Group therapy is a very powerful way to facilitate psychological healing and growth. With the help of the therapist a group of strangers tries to develop the kind of relationships with each other that has the power to do this. When profound moments of healing and growth take place in groups I sometimes am amazed in the same way I am amazed every time I see an airplane lift off the ground and climb into the sky. With so many complex factors involved it always feels a bit miraculous to see it actually work, and yet it does work. Perhaps what seems truly miraculous is not just that it works, but that is does so quite consistently.
For group therapy the therapist or therapists (often there are two) must be skilled and must work hard at facilitating the relationships among the members of the group. However, the members of the group also have to work hard. As they do this hard work they tend to acquire certain interpersonal skills that that make it easier as time goes on. In addition to the therapist(s) in the room, they can get some help from the Group Therapy Manual. This manual can also help a person who is considering joining a therapy group to get some idea of what might go on.
In terms of the two levels of therapy, the first focusing more on healing and the second more on growth, group therapy addresses both but is particularly suited to the second level. For this reason those who are able to successfully enter into a therapy group and to acquire the interpersonal skills it requires often have had previous experience in psychotherapy and often choose to remain in the group for an extended period of time because of the ongoing benefit.