A variety of studies have shown that the group therapy dynamic can prove to be even more beneficial than individualized counseling. This may seem off. Considering, in a group dynamic, a person does not get as much time and attention as they would with an individual session. However, the group dynamic is a powerful motivator for cultivating change, helping a person see themselves from a perspective other than their own, and prompts the realization that they are not alone in their struggles.
Mental Illness is an isolating experience for people. Our society does not create a space for people to openly discuss when they aren't doing well or to share that they are not happy. These conversations make people uncomfortable and they often result in judgement, avoidance, or feelings of shame for the person struggling. People that are struggling with mental illness or have a loved one that is struggling feel like nobody is capable of understanding. Group therapy helps break that belief and cultivates unity among the human experience. It reiterates the message that, "you are not alone." Through that message, people begin to see themselves as having a relatable human experience, instead of as individuals that are just doomed or flawed for good.
Group therapy helps build a community of give and take among individuals. Group members can feel supported, and also benefit from the act and process of giving support to other group members during their own time of vulnerability and pain. Individuals struggling with aspects of mental illness can often feel like a burden or inconvenience to the people around them. Their symptoms might be met with frustration or confusion. They may be written off as if they are dramatic or need to suck it up. Having a space where they are really understood by others that relate to their feelings, while also having the opportunity to provide the support they may have also wished they had gotten from others can be highly therapeutic and healing.
When it comes to the growth and the change process, it is necessary that people rediscover who they are and find their inner voice. This can be hard. It is often not until people are thrown into a situation where they have to connect with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions will this inner voice be discovered. Group therapy is an ideal setting for people to be forced to face how they truly feel and what they want. Through the group environment, they are rewarded and encouraged to do so. When other group members start to cultivate a renewed claim of identity, the rest of the room becomes empowered to follow suit.
Group therapy might be intimidating to someone that has never tried it. However, there are a variety of resources around the community that make group therapy an accessible form of support for individuals going through hard times or combatting mental illness. Change starts with taking action. Group therapy creates a natural structure that helps facilitate the process of change, once you get the ball rolling. If. you or someone you know is struggling with a life change or mental illness, here is a list of local support groups you can begin to explore.
Kempf Bipolar Support Group Individuals with bipolar disorder, friends, family members, and others affected by the condition are all welcome in this group, which is generously supported by the Kempf Family. Facilitated by the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center and Ascension St. Vincent Evansville. For details, please contact Emily Reidford at Easterseals, 812.426.2640 or email@example.com.
When: First and third Wednesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. Where: Methodist Temple, 2109 Lincoln Ave., Evansville IN (Enter off Kelsey Street) (After meeting virtually for several months, the Bipolar Support Group resumed in-person meetings in Feb. 2022.)
Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group If you've lost someone to suicide, you know the ripple effect is powerful and lasting. This group offers you an opportunity to gain strength and share insights with others who have experienced this tragic loss. Facilitated by the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. For details, please contact Emily Reidford at Easterseals, 812.426.2640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. When: First and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. Where: Methodist Temple, 2109 Lincoln Ave., Evansville IN (Enter off Kelsey Street) (After meeting virtually for several months, the Survivors of Suicide Support Group resumed in-person meetings in Nov. 2021.)
Ascension St. Vincent Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group: Held in meeting room next to the Pastoral Care department. Enter at the Women's & Children's entrance at St. Vincent Medical Center. For exact meeting dates and times, contact Kaitlin Moore at 812-485-4630.
Aseracare Hospice Bereavement Group: Open support group with set topics for discussion. Meetings held in Petersburg and Newburgh. For dates and times, call Fred Denton at 812-858-1032.
Deaconess Gateway Bereavement Support Group: A comfortable, informal environment for men and women to talk about their grief journey. Open to anyone who has lost a loved one to death. Meetings are the third Thursday of each month, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Deaconess Gateway Hospital, Conference Room A. For information, call Carolyn Edwards at 812-450-7392.
Deaconess Hospice Men's Support Group: A comfortable environment for men to talk about their thoughts and feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one. Meetings are the second Monday of each month, 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the Deaconess Home Care Services Building (corner of Columbia and Garfield). For information, call Carolyn Edwards at 812-450-7392.
Deaconess Hospice Lunch Bunch: Social opportunity for bereaved individuals who need to get out, meet new people, and have a little fun. Lunch is the first Friday of each month at 1:00 p.m. at various restaurants in the Evansville area. Call Carolyn Edwards for this month’s restaurant at 812-450-7392.
Geriatric Support Group: Provided through St. John's Catholic Church. For information, contact Cheryl Thomas, RPN, at 812-490-2550.
Good Shepherd Social Support Group: Bereavement group led by Timmie Lingo for adults who are divorced or widowed. Meets at Good Shepherd Church the third Sunday of each month at 12 noon. Lunch followed by cards and games. Use the Stockwell Road entrance. Call 812-602-1839 for more information.
Grief Share: Weekly seminar/support group for people grieving the death of someone close. (1.) Meetings on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. for 13 weeks, starting in January and August. Child care available. Contact Debby Stevenson at Crossroads Community Church in Newburgh IN, 812-858-8668. (2.) Weekly meetings hosted by VistaCare and the Church of the Nazarene in New Harmony IN. Call 812-682-3288.
Heritage Hospice Bereavement Support Group: Group offering real life support and encouragement. Meetings are first Monday of every month at Newburgh Healthcare at 2:30 pm; first Wednesday of every month at West River Health Campus at 2:30 pm; and second Monday of every month at Heritage Center at 2:30 pm. For additional information, contact Tara Powell at email@example.com or 812-475-9712.
Nativity Church Grief Group: Group discussion and sharing regarding coping and grief for divorced. Meets the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at Nativity Church Chapel. Contact Linda Austin at 812-550-8605.
NAMI of Evansville Support Groups: The Evansville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness sponsors support groups and occasional classes for individuals with mental health conditions, family members, and others affected by mental illness. Contact Larry at 812-897-1694 or Diana at 812-423-4333.
Parenting Support / Youth First: Contact Youth First at 812-421-8336 or the Youth Service Bureau at 812-423-5816.
Peace Zone Peer Recovery Center: Call 812-436-4320 or visit the Peace Zone web site for support group information.
Southern Care Hospice: Monthly support group for bereaved individuals. Meets second Thursday of each month 6-:00-7:00 p.m. at 12251 U.S. Hwy. 41, Suite C. Led by chaplain and social worker. For information call 812-867-6834.
St. Anthony's Hospice: Serving Henderson, Union and Webster Counties in Kentucky. Bereavement Support Group is held on the second Thursday of each month, 5:30-7:00 p.m., at St. Anthony's office, 2410 S. Green Street, Henderson KY. Open to the public. Light meal provided. For information call 270-826-2326.
Substance Abuse Resources: For information about support groups, meetings, and resources, contact Families Anonymous at 812-423-2896 (Mary Jo) or 812-550-5777 (Carla), or Alateen at 812-499-2040 (Tena J.) or 812-479-1799 (Diana W.).
Visiting Nurse Association: Community grief luncheons meet at various times throughout the year. For information please call Theresa Wiley or Debbie Folz at 812-425-3561.