According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31% of adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of anxiety disorder at one point or another in their lives. Nineteen percent of the population was affected by anxiety last year and women experienced it more than men. As anxiety continues to spread, with its ability to significantly affect our mental well-being, it is important to understand what this mental health disorder actually is.
What is Anxiety?
We all know the nervous feeling we get before an important business meeting, job interview or exam – we feel restless and uncomfortable, not knowing how it will go. This anxiety is normal and understandable.
However, when you start to feel anxious in an unnecessary, uncontrollable manner, in situations that should not bring out such emotions in you, that’s when anxiety becomes a problem and a potential mental health disorder. People with anxiety disorders feel anxious almost every day and find it difficult to relax. Many routine situations make them feel anxious. For example, people who suffer from social anxiety might be overly self-conscious in public – they tend to feel that everyone is watching them and may constantly be uncomfortable.
Benefits of Group Therapy for Anxiety
Group therapy is an excellent way for people suffering from anxiety to deal with this disorder. By being around those with a similar condition, people are able to get the support they need and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Together as a group, they are able to help each other out and find new ways to deal with their problems.
Here are 7 benefits of group therapy for those suffering from anxiety:
You are not Alone
People who suffer from anxiety often feel isolated. They observe others who can survive through situations every day without any mental or emotional discomfort and feel that they are the only ones struggling to go about their daily lives. They may question why everything is so difficult for them, which makes them feel depressed and lonely.
Working in a group with others who suffer from the same problem removes this feeling of isolation. You can share your problems with your support group, knowing they will understand and help you out.
Improves Social Skills
Communicating and being able to connect with people is often difficult when you have negative emotions building up inside of you. Many people with anxiety limit their interactions and experience sadness or frustration as a result.
Group therapy is an effective mental health treatment that encourages people to communicate with others and explore their emotions, instead of hiding them. This boosts their confidence and helps them cope in social situations better.
Opportunity to Learn About Yourself
Group therapy teaches you more about who you are as a person. Individuals are encouraged to talk about their condition, how different situations make them feel, and their biggest fears and challenges. Opening up about such matters is an incredibly powerful and liberating experience – it helps you to accept your condition and find the best ways to deal with it.
You also discover how others perceive you based on your actions and are likely to get a range of perspectives in a group setting. This can help you identify the causes of your anxiety, enabling you to find solutions.
Access to a Complete Support System
Group therapy isn’t about the therapist providing support to one member at a time while others observe. Instead, every member is encouraged to provide feedback and support to others, so everyone has a chance to connect with one another.
For example, if one member has trouble making friends, the group listens to that person share his or her troubles. The other members then share similar experiences of their own and describe how they have dealt with those issues. This kind of sharing is a source of hope, inspiration, and encouragement for all involved.
Practice for Stressful Real-Life Situations
Group therapy involves a lot of role play whereby members are given the opportunity to practice how they would respond to different scenarios, including those that are likely to be a cause of stress. When members are able to practice their skills in their support group and learn to cope with difficult situations effectively, their confidence in tackling real-life problems significantly improves.
Knowing that they have a support group to rely on also makes people stronger and braver. When people know they have friends who care about them and push them to excel, they do much better in life.
Opportunity to Help Others
In a group therapy session, people not only benefit from other members’ experiences and support, but are also able to be extend their support to others to help them cope with their anxiety. When it comes to anxiety, every individual is on a different journey and has his or her own obstacles and challenges to deal with. You are also likely to find people from different backgrounds and ages in a support group. Due to this, every individual can learn something from your experience.
Providing others with support and fostering friendships makes people feel good about themselves. Knowing that you are making a positive difference in someone else’s journey is an ultimate confidence-booster.
Group therapy tends to be less costly than one-on-one sessions with a therapist. That doesn’t mean it is any less effective in treating anxiety disorders. In fact, research shows that group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could be the most effective anxiety treatment for children and adolescents. This is because it results in greater social exposure and interaction with people dealing with similar problems. Group CBT with a qualified therapist and suitable group has proven to significantly improve a person’s mental well-being and quality of life.
To sum up, group therapy provides a comforting, safe environment for those battling anxiety to deal with their condition. If you suffer from anxiety yourself or have a dear friend or family member experiencing it, it is time you consider giving group therapy a try. It can change your life for the better.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Author Bio: Barbara Raynott is a copywriting professional who specializes in ghostblogging with a special focus on how to help the world deal with psychological health problems through effective mental health treatment.
Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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