A struggle with depression is one of the most common reasons people come to me for psychotherapy. While there’s typically quite a bit of individual psychotherapy called for initially, I’ve found that group therapy is a great context for helping those with depression feel better and create a less depressing life.
Some of the benefits of group therapy for depression are pretty obvious. A therapy group can quite quickly become a place where you can feel less lonely and be less alone (not necessarily the same thing). Therapy groups are good at caring. Because every group member is there to work on his or her emotional difficulties, groups are pretty great at understanding pain and the experience of being stuck.
Depression tends to both lead to and grow out of isolation and/or difficulty in being with people. Whether we like it or not, creating a life means creating a life with other people. In the simplest of terms, group therapy is where other people are working on creating their own lives, too. This is where groups, as I view them, are at their best. While groups are very helpful at giving direction, it’s the activity of building the group, participating in its struggles, helping the group become stronger and more skillful that is most growthful.