group structure. I have seen many open groups be successful. However, it just isn't my cup of tea.

Additional Benefits from Offering Group Therapy: Depending on how many people you think are suitable for each group therapy session will determine the income that can be sourced from these groups. For example, some people will have ten clients per group and charge $50 for each person per group session. Remember that most group therapy sessions are about an hour and a half. For that group session, you will bring in $500. If your session is, let's say, $150, then you are bringing in $350 more than the typical session. Now to plan and market, you will spend some additional money upfront. However, that cost will expand to the up-and-coming group therapy sessions. Group therapy sessions can be a great way to offer additional support and create another source of income.

Whatever type of group you choose, ensure it is a style that yields success. Make changes to create the best structure and always keep the client's concerns first in this process.

If you want to learn more about creating groups for your practice, feel free to schedule a free 15-minute call.

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