Group and Individual Therapy
Individual counseling is a process whereby the relationship and communication provided allows development of understanding of one’s self, to explore possibilities, and initiate change. It is motivated by care and concern for the well-being of the recipient, and aims to bring about behavioral change, problem-solving, personal growth and development when properly implemented. The advantages of an individual counseling as opposed to group counseling are multiple: First, it allows the counselor to focus on isolated issues. Second, the counselor caters only to one client. Third, the information gathered is easier for the counselor to ascertain and to apply the treatment approach most useful to the client and target behavior that needs improvement. The client’s thoughts and behaviors may not be distorted compared with group counseling as several patterns of thoughts and behaviors from other group members in making choices and decision making. The client has the power to change his life for the better based on the choices he makes. In addition, he better able to control his behavior. The level of commitment and how hard he is willing to work will dictate how successful he will be in developing new behaviors that clearly communicate his needs.
Group counseling states that a person’s behavior is inspired by what that person wants or needs at that particular time, not on an outside stimulus. That all living creatures control their behavior to fulfill their need for satisfaction in one or more of these five areas: survival, to belong and be loved by others, to have power and importance, freedom and independence, and to have fun. The most important need among the five is love and belonging. Group counseling promotes this kind of feeling. Being connected to others is encouraged in group counseling.
Advantages of group counseling include: Group counseling is better than individual counseling when it comes to developing new behaviors that clearly communicate their needs and help in attaining fulfillment in the reality. Group therapy considers the key elements of what the group is looking for and what will make their life better, what the group will do to bring about what they want and how they are able to make alternative options and come up with a common plan. Group counseling also provides members with the opportunities to learn with and from other people and to be able to understand their own patterns of thoughts and behaviors, as well as those of others. Other people may see attitudes and behavior patterns that are limiting and difficult to see in self.
A group is an opportunity to receive genuine support, honest feedback and useful alternatives from peers. It also enables members to experiment and work toward improved attitudes and ways of coping with stress. A group may also help individuals with relationship concerns and general difficulties in dealing with other people. Humans are social creatures by nature and whose primary need is to love and belong. It is therefore essential that we have the capacity to develop and maintain relationships because it is through people that our other needs can be met. Presenting problems are a result of poor, unfulfilled or conflict-ridden relationships–or the absence of relationships.