Frequently Asked Questions About Group Therapy

Read below for answers to the most frequently asked questions about group therapy at IntraSpectrum Counseling – including how it works, who can benefit, getting started & more. Our therapy groups provide safe spaces to share stories, make connections, receive support, learn new skills and experience belonging, security and visibility. Groups are always forming, and we invite you to join us.

To get started with a new group, please submit an online inquiry. You can also learn more about our Group Therapy Program or contact us for answers to specific questions or to join our Groups Newsletter.

What is Group Therapy?

Group psychotherapy is an effective form of therapy in which a certain number of people meet together under the guidance of professionally trained therapists to help themselves and one another. There are many different approaches to group therapy, but they all share in common creating a safe, supportive, and cohesive space to address personal, relationship and societal issues.

Is Group Therapy effective?

Research has shown that group therapy is typically just as effective as individual therapy for various reasons. First, most members identify with issues other members share and find they are helping themselves just by being present and processing the issues vicariously. Similarly, by listening and giving feedback to group members sharing their concerns, you may also be practicing new ways of interacting with others. Group therapy offers the opportunity to get multiple perspectives, increased support from peers, and a safe place to try out new behaviors and ways of being.

Who can benefit from Group Therapy?

Group therapy can benefit people of different ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, and race, cultural and ethnic backgrounds who want help with specific concerns, such as depression, anxiety, serious medical illness, loss, trauma, lifestyle issues within a traditional culture, addictive disorders, or behavioral challenges. In addition, groups can benefit those seeking self-development by providing a safe environment in which to learn and grow.

If someone is in a group, do they also need individual therapy?

Group therapy may be used as the primary treatment approach, or it can be used along with individual therapy. For some people, being in individual therapy and group therapy at the same time is an effective way to work on life’s challenges. They have the benefit of learning some new things about themselves in their interactions with other group members, and this learning can be expanded upon in their individual work. This is not practical for everyone however, and having an individual therapist is not usually a requirement for being in a group. Talk to one of our therapists during your intake sessions about what will best meet your needs.

How does Group Therapy work?

Group therapy provides a place where you come together with others to share problems or concerns, to better understand your own situation, and to learn from and with each other. Under the leadership of two therapists, you will learn about yourself, gain self-understanding and skills for dealing with your concerns, and improve your relationships with other people. Members learn not only to understand themselves and their own issues but also become therapeutic helpers for other group members. Groups at ISC are held both in-person and online.

How many people are in a typical Therapy Group?

Most groups have between 6-10 members depending on the type of group, and 2 group therapists.

How many sessions are offered per Therapy Group?

Our Therapy Groups run for 8-12 sessions, depending on the specific Group. Before a Group begins, you will receive the complete meeting schedule (including any holidays on which the Group will not meet). Your availability to attend these Group sessions should be a factor in determining whether the Group is right for you. It’s important that participants are present and engaged, in order to get the most from the Group Therapy experience. In addition, the cost for the Therapy Group is based on all sessions. We divide the fee into weekly payments for your convenience, but there is no cancellation policy for Therapy Groups; participants are responsible for all session fees, even on weeks they do not attend.

What makes the Group Therapy experience unique and powerful?

First, most members identify with issues other members share and find they are helping themselves just by being present and processing the issues vicariously. Similarly, by listening and giving feedback to group members sharing their concerns, you may also be practicing new ways of interacting with others. Group therapy offers the opportunity to get multiple perspectives, increased support from peers, and a safe place to try out new behaviors and ways of being.

Will there be people with similar concerns in my Therapy Group?

The therapists’ role in groups is to evaluate each person prior to forming the group. Usually, there is a mix of people who can learn from each other. While some group members will have similar circumstances to you, it’s not necessary for all to be dealing with exactly the same problem. In fact, people with different strengths and difficulties are often in the best position to help one another.

What if I’m uncomfortable with others in my Therapy Group?

It is normal to have questions or concerns about joining a group. What am I going to get out of this? Will there be enough time to deal with my own problems in a group setting? What if I don’t like the people in my group? What if I’m uncomfortable discussing my problems in front of others? Some people feel uneasy or embarrassed when first joining a group, but they soon begin to develop feelings of trust and belonging. Most people find that group therapy provides a great deal of relief because it allows them a chance to talk with others in a private, confidential setting.

Is what I say kept confidential?

All group members are expected to respect the confidentiality of the group. Group members are asked to make a commitment to protect each other’s confidentiality by agreeing not to divulge information that would violate the identity of others outside the group. While the group therapists cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality (since we cannot control the behavior of group members), we find that members are usually very respectful of each other’s privacy.

What does a Group Therapy session look like?

The Group Therapy session is a collaborative effort in which the therapists assume clinical responsibility for the group and its members. In a typical session, (which lasts 90 minutes, once a week), members work to express their own problems, feelings, ideas, and reactions as freely and honestly as possible. Such exploration gives the group the important information needed to understand and help one another.

How can I join a Therapy Group at ISC?

If you are a new client interested in joining a Therapy Group that’s open for enrollment (or in being added to our Groups email list, so we can share info about new and upcoming Groups), please submit an Inquiry Form. Our Client Services team will schedule an intake appointment for you with one of the Group’s facilitators. This appointment gives you a chance to meet your potential therapist, ask questions, discuss your concerns and goals, and determine whether the Group is a good fit for your needs. If you are already working with an ISC therapist and are interested in joining a Therapy Group, please email groups@intraspectrum-chicago.com to start the process. Our Client Services team will contact you to set up a Groups intake appointment. Current clients may also speak with their ISC therapist about their interest in joining a therapy group.

Are there attendance requirements for group therapy?

Yes! Please review the information below carefully, so that you are informed of the attendance requirements for group therapy. And before you enroll in a group, be sure to confirm your availability on the specific dates that the group will meet.

  • By signing up for a group, you are committing to attend each session of that group.
  • If you elect to leave the group before the 5th group session, you will not be charged for the remaining sessions, provided that you inform the facilitators via email of your decision to drop before the 5th group session. You will be responsible for all missed group session fees accrued before you inform your facilitators via email that you are leaving the group.
  • If you elect to leave the group after the 5th session, you will be responsible for the fees for all group sessions, including those sessions you do not attend.
  • In order for us to bill insurance for group therapy sessions, we must have a minimum number of clients attend each session. For this reason, and in order to ensure everyone has a fruitful group therapy experience, we require that participants attend every session. If there are not enough participants for us to bill insurance, the group will proceed as scheduled, and you will be responsible for the $50 out of pocket group fee.
  • Absences can be disruptive to the group process, and you are expected to attend every group session. However, we do understand that things happen, and that you may need to miss a session. If you are going to miss a session of your therapy group, please email the facilitators ASAP to let us know. And remember that you are responsible for the fees for the missed session.
  • If you are unable to attend a session, whether your absence is planned or unplanned, you are responsible for paying the full fee for that session that you miss: $60 for clients using insurance or paying out of pocket, $30 for sliding scale clients.

Do you have a cancellation or no-show policy for group therapy sessions?

Yes! Our group therapy cancellation and no-show policy differs from individual, family, and relational therapy policy. If you are unable to attend a group therapy session, whether your absence is planned or unplanned, you are responsible for paying the full fee for that session that you miss: $60 for clients using insurance or paying out of pocket, $30 for sliding scale clients.


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