Man talking in group therapy session while others look on

9 Myths and Misconceptions about Group Therapy: Debunked

Group therapy is an important part of the therapeutic process at mental health treatment facilities. In fact, group therapy by United Recovery is integrated into clients’ daily routines to ensure consistent improvements in symptoms.

But despite being a proven way to address mental health issues, not everyone believes in its efficacy. In fact, people have a few misconceptions about what it will be like.

Smiling young woman during group therapy session

Misconceptions about Group Therapy

To help you develop a better understanding of what group therapy is, let’s debunk a few common myths. 

  1. You’ll Be Forced to Tell Your Secrets

Many people believe that they’ll be forced to tell the group about their secrets and feelings during group therapy sessions.

This is a myth because each participant can control what they share with other group members. Similarly, you can decide how much you want to share, and if you don’t want to talk about it at the moment, that’s fine too. 

Since a therapist will control the direction of the discussion, they’ll encourage you not to share anything that you’re not ready to talk about.

Nevertheless, listening to what others say can be a validating experience since their story may also relate to you.

Most people who attended group therapy can agree that it provides a warm and affirming environment. Hence, they usually feel safe enough to talk about their problems. 

  1. It Will Take Longer Than Individual Therapy

A lot of people assume that they’ll recover much more slowly with group therapy because they won’t get individual attention from their therapist.

On the contrary, group therapy can be more efficient than one-on-one counseling. That’s because you also benefit from sessions when you don’t speak much but listen to other members. 

If you listen carefully, it’s possible that what they say can also apply to you. As another group member works on a specific problem, you can learn more about yourself.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the groups are usually small, so you’ll be able to get individual attention from the therapist.  

  1. You’ll be Criticized and Judged by Group Members 

If you’ve had painful experiences with social groups in the past, attending group therapy can help you heal from that emotional pain.

However, some people believe that a group therapy session will have similar dynamics and that other members will judge and criticize them.

This isn’t the case because therapists have an ethical responsibility to ensure that everyone feels safe. 

Therefore, the therapists leading the session will make sure to create a safe and comfortable environment where members are considerate and kind.

This is especially the case when members provide feedback to each other. Members will give feedback and constructive criticism respectfully so you learn more about yourself without feeling hurt. 

  1. Group Therapy isn’t as Effective as Individual Therapy

A common misconception among people who’ve been prescribed group therapy is that the therapist doesn’t have enough time to see them individually.

Consequently, they may feel like they’re only getting the second-best level of care. It’s important to consider that if your mental health practitioner recommends group therapy, they genuinely believe it’s an effective method to address your issues. 

It offers a space to learn new coping skills from others, teach them what you know, and practice what you’ve learned. Group therapy sessions offer a welcoming space to celebrate your milestones and be inspired by others’ achievements. 

  1. You’ll Have Trouble Sharing With Strangers 

It’s natural to feel uncomfortable about sharing your mental health problems with a room full of strangers (to be clear, groups are usually small and comprise a few people). But most therapists have observed that people eventually open up after a few sessions. 

That’s because therapists supervising and guiding the session ensure everyone feels comfortable and safe. And when you relate to other peoples’ experiences, it encourages you to also talk about them.   

  1. Your Information Won’t be Confidential 

Treatment centers implement various measures to ensure the complete confidentiality of all members.

For instance, therapists may conduct group sessions on a first-name basis, so none of the members know each other’s last names.

Moreover, every member is committed to upholding confidentiality by not discussing other members’ experiences outside the therapeutic setting. 

  1. You Might End Up In The Same Group as a Colleague 

Mental health is a sensitive topic and an aspect of one’s life they’d prefer to keep private. It’s why there’s a common misconception that you can end up in the same group as someone you know from work.

Treatment centers look at each participant’s background before putting them in the same group. This eliminates the risk of being in the same therapy group as someone from work or school. 

  1. You Won’t Fit In Because Your Problems Aren’t That Bad

People have a tendency to compare their suffering to that of other people, only to feel like their problems aren’t as big as others. Even if you feel that way, it doesn’t mean that you won’t fit in.

Attending group therapy gives you the opportunity to feel compassion for others and yourself without deciding who had it worse. In fact, you’ll realize that you’re not alone in your struggle, which helps you find relief. 

  1. It Looks Like an AA Meeting 

Perhaps the most common myth of all is that a group therapy session will look like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting – a common sight in TV shows and movies.

But this isn’t the case because group therapy sessions don’t require you to label yourself as an alcoholic, depressive person, or trauma survivor. Instead, these are spaces to harness creativity, share ideas, and cultivate strength. 


To summarize, group therapy can help people struggling with different mental health concerns. Sure, there are different myths surrounding the idea of sharing your experience with an entire group, but most of them are untrue.

Once your anxiety subsides and you start feeling comfortable with the members of your group, you’ll see it as a great way to learn about your strengths, develop healthy coping strategies, and improve communication. 

365 Days of Gratitude