Group therapy aims to help people become more emotionally resilient, more able to take responsibility for oneself and one’s choices and be more honest in their relationship to themselves and with others.
What makes group different than individual therapy is that there are many more people in the room to have impressions about and reactions to. The increasing ability to reveal and explore your thoughts and feelings toward group members allows for greater self awareness.
I am a huge fan of the work of Louis Ormont, an exceptional group therapist whose work I am studying at The Center For Group Studies. I prepared a presentation with and experiential component to highlight the material to colleagues and had a fascinating discussion afterwards on the importance of keeping 'progressive communication' alive in the 'now'.
When group process is in 'the now', there is more energy, a dynamic flow of information and an active exchange of ideas an emotions. If you contrast this to a group that's relaying historical information more regularly, you may notice that these groups are often more stagnant, stale and, most importantly, we have less ability to make change in our clients.
When the group therapist focuses on the “here and now” the group's desires and needs for care and warmth, rivalrous and competitive feelings and the anxiety surface more often, making the session rich and active.
Ormont writes about several techniques in his paper, of which I took three to demonstrate and elaborate on.