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Psychoeducational Groups

Group therapy has different effects for every patient and every condition. As such, there are many types of group therapy a person can choose from depending on his condition and preferences. Psychoeducational group therapy is amongst the most common forms of group therapy. Psychoeducational group therapy is often offered to individuals and their support systems in order to help them cope and understand the disease they are up against.

What is Psychoeducational Group Therapy?

Psychoeducational Group Therapy is a type of group therapy that aims to educate the afflicted patient about the condition that he is suffering from. This type of therapy provides individuals necessary information that could help them identify roadblocks and cope with their disease. Psychoeducational group therapy instills self-awareness in patients. It encourages them to seek growth by providing suggestions and resources that can help them in their recovery.

Psychoeducational group therapy sessions are considered necessary in order to treat a few psychological conditions. However, this type of therapy is generally not sufficient on its own, and is often integrated with a more complex treatment program.

“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” – Hecato

What is the Origin of Psychoeducational Group Therapy?

The first mention of psychoeducational treatment dates back to the early 20th century. However, it was not until the 1940s, when the term “psychoeducation” was coined.

Psychoeducational group therapy as treatment gained popularity following C. M. Anderson’s efforts in using this type of therapy in treating schizophrenia. Anderson focused on educating relatives of people suffering from schizophrenia about the signs and symptoms of the disease. Since Anderson’s research, psychoeducational group therapy has been integrated into modern psychological treatment programs.

What conditions does Psychoeducational Group Therapy treat?

Aside from schizophrenia, psychoeducational group therapy is used to treat a number of other psychological conditions including:

What can be expected from a Psychoeducational Group Therapy session?

Patients are often apprehensive about joining any kind of group therapy. Many do not wish to divulge personal information to a group of strangers. It is important to note that, especially with Psychoeducational Group Therapy, the patient has control over what he decides to share with the group during the session.

The psychoeducational group usually consists of individuals suffering from the same diagnosis. The groups are done in this way because it is easier to dispense comprehensive information regarding one specific condition as opposed to trying to cover all diseases. There are, however, mixed psychoeducational groups. These groups often discuss practical life skills rather than a particular malady.

A mental health expert or a peer counselor often acts as the group’s leader. Sessions often follow an expert manual or a curriculum. During sessions, participants are sometimes asked to participate in therapeutic activities like discussion and role-playing. Like most group therapy sessions, psychoeducational group therapy participants adhere to a set of rules. These rules depend on what the leader and the participants agree upon.

The setting and duration of the meetings and the therapy as a whole vary from case to case. Typically, psychoeducational groups meet once a week for 2 to 8 weeks.

“Every worthy act is difficult. Ascent is always difficult. Descent is easy and often slippery.” – Mahatma Gandhi

What are the benefits of Psychoeducational Group Therapy?

Learning about one’s affliction is an important step in developing coping mechanisms for any kind of psychological condition. Psychoeducational group therapy provides patients with practical information on how they can manage their bouts with the disease.

Participating in psychoeducational group therapy sessions also provides patients with a sense of companionship. With the knowledge that they are not suffering alone, it is often easier for people to avoid feeling hopeless. Having a safe space makes it easier for them to imagine a life with their conditions at bay.

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