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Overview

Pharmacotherapy and individual psychotherapy are considered to go-to treatment options for anxiety disorders. Group therapy is another mode of treatment which is found to be as effective as them. There are certain advantages of engaging in group therapy that other treatment options don’t have, such as hearing others’ experiences and realizing that you are not alone in your suffering.

A typical group therapy session includes about 5-15 people with a similar issue such as anxiety. The group members usually meet every week and the session can last for 1-2 hours. The group can be for all types of anxiety disorders or just a specific type such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A trained therapist usually facilitates the group, hears out the experiences of each member, and teaches the members about certain coping strategies that they can use to manage their anxiety. The group setting also allows members to share what works for them and thus give suggestions to each other – which is another advantage of group therapy over other treatment modalities. The sessions are designed to enhance self-awareness of members and help them learn new ways to cope with their anxious feelings. In this way, they can experience improvement in their relationships, professional and academic life, feel more connected with others, and overall improve their quality of life.
EXPERT TALKS

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How effective is Group Therapy for Anxiety?

Group therapy is as effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders as pharmacotherapy and individual psychotherapy.

What are the benefits of Group Therapy for Anxiety?

The benefits of group therapy include – cost effectiveness (compared to individual psychotherapy), feeling connected with others, reduced sense of isolation, learning of new coping strategies to deal with anxiety, becoming more self-aware, improving social skills, and overall reduction in anxiety symptoms and enhancement in the quality of life.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

The number of sessions, in case of an ongoing group without predetermined number of sessions, depends on the individual’s severity of anxiety disorder and how long it takes for them to be able to reduce their symptoms of anxiety. Individual psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in case of severe anxiety –are always recommended in addition to group therapy.