Support Groups and Mental Health
Have you ever experienced a time where you felt like you were the only person in the world who felt some way, who was experiencing something, who overcame that thing? And in that time, did you connect with someone else who understood what you were going through, or at the very least, someone who was able to empathize with you and hold space?
That, my friend, is the power of connection. The ability of another to diffuse the intensity of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences by offering a listening ear, saying “me too,” or by sharing their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Not only can someone else help us by listening—they can also help us by offering their own stories and allowing us to see ourselves in them in return.
These theories of connection, of mutual healing, of space holding, are exactly the reason that support groups exist. When we’re able to relate to someone else based on our lived experiences, we heal better, and we heal together.
While we don’t do the 12-steps here at Reframe, we acknowledge that there is undeniable power in the group experience available “in the rooms.” The efficacy of group therapy and support groups is exactly why they’ve been around for so long; they’re a potent space for connection and healing. In fact, this idea is exactly why we created the Reframe Thrive coaching program within our larger program—we know that holding mutual space together is a game changer as we work to drink differently.
Before we dive into the data, let’s make a quick distinction between “support groups” and “group therapy,” because these concepts may seem interchangeable. (But they’re not!) When we consider “group therapy,” we typically refer to a group setting of multiple people, led by a trained therapist. This group may or may not have something in common. The focus is goal oriented, centered on actionable change, and the group processes together. On the other hand, “support groups'' may or may not be led by a therapist and are intended to help members cope with similar struggles. Participants likely have something in common—a disease, addiction, divorce, specific mental health disorders, age-group (like teens), and so on. AA and traditional recovery modalities would typically be examples of support groups.