Living with obsessive compulsive disorder can be quite difficult. However, most patients see a marked improvement in their quality of life once they enter a treatment program and get help from knowledgeable professionals. Individual therapy is a big part of this treatment, but many programs do also include a group therapy aspect. This part of OCD treatment is incredibly helpful — so helpful, in fact, that if you're seeking treatment for OCD, you should be sure to select a program that does include group therapy. Take a closer look at some of the benefits of group therapy for OCD, and you'll see why.
Group therapy reassures patients that they are not alone
Suffering from OCD can leave patients feeling very alone. They wonder why they're the only one in their family dealing with these intrusive thoughts and obsessions. They feel like nobody else understands what they are going through. This mindset makes it very hard to heal and manage symptoms. Group therapy, however, is an opportunity for patients to realize they are not alone. There are many others who also deal with OCD and who, on a very deep level, understand and empathize with what they're going through. Simply being heard and understood in this way sets the stage for an easier healing and treatment course.
Group therapy lets patients learn from others' experiences
By talking to and meeting with other OCD patients, one can learn from those patients' experiences. One patient can, for example, say "I tried deep breathing when this happened to me, and that worked really well!" which may prompt others in the group to try it. Or they can say "I had this struggle with that approach, but I was able to address it by..." Everyone in the group has a unique viewpoint and different experiences, and by coming together, you can all learn from one another.
Group therapy creates an opportunity for shared activities
Treatment for OCD typically involves a lot of exercises and activities. In one-on-one therapy, all of these activities have to be solo ones. But in group therapy, there is an opportunity for patients to work together on activities. For example, patients may pair up and practice reassuring one another in specific ways, or they may pair up and address a joint fear together.
While one-on-one therapy is an essential part of most OCD treatment plans, group therapy should be seen as just as essential. To heal and move forward, patients really need to be able to work together and on their own.
Contact a mental health professional to learn more about local OCD outpatient treatment programs.