Understanding Psychoeducation and Group Therapy

What is Group Therapy?

Navigating the world of counselling therapy, psychotherapy and group support can be challenging. If you’d like to join a group but don’t know where to begin or what to expect, we hope this post will help you decide what of service you’re looking for.  

What is a Psychoeducational Counselling Group?

The purpose of a psychoeducational counselling group is to promote self-awareness and empowerment, while reducing stigma about a common or shared experience. Members of a psychoeducational group often share a similar life experience or diagnosis.  For example, Wholetherapy runs psychoeducational counselling groups to empower clients who have experienced psychological trauma. We also run psychoeducational counselling groups to help clients with a variety of perinatal mood disorder diagnoses and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.  

What happens in a psychoeducational group? Do I have to share my own personal experiences?

Psychoeducational counselling groups are often focused on providing education and teaching healthy coping mechanisms through information-sharing.  Psychoeducational groups are led by a qualified Registered Counselling Therapist or Social Worker. Often, the format for a psychoeducational group involves both a presentation by the group facilitator (RCT or RSW) as well as some activities. The purpose of the activities is to increase self-awareness or increase coping skills.  

In a psychoeducational group, there is often some space for discussion amongst group members, but it is usually not the focal point of the group experience. It is perfectly acceptable to attend a psychoeducational counselling group to learn about a given issue but not share in depth about your own personal experiences of that issue with the group.   Psychoeducational counselling groups are different from what is often called “process” groups or group therapy.

What is a “Therapy Group” or a “Process Group”? Is this this different from a Psychoeducational counselling group?

A Therapy Group or a “process group” is commonly utilized to help clients develop support networks, improve communication skills, and practice putting themselves in the shoes of others. “Therapy Groups” also known as “Process Groups” are typically a space for clients to explore and share their personal experiences in depth.  It is crucial that a therapy group be led by a qualified mental health practitioner.  

At Wholetherapy, these groups would be facilitated by either Registered Counselling Therapists or Registered Social Workers. The purpose of the therapy (or process) counselling group is to provide space for clients to engage with themselves and each other to elicit change. Typically, process groups run regularly and for longer periods of time relative to psychoeducational groups. Trust is a key element in a therapy group and is developed over several sessions.  

The focus of group therapy is to share your own personal experiences and receive feedback from fellow group members about your experiences. Although many people do not feel comfortable sharing deeply in the first several sessions, the purpose of the group is to do just that. So, if you are more interested in learning information or skill building, a psychoeducational group might be a better fit for you.  

What is the difference between a support group and group therapy? (psychoeducational or process based)

While both support groups and group therapy offer support, the goal of group therapy is to help members change, while the goal of support groups is to help members cope. Support groups tend to have a particular theme, such as parents with sick children, and all who attend have some connection to that theme.

Many support groups are led by community members as opposed to a mental health professional such as a counselling therapist or a registered social worker.  

What types of group therapy services does Wholetherapy provide?

Wholetherapy provides counselling and psychotherapy services. All groups are led by either a Registered Counselling Therapist (Cand.), (RCT or RCT-C) or a Registered Social Worker (RSW). Our group offerings are either (process) group therapy or psychoeducational in nature. We do not host support groups currently.  


Does insurance cover my participation in group?

Coverage for group psychotherapy services varies, dependent on several variables. Depending on your insurer, your plan, and the type of group counselling or psychotherapy service you are engaged in, you may have coverage. Please confirm with us if the group offering is psychoeducational in nature or therapeutic in nature. We cannot guarantee any coverage by third party insurers. We encourage all our counselling clients to contact their insurance provider directly for the most accurate information about coverage and direct billing.  Please note that support groups are typically not covered by any third-party insurer.

If you want to start (or continue) your journey to mental health, or work towards Group Therapy, book an appointment with Us. To book an appointment visit our website www.wholetherapy.ca, call our reception team at 902 461 1721, or email info@wholetherapy.ca.

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