The Difference between Individual Counseling and Group Therapy
Individual counseling and group therapy are both topics that arise when discussing mental health treatment. They are both all about sharing experiences for the purpose of gaining insight about them. Yet they go about it through completely different methods. One is private while the other is in a group setting. One is about arriving at conclusions as an individual while the other is about arriving at conclusions collectively. One seeks advice from a mental health professional while the other seeks advice from people with personal experience. And one acquires healing through self care while the other acquires healing through a support system. The differences are vast but the goal is always the same: optimal mental health.
- Private vs Group Setting. Individual counseling maintains a private addiction counseling environment between a licensed professional counselor and their patient. Group therapy is in a setting of three or more people who share communally about what they have been through.
- Collective vs Individualistic. Group therapy is all about learning from, advising and supporting one another, making it a very collective experience. Individual therapy is very individualistic, as the self is the sole focus of the discussion.
- Certified Mental Health Professional vs People with Personal Experience. Individual counseling takes place with a mental health professional who has achieved a higher education to obtain their counselor’s license. Group therapy is more likely to be hosted and conducted by people who merely have personal experience in the topic area and can offer valuable insight.
- Healing through Support System vs Healing through Self Care. Group therapy entails a healing process that is generated by the love and support of other people. Individual counseling entails a healing process that is generated by self-discovery and self-care.
Clearly, both methods of healing are useful and relevant to a person experiencing a difficult life circumstance or condition, but they are executed in different ways and carry different benefits. Typically, people gain a lot of valuable insight by engaging in both individual counseling and group therapy.