This is the third and final installment in a three-part blog series about IntraSpectrum Counseling psychotherapy groups, for those interested in learning more about group therapy or getting started with a group. Click below to access the prior articles in the series:
ISC therapy groups provide safe & affirming spaces for clients to share their stories with others, make connections, receive support, learn new skills, and experience a sense of belonging, security and visibility. New Therapy Groups form throughout the year, and we invite you to join us. If you’re ready to begin a new therapy group that’s currently open for enrollment, submit an Inquiry Form on our website. You can also get details about our Groups program, browse Group Therapy FAQs or submit a Groups contact form for detailed answers to your specific questions.
Online vs In-Person Therapy Groups
IntraSpectrum Counseling therapy groups are set up as either in-person groups or as online groups. Participants attend according to the group structure (e.g. you cannot attend sessions of an in-person group via online meeting link, or visa versa). Whether a group meets remotely vs. in-person usually has to do with the focus of the group or the participants who would attend. For example, a chronic illness therapy group would be structured as a remote group, due to issues of compromised immunity, mobility, or problems with transportation access. Similarly, a group composed of rural LGBTQ+ Illinoisans would be structured as an online group. Alternatively, an LGBTQ+ teens group would likely meet in-person to give adolescent participants optimal opportunities to bond, engage and participate with their peers and the group therapy process.
How Much Does Group Therapy Cost?
The cost for IntraSpectrum Counseling therapy groups is typically covered by most health insurance plans, which can reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs for you. For people without health insurance plans or with plans that do not cover group therapy, the cost is sliding-scale and pro-bono eligible, or $50 per session OOP (out of pocket). Participants are responsible for the cost of all sessions of the therapy group they sign up for, even those sessions which they do not attend.
Are There Attendance Requirements for Group Therapy?
Yes! Before you enroll in a given therapy group, be sure to confirm your availability on the specific dates that the group will meet. Absences can be disruptive to the group process. By signing up for a group, you are committing to attend each session of that group. Also, 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.
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 ($50 for clients using insurance or paying out of pocket; $25 for sliding scale clients; and $5 for pro bono clients).
Determining if Group Therapy is Right for You:
Our best suggestion is that you speak with a trained therapist. Whether it’s someone you are already working with or the group facilitator during the intake appointment, they can help you determine if group therapy, and a given specific group, is a good choice for you. Share your questions and concerns about group therapy with them, which could include:
- 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?
What if I’m Uncomfortable in my Therapy Group?
It is normal to have questions or concerns about joining a group. 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 also provides a great deal of relief because it allows them a chance to talk with others in a private, confidential setting, and to realize they are not alone in what they are experiencing or struggling with.
- What is my goal for my mental health?
- Will group therapy help me achieve this goal?
- How do I feel about my socialization skills?
- How do I feel about talking in front of a group of people?
- Would anxiety get in the way of fully being present in a group therapy session?
- How easy is it for me to relate to other people?
- Is relating to other people a skill that I need to work on?
If you would prefer not to disclose identities, situations, or memories with other people right now, individual therapy may be a better choice for you. If you are anxious in social settings, you may want to start with individual therapy and work your way towards group therapy… and that’s okay too!
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.
- Before you decide to join, you have the right to know about the group’s rules, goals, and methods, including rules about confidentiality. When you first meet with the therapist, they should bring up this topic. If they do not, it is totally appropriate to ask these questions.
- At the start of the group, members must agree to protect the identities of fellow members, and to keep the content of each session confidential.
- The group facilitator(s) are bound to maintain a professional, respectful, and ethical environment. It is their responsibility to ensure that sessions are nonjudgmental and productive for everyone involved. They also keep sessions free from discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any behaviors that make any member feel uncomfortable, harassed, or threatened.
- It’s important to remember that confidentiality agreements are not absolute: therapists are obligated by law to alert authorities if a member expresses the intent to harm themselves or others.
Things to consider, when considering group therapy:
- Group size & participants
- Group schedule, meeting dates & location
- What kinds of issues the group addresses
- How much you wish to share
- If group therapy might be used along with another type of treatment
- If the group is in-person or online
- Facilitators’ philosophy & plans for group structure
This is the final in a three-part series, “A Guide to Group Therapy”. Click the links below to view previous installments:
If you have questions after reviewing these blog articles, feel free to submit a Groups contact form for detailed answers from our experienced Intake team. Our goals are to offer psychotherapy groups that provide safe & affirming spaces and effectively address a wide range of client concerns, and to make the getting-started process quick, efficient and affirming.
IntraSpectrum Counseling is Chicago’s leading psychotherapy practice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, and we strive to provide the highest quality mental health care for multicultural, kink, polyamorous, and intersectional issues. For anyone needing affirming and validating support, please click here to get started. We look forward to connecting with you soon.