Support Groups and Group Therapy

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Q & A: Support Groups and Group Therapy

Q: What is the difference between a support group and group therapy?

A: A support group is an opportunity for people with similar problems to come together to share their experiences, support and encourage one another, and share information. A support group for eating disorders is usually led by a lay facilitator, often someone who has recovered from anorexia or bulimia. This type of group may or may not have access to a professional psychotherapist to act as an advisor.

A therapy group shares much in common with a support group, but is led by a professional whose training and accreditation qualify her/him to do psychotherapy. A therapy group, then, is a form of treatment where the intention is to identify and resolve the problems that underlie the eating disorder.

The ultimate goals of both types of groups are the same: to help participants achieve healthier behaviors, attitudes, and coping strategies.

Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Winter 2009 Volume 7, Number 1
©2009 Gürze Books

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