A boy with a white shirt and a girl with a yellow shirt smile after managing their anxiety in group therapy for anxiety.

The Role of Group Therapy in Anxiety Treatment

Peer support and stress-management techniques are just some of the benefits of group therapy for anxiety.


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How group therapy treats anxiety

Group therapy is a form of treatment that involves a group of people with similar struggles coming together to support one another. In group therapy for anxiety, people with anxiety can share their experiences and learn coping mechanisms from each other. Being in a group setting allows people to feel less alone in their struggles and provides a sense of community and peer support. Through group therapy, people with anxiety can gain insights and feedback from others, which can help them better understand and manage their mental health. Overall, group therapy can provide people with a sense of belonging and empowerment, leading to improved mental well-being and reduced anxiety symptoms.

Skills taught in group therapy for anxiety

Some of the skills taught in group therapy for anxiety are as follows: 

Mindfulness techniques

People learn to practice being present in the moment and to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help individuals become more aware of their anxiety triggers and learn to respond to them in a more balanced and controlled manner, even when dealing with anxious or negative thoughts.

One example of a mindfulness skill is deep breathing. When learning this skill in group therapy for anxiety, people are guided through various breathing exercises to help them relax and calm their minds during times of high stress or panic. Learning to control and regulate one’s breathing can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety symptoms.

Relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery, are also taught in group therapy for anxiety. People are led through these exercises to help them release tension and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety. Learning to relax the body can have a direct impact on calming the mind.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is another skill taught in group therapy for anxiety. People are shown how to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with more realistic and positive beliefs. This can help to reduce the intensity of anxiety symptoms and change people’s overall outlook on managing their mental health condition. 

Social skills

Social skills training may also be incorporated into group therapy for anxiety, as many people with anxiety struggle with social interactions. People can learn effective communication, assertiveness, and coping strategies for managing social anxiety or social phobia. Building these skills can help to improve confidence and reduce social anxiety.

Benefits of group therapy for anxiety

Group therapy has been shown to have long-term benefits for people struggling with anxiety. By participating in group therapy sessions, people can develop a sense of belonging and find support from others who are going through similar experiences. This can lead to a decrease in symptoms and help people learn coping skills. Additionally, being part of a group can provide people with a sense of community and connection, which can help reduce feelings of isolation and helplessness. Over time, people may find that the peer support and skills gained from group therapy continue to positively impact their overall well-being.

How quickly does group therapy work for anxiety? 

Group therapy can be effective in helping people manage their anxiety. In many cases, people may begin to see improvements in their symptoms within a few weeks of starting group therapy. However, the speed at which people experience relief can vary depending on their individual circumstances and the specific techniques used in the group sessions. Overall, group therapy can provide people with a supportive environment to help them manage their anxiety and make progress in their treatment journey.

Coping skills for anxiety

Though not a replacement for professional mental health support, there are coping skills people can use to manage anxiety. Examples include exercise and journaling. The former can be a great way to release pent-up energy and tension caused by anxiety. Exercise also releases endorphins, which can improve mood and decrease feelings of anxiety. The latter can be a helpful way to process and understand anxiety. Journaling can also provide a sense of relief and help to organize overwhelming emotions.

Other types of treatments for anxiety

In addition to group therapy and coping skills, some other types of treatments for anxiety are as follows: 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety. A therapist helps people learn coping skills to manage their anxiety symptoms.

Exposure therapy

This therapy involves gradually exposing a person to their fears or triggers in a safe and controlled environment. Over time, the person learns to desensitize to the anxiety-provoking stimulus and experiences reduced anxiety as a result.

Mindfulness-based therapy

This approach teaches people to be present in the moment and observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness techniques can help individuals better manage their anxiety by increasing self-awareness and promoting relaxation, even when faced with negative thoughts. 

Intensive outpatient program for anxiety

In more severe cases, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) may be recommended to treat anxiety. This can be beneficial for people who are struggling with severe symptoms but do not require hospitalization. IOP typically involves a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and medication management as needed and provides a more intensive level of support than traditional outpatient therapy. It allows people to receive treatment for their anxiety while still being able to maintain their daily responsibilities and routines.

Anxiety treatment with Charlie Health 

If a young person in your life is struggling with an anxiety disorder, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health offers a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with complex mental health conditions, including anxiety. Our expert clinicians incorporate evidence-based therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic online therapy, managing anxiety is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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