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Group Therapy: Connection, Compassion, Communication.

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

What is group therapy? Group therapy is led by one or two mental health co-facilitators, with a small number of participants. They serve to facilitate and moderate the group. Research has shown that the best groups are co-led by more than one group leader. This allows better observations and redirection of interactions between group members.

One thing that group therapy is not is just individual therapy in a group setting. Group therapy has many advantages. Not only is group therapy more affordable, but it is highly effective. The effectiveness of group therapy is supported by substantial evidence from over 50 clinical trials. This study which compiled data from 111 sources, indicated that group therapy participants were better off than 72% of those left untreated. For some, groups can even be more powerful and transformative than individual therapy. This study indicated that clinical change can occur more easily in group settings. It can be much easier for us to interact and relate to our peers who are going through the same thing than one-on-one with a therapist.

Groups provide a non-judgemental and therapeutic environment where individuals feel safe to bring awareness to their feelings in addition to learning how to communicate them to other group members. Participants are bonded both by shared past experiences and a shared purpose to improve themselves. Group therapy reduces social isolation and enhances social connectedness. Members are validated that they are not alone. This is called realization universality where members recognize that while their particular situations can be unique, they are not alone in their struggles.

Members can benefit from improving their communication, social and relationship skills. Members provide each other with support, honest feedback, positive reinforcement and a sense of connection. Furthermore, it can improve how we relate to others and ourselves. Being able to take on the perspective of other group members will enhance capacities for empathy and compassion. These skills gained through group therapy can be extended into real-world experiences.

When one member improves, the effects are felt by the group. It can provide a source of hope for others in the group to continue utilizing gained skills and coping strategies towards getting better themself. Positive reinforcement from others in the group can act as a change agent to further facilitate personal growth.

Group therapy not only benefits its members but also the therapist(s) involved.

Therapist(s) are able to observe relationship dynamics in real-time instead of depending on self-report from clients. Self-reported information can sometimes be inaccurate, exaggerated, or unreliable. Armed with this information, they are better able to serve and help their clients in both the group setting and individually if needed.


Why group therapy?

  • More affordable than individual therapy

  • As effective as individual therapy

  • Decreased social isolation

  • Enhanced social connectedness

  • Provides peer interaction and support

  • Positive reinforcement from peers

  • Real-time reliable observations for the therapist(s)

Benefits from group therapy

  • Improved expressions of emotions

  • Improved communication skills

  • Improved social skills

  • Improve relationships skills

  • Improved perspective-taking

  • Improved empathy and compassion

Connection & Confidence Groups for Children + Teens

  • Is your child/teen struggling with confidence, self-esteem, or self-worth?

  • Is your child/teen feeling isolated or struggling to make or keep friends?

  • Are you noticing your child/teen having difficulties with coping and managing emotions?

McAtee Psychology is currently seeking families who are interested in participating in a group to support children/teens dealing with these types of issues. To learn more click here or go to


McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for individuals, couples, and children & teens. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.

McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB

McAtee Psychology SE: 105, 11500 29 St SE, Calgary, AB |

Phone: 403-926-3738

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