Group therapy for panic disorders is a treatment that’s particularly useful where people need to develop better communication skills and the ability to express feelings to others. Studies have shown that people with panic disorders often have trouble communicating feelings. As a result they become reticent which leads to increased stress and anxiety levels. The more afraid they become at the thought of being assertive, the less likely they will be to express their needs. In other words, fear can make a person with panic disorders feel very isolated.
Group therapy is a monitored series of sessions where you meet with other people with similar issues. The monitor is a trained counselor, doctor or therapist. Group therapy for panic disorders gives people a chance to learn they are not alone. That’s considered one of the primary initial benefits. After feeling emotionally isolated, it’s very therapeutic to discover there are many other people with the same problems.
Another advantage of group therapy for panic disorders is the fact you get a chance to work with a variety of people. Since inability to express feelings is one of the underlying causes of panic disorders, it only makes sense to work in a group where you can practice productive expression of feelings and get feedback. Group therapy often involves “homework” also such as written assignments or keeping a journal of your feelings and the reactions you get to the expression of feelings to others.
The goal of group therapy for panic disorders is to change the way you think about yourself and your feelings. The goal is to teach you how to recognize thought patterns leading to unnecessary anxiety which often leads to panic attacks. In group therapy you can learn to identify your specific needs and how to express those needs in a clear manner. Often there will be a specific topic discussed within the group which gives each person practice with expressing opinions and feelings about the subject.
Panic disorders have causes based in fear and anxiety. With group therapy for panic disorders you can learn to develop a normal attitude towards other people in terms of seeking approval. You can learn to give and accept criticism, identify codependent relationships that contribute to negative self-esteem, identify suppressed feelings, and gain greater control over your life.
Group therapy for panic disorders is considered both a behavioral and cognitive therapy. In group therapy you often learn to self-monitor your physical reactions so you can control the frequency and intensity. The group will also learn ways to confront specific fears. The extent of the therapy varies from group to group, of course, and you should find a group that focuses on your needs. For example, if you express yourself primarily through anger you will want to join a group that concentrates on expressing feelings in other ways. If you don’t know how to show anger, then you need a group that focuses on suppressed feelings. Fortunately, most group therapy for panic disorders uses many of the treatment forms within a single group.