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A young woman is in group therapy for bipolar disorder.

Healing Together: Group Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Peer support, social skills, and stress management techniques are just some of the benefits of group therapy for bipolar disorder.


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How group therapy treats bipolar disorder

Group therapy can be an effective treatment for people with bipolar disorder. In group therapy, people with bipolar disorder can connect with others who understand their experiences and challenges. Through sharing their experiences and learning coping skills, people can gain support, insight, and validation. By participating in group therapy, people can also develop a sense of community and belonging, which can be particularly beneficial for those with bipolar disorder. Additionally, group therapy can provide a space for people to learn from each other and gain a sense of perspective on their own struggles. Overall, group therapy can be a valuable tool in managing the symptoms and challenges of bipolar disorder.

Skills taught in group therapy for bipolar disorder

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

Supporting others

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of group therapy for bipolar disorder is the opportunity for peer support. People can connect with others who understand their experiences, share advice, and provide encouragement and empathy. This sense of community can be invaluable in managing the challenges of bipolar disorder.

Effective communication

Being able to express thoughts and emotions in a clear and respectful manner is an important skill taught in group therapy for bipolar disorder. People learn how to communicate their needs and feelings effectively, which can improve their relationships and overall well-being.

Emotion regulation

This skill helps people manage intense emotions that are common in bipolar disorder. Through group therapy, people can learn techniques such as mindfulness and self-soothing to help regulate their emotions and prevent them from escalating.

Coping strategies

Group therapy teaches people various coping strategies to deal with the challenges of living with bipolar disorder. These can include relaxation techniques, distraction methods, and problem-solving skills to help manage symptoms and reduce stress.

Social skills

People with bipolar disorder may struggle with social interactions, so group therapy helps teach skills such as active listening, assertiveness, and conflict resolution. These skills can improve relationships and help people feel more connected to others.


Understanding one’s own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is crucial in managing bipolar disorder. Group therapy helps people develop self-awareness through activities such as journaling, reflection, and feedback from peers.


Group therapy teaches people how to identify and solve problems related to their bipolar disorder. This can include understanding triggers, developing proactive strategies, and seeking help when needed.

Stress management

Strategies for managing stress are taught in group therapy, such as time management, physical activity, and relaxation techniques. People can learn how to recognize signs of stress and develop personalized plans for coping with it.

Benefits of group therapy for bipolar disorder

Group therapy for bipolar disorder can offer long-term benefits for people struggling with managing their symptoms. By participating in a supportive environment with others who understand their experiences, people can gain a sense of validation and connection. Additionally, group therapy provides opportunities for learning new coping skills and strategies, as well as building a sense of community and mutual support. Over time, people in group therapy can experience improved mood stability, increased self-awareness, and a greater sense of empowerment in managing their bipolar disorder.

How quickly does group therapy work for bipolar disorder? 

Group therapy for bipolar disorder can work quickly for some people. By providing a supportive and understanding environment, people can feel validated and comforted in their experiences. Sharing and learning from others’ coping strategies and experiences can help people feel less alone and more confident in managing their symptoms. As a result, many people in group therapy may notice improvements in their mood and overall well-being in a shorter period of time compared to individual therapy, research shows.

How is medication used to treat bipolar disorder? 

Medication is commonly used to treat bipolar by helping to stabilize a person’s mood swings and manage symptoms. For example, mood stabilizers can help to reduce the frequency and severity of manic and depressive episodes. Antipsychotic medications are also often used to treat symptoms of psychosis and mania. Additionally, antidepressants may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of depression that often accompany bipolar disorder. 

In group therapy, people can learn about the importance of medication for bipolar disorder and how to adhere to their treatment plan. This includes understanding potential side effects, the importance of regular appointments, and how to advocate for themselves in healthcare settings. It is always important for a person to work closely with their healthcare provider to find the right combination of medications that work best for them.

Other types of treatments for bipolar disorder

In addition to group therapy and medication management, some other types of treatments for bipolar disorder are as follows: 

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) 

This therapy offers a comprehensive approach to treating bipolar disorder by combining cognitive and behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. DBT helps manage bipolar by teaching skills to handle emotions and behaviors effectively, promoting stability and improved life quality.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that may contribute to bipolar-related mood swings and instability. It helps people develop coping skills and strategies to manage their symptoms effectively.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)

This therapy focuses on stabilizing daily routines and interpersonal relationships to help regulate mood and prevent episodes of mania or depression. It also addresses the impact of disruptions in social rhythms on mood stability.

Family-focused therapy (FFT)

This therapy involves the person with bipolar and their family members in treatment, focusing on education about the disorder, communication skills, and problem-solving techniques. It aims to reduce family conflicts and improve the person’s support system, which can positively impact their bipolar symptoms.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

This therapy involves the use of electrical currents to induce controlled seizures in the brain while safely under general anesthesia, which can help alleviate symptoms of severe bipolar disorder that haven’t responded to other treatments. It is often used when other treatments have not been effective.

Intensive outpatient program for bipolar 

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are used to treat people with bipolar disorder when they need more support than traditional outpatient therapy can provide but don’t need round-the-clock care in a hospital setting. IOP typically involves a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and psychoeducation. By participating in IOP, people with bipolar disorder can receive intensive treatment while still being able to continue with their daily responsibilities and activities. This can help them gain the skills and support they need to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Bipolar treatment with Charlie Health 

If a young person in your life is struggling with bipolar 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 bipolar. Our expert clinicians incorporate dialectical behavior therapy into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic treatment, managing bipolar is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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