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Explore the Benefits of Psychoeducational Group Therapy

written by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/10/2012

A student who suffers from a psychological issue such as anxiety or depression may benefit from psychoeducational group therapy. What is psychoeducational group therapy? Learn about this type of psychological intervention, what issues it can help with, and the layout of the group sessions.

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    What Is Psychoeducational Group Therapy?

    Sometimes, you may have a child in your classroom that is dealing with a psychological crisis. He or she may suffer from anxiety, depression or an eating disorder. Different types of therapy may help this child, and one type of intervention that can help is psychoeducational group therapy. What is psychoeducational group therapy? The purposes of psychoeducational group therapy include teaching the participants about their particular condition, such as depression, and reducing symptoms from occurring again. By being in a group setting, other patients who are going through the same difficulties can meet and discuss these issues.

    As the University of Southern Mississippi's Student Counseling Services points out, several misconceptions exist that may make patients hesitant about participating without knowing what is psychoeducational group therapy. For example, patients may think they will be forced into sharing their secrets. With psychoeducational group therapy and other types of group therapy, participants control what they share with other people. The group leader will also work to make the setting safe and comforting for the group.

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    Layout of Psychoeducational Group Therapy

    The setting for psychoeducational group therapy may vary, but generally, the group meets on a weekly basis. The University of Nevada, Reno's Counseling Services notes that these meetings last from 4 to 8 weeks, while the University of Southern Mississippi's Student Counseling Services notes that these meetings last from 2 to 8 weeks.

    Each psychoeducation group therapy meeting is facilitated by a group leader, such as a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Each session focuses on a certain topic. For example, if the psychoeducational group therapy's focus is on anxiety, then one session may be on ways that anxiety affects students in school. During these sessions, participants can have discussions or participate in role-playing activities.

    Like other types of group therapy, psychoeducational group therapy does have rules that participants should follow. For example, patients in the group should treat each other with respect. Anything that is talked about during a group session should not be discussed outside of the session, and patients in group should refrain from socializing with each other outside of the group, according to the University of Southern Mississippi's Student Counseling Services. By doing so, it keeps the group environment a safe one to open up about tough issues.

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    Benefits of Psychoeducational Group Therapy

    Besides learning more about their conditions, patients who participate in psychoeducational group therapy can also learn skills they can use to manage their condition. For example, if the issue is anxiety, patients may learn deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques they can use when they start to feel anxious, such as during a test.

    Psychoeducational group therapy also teaches patients that they are not alone: There are other people going through the same issues. Since these group meetings are keep confidential, patients have a safe space.

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    References

    UNC School of Medicine: Group Therapy

    http://www.psychiatry.unc.edu/oasis/about-oasis/Clinical%20Services/group-therapy

    University of Nevada, Reno Counseling Services: FAQs

    http://www.unr.edu/stsv/cs/faq/

    University of Oregon: Group Counseling

    http://counseling.uoregon.edu/dnn/Programs/GroupCounseling/tabid/116/Default.aspx#Psychoed

    The University of Southern Mississippi: Group Counseling

    http://www.usm.edu/counseling/services/group.html