Some people confuse the two; they are not the same. However, they complement each other. Support groups are not therapy groups for several reasons. First, support groups are self-help groups and members are encouraged to have contact with each other outside the group.  Ironically, groups like Alcoholics Anonymous aren’t really anonymous; there is no confidentiality. In fact, many support groups encourage new members to have a sponsor, someone from the group to call when times get rough. In the therapy groups that I run, members do not have contact outside the group. They are known to each other on a first name basis only. This not only ensures confidentiality, it also fosters an intensity of emotion between members.    Therapy groups can offer support but that’s not the main function. Therapy groups provide members with feedback as to how they come across in relationships. In support groups members share the stories of their lives. There is no interaction. In therapy groups, members re-create the relationships in their lives with each other in the group.  My groups operate on the principle of progressive emotional communication. That is, the interactions between members are progressive in that they add new dimensions to members’ relationships with each other. They are emotional in the sense that interactions are infused with feeling; and there is communication because interactions are interpersonal.

About the Author
Dr. Pepper has been running groups for over twenty-five years and specializes in group therapy. He has a special gift in helping member's resolve conflicts with.

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