Both individual therapy and group therapy have several benefits. Which one works best for you will ultimately depend on your goals, therapeutic needs, and personality. Before making a decision, it is important to understand how each method works. Below are some of the benefits individual therapy may have over group options.
Higher Levels of Confidentiality
Therapy often involves discussing things that may feel uncomfortable or embarrassing to discuss. In an individual setting, you can be sure that your sessions will be kept private due to your therapist's professional obligations. While members participating in group therapy are encouraged to be discrete outside of sessions, you may not have the same level of trust in their ability to keep confidences.
Fits Your Schedule and Pace
Individual therapy is convenient because you can fit it into your schedule at a time that is best for you. It is also easier to book emergency appointments when you experience an emotional crisis or other issue. Additionally, when you are the only one in the session, you get to set the pace. This means you may have more intense sessions than group therapy or, if you are uncomfortable with therapy, you may start slower than a group would.
During individual therapy, the session will focus solely on you. This provides plenty of time for you to reflect on yourself with input from your therapist. In a group setting you may get a better understanding of issues you have in common with other group members, including how other people deal with similar problems, but you may not develop such a deep self-awareness.
Uses an Individualized Approach
When you work one-on-one with a therapist, they can change their approach to find a method of therapy that works for you. In a group setting, your therapist needs to gauge the needs of the entire group and is more likely to stick to a single method of therapy.
A Stronger Therapeutic Alliance Is Formed
The therapeutic alliance is the relationship between you and your therapist. As you continue going to sessions with a therapist, you will likely develop higher levels of trust and expectations for sessions. At the same time, your therapist will develop a greater understanding of you and your problems. A strong therapeutic alliance can contribute to more effective therapy. Group therapy generally creates weaker but broader therapeutic alliances.
Many people choose to attend both individual and group therapy. If you wonder which one will work best for you, talk to a therapist in your area.