New to Group Therapy? 5 Tips for Beginners

New to Group Therapy? 5 Tips for Beginners

I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.

Ani DiFranco

“Group therapy” means something different to each of us.

For you, it might bring up a vivid scene from a movie. Or a vague image of chairs gathered in a circle.

Whatever comes to mind when you imagine it, one thing is certain:

Group therapy can help you.

Today we’re sharing 5 tips for making the most of your group therapy experience:

1. Be open to new possibilities.

Perhaps the greatest barrier to experiencing the benefits of group therapy? Deciding it won’t work before you try it. With strong data supporting its use to address a variety of concerns, group therapy can yield real and lasting benefits as part of your plan for care. Whatever you might be navigating, perspective is a powerful asset: If you can simply create space for the possibility that something will help, you’ll be much more likely to participate more fully in the process of trying it.

2. Gather some info.

Group therapy is a powerful modality, but it’s not for everyone. (For instance, if you’re in crisis, most groups will not be an appropriate fit. And if you experience certain forms of anxiety, taking part in a group setting might not be the best choice for your care.) When in doubt, consult with your primary provider to determine whether group therapy might be supportive for you. In addition, not all groups are alike; from educational groups to support groups to interpersonal groups and more, there’s a variety of options out there! If you’re curious about trying a particular group, reach out to the group’s leader in advance. They can help answer your questions and shape your expectations before you attend.

3. Plan ahead.

When it comes to making the most of your group therapy experience, I little thoughtful planning goes a long way. Review the group details and consider: Have I cleared space in my schedule to support my participation in this group? Do I need support with work coverage or childcare? Have I budgeted for any copays or other fees? Will I need a dedicated notebook and something to write with? By asking yourself these basic questions, you’ll be better equipped to be fully present in the group.

4. Prepare to share.

Each group is built on its own foundation of norms and agreements. In general, though, each group member is expected to help create the atmosphere and culture of the group. In other words, your participation is central to making the group what it is. So, what does this mean for you? Maybe it means taking some time before each group to reflect on how you want to show up for the other members. Or perhaps it means challenging yourself to practice healthy vulnerability by sharing even if it feels a bit uncomfortable. Remember: The group facilitator is there to provide guidance and help maintain the safety of everyone involved. Your job is to participate, out of respect for the other group members and yourself.

5. Own your experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned group member or trying it out for the first time, the same holds true: You are ultimately responsible for your own experience. This might include:

  • ensuring you have the self-care and support you need outside of the group
  • reflecting on your experience as you participate
  • sharing openly and asking for what you need
  • trusting the other group members and practicing trustworthiness yourself
  • taking healthy risks in support of your growth and wellness

You’ve got this. And we’re here to support you in the process!


Looking for Support Coping with Grief?

We’re pleased to announce a new group, hosted by Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, LADC, Post-Master’s Fellow.

Spring can be especially challenging when you are grieving. As the weather warms and the earth begins to blossom, feelings of sadness and depression can deepen as those around you seem happier and excited to enjoy the warmer weather. Our pain can intensify as the change of season brings on memories of the people who are no longer with us or of times when we were happier.

This group at Sonder Behavioral Health and Wellness is a place to create a community to connect with, to work through grief with and to support one another along the way. The group will provide you with a safe space to better understand your unique grief and to develop coping strategies to address the psychological and social impacts grief can have in your life. The group is for anyone who has lost a loved one OR who has gone through a change in their life that has caused them to be unsure about who they are or their place in the world.

This group will run Mondays (5:30pm to 7:00pm) beginning March 9th and ending April 27th.

Space is limited. If you’re interested, please email

From Alejandra:

Hi! My name is Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, and I will be running this group. I am a licensed counselor with a Master of Arts in Addiction and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Minnesota.

I have extensive education and experience in grief counseling, including working with adults, adolescents, couples, and families in a private practice setting, creating an intensive training program around grief associated with COVID-19, and participating in a research project examining the effects culture has on grief.

I am excited to walk with you in this journey.


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Interested in group therapy?