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Group therapy vs. individual therapy, learn what’s best for you.

Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy: What’s Right for You

Counselling, or therapy, is an essential part of your journey towards clarity and sobriety. Its main forms, individual therapy and group therapy, are administered in conjunction with other elements of your treatment. The majority of research related to these methods suggests that both types are effective for dealing with any type of problem, and learning the difference between group therapy vs. individual therapy should make you feel more at ease when dealing with your experiences in the past.

To help you understand the difference, let’s go into the basics. 

What is Group Therapy?

As the name suggests, group therapy is a type of counselling that involves two or more patients being treated in the same session. The number of therapists leading the session and the size of the group depends on several factors, including the type of therapy being delivered. 

History of Group Therapy

The origins of group therapy go back to 1906, when physician Dr. J.H. Pratt attempted to advise groups of individuals about tuberculosis treatments. Pratt noticed that these people started to show care and support to one another. It wasn’t long until he coined his educational sessions as “group psychotherapy.” The practice became popular after World War II, when veterans were treated together. Its benefits, which are still evident up to this day, were being observed and recorded.  

Benefits of Group Therapy 

Just like what happened to the war veterans, group therapy promotes relatability within a group of people who have gone through similar experiences. For some people, a supportive group becomes a powerful tool in creating positive outcomes. 

That’s what Dr. Irvin D. Yalom proved in his book, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Dr. Yalom is considered to be one of the most notable researchers about group counselling, and has published an extensive amount of his findings identifying the advantages of group processes and working in groups.

He adds that because of group therapy, individuals start to realize that they are not alone in their struggles. They begin to see that some people share similar experiences.

Below are more benefits of group therapy in Toronto:

  • Giving and receiving support creates broader therapeutic alliances within the members of the group. 
  • Development of communication skills and social skills.
  • Being able to accept criticism from other people and see it as room to grow.
  • Fosters life-long connections between the individual participating in the group.
  • By listening and opening up to others, individuals develop a wider sense of self-awareness.
  • The sense of support aids in relapse prevention.
  • Generally more affordable than individual sessions.

An individual counselling session

What is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a one-on-one counselling session with a trained therapist, and is considered a more personal approach. The counsellor can be anyone who has a professional background and formal training to deliver therapy, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. Individual therapy is a popular form of counselling, and usually encompasses practices such as cognitive behavioural therapy, solution-focused therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and narrative therapy. 

History of Individual Therapy 

While Dr. Sigmund Freud is credited to the birth of “talking cures,” it was Viennese psychiatrist, Alfred Adler, who founded individual psychology as a science and method. Adler’s Individual Psychology studies and applications led him to investigate the onset and causes of substance abuse. His methods involve a holistic approach in studying individuals, which became influential in counselling and psychiatric strategies in modern psychiatry.

The holistic approach is very present in Freedom From Addiction’s list of individual therapy programs in Toronto.

Benefits of Individual Therapy

The goal of individual psychology is to make people aware of the faults in their logic and work towards positive and rewarding goals. The therapeutic alliance, which is the term coined for the client-therapist relationship, is stronger in individual counselling sessions. 

It is obvious that trust is an important foundation when it comes to counselling. In individual therapy, the pace is also adjusted based on the convenience of the client. This is a strong benefit that stands out when thinking of individual therapy vs. group therapy.

Below are more of the benefits of individual therapy in Toronto:

  • The full attention of the counsellor with a one-on-one bases
  • Direct feedback from the therapist regarding progress
  • Individual sessions foster more intense and comprehensive communication
  • Issues are addressed and discussed on a more personal level

A group counselling session

Choosing Between Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy

Your choice of participating in either a group or individual therapy session will depend on several factors:

  • Your comfort level when discussing experiences and problems in front of other individuals
  • The type of intervention being delivered for you
  • Your level of affordability

Once specifications for these factors have been determined, it should be apparent what kind of counselling is right for you, whether you’re doing it as part of your 12-step program, or as continuing care

When learning the difference between group therapy vs. individual therapy, understand that neither form is better than the other. Both use different approaches to reaching a similar goal. Research finds that individual therapy and group therapy are both effective in addressing a wide range of mental health concerns. 

The decision to choose between group therapy vs. individual therapy lies in your personal set of goals and the issues you are dealing with. After trying out a few sessions of both, you can decide which one brings more comfort.

Individual and Group Therapy for Recovery in Toronto

Are you looking to join individual or group counselling in Toronto and the GTA? At Freedom From Addiction, we offer a personalized approach to all kinds of treatments. Whether you’re thinking of entering a detox program or looking into continuous recovery programs, our doors are open and we are always here to listen.

Our team of highly trained professionals will guide you every step of the way, from the initial stages of choosing group therapy vs. individual therapy, up to the stage where you are able to reach your goals. 

For more information about our drug addiction treatments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today!


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