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What Are the Stages of Group Therapy?

a group of people sits on a bench and goes through the stages of group therapy

Group therapy is an essential form of psychotherapy used to help people with various mental health issues for many years. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other therapies, such as individual counseling. The stages of group therapy can help individuals improve their interpersonal communication skills, foster healthy connections with others, and develop coping strategies for managing emotions and stress. Group therapy also provides a safe space free from judgment or criticism where participants can express their innermost thoughts openly and honestly.

At Northpoint Omaha, this kind of open discussion helps members feel heard and supported by their peers while working through difficult emotions or situations in life. By providing a sense of connection to a broader community, group therapy allows members to gain perspective on issues that might have been causing difficulty in daily living. For more information on our group therapy programs, contact our team today at 888.687.8014.

What Are the Stages of Group Therapy?

There are typically five stages of group therapy, each offering different benefits and challenges depending on the type of group being facilitated and its purpose. The group therapy stages of development include:


Group therapy stages of development begin with the forming stage. During this stage, individuals come together to form a group and learn about each other. In this stage, members need to establish trust, develop relationships, and build understanding between one another to increase their potential for being successful in the group setting.

The forming stage typically consists of introductions and socialization among group members. Providers may use icebreakers and other activities to help members become comfortable with each other. At this time, counselors will start to set expectations for the group regarding topics that can be discussed, appropriate behaviors for the space, and confidentiality rules among participants.


The storming stage of group therapy involves the process of participants beginning to challenge each other and express differences in opinion or approach. This process can be uncomfortable for some, as it involves pushing beyond comfort zones to establish relationships and set boundaries. During the storming stage, there may be disagreements between members which could lead to feelings of tension or hostility. The group leader must step in at this time to ensure that any conflicts are handled respectfully and constructively.

By the end of the storming stage, it is essential that all members feel heard, respected, and safe in their group environment.


The norming stage occurs when group members become comfortable with each other and begin to trust one another enough to share authentic emotions and experiences. During this period, group members discuss topics related to their shared issues, learn about each other’s perspectives and create a sense of safety within the group setting. This stage of development also includes establishing boundaries and expectations among group members, so they may feel free to engage in meaningful conversation without fear or judgment.


The performing stage of group therapy is typically reached 4-6 months after the beginning stages. During this phase, members become comfortable in their roles within the group and are better able to communicate openly with each other. At this point, members are also more likely to feel comfortable enough to give honest feedback and respond sincerely to constructive criticism from fellow members.

During the performing stage, members take ownership of their roles in the group process and can better identify how their own behavior affects others in the group. This creates an environment in which members can role-play scenarios related to their individual issues or practice healthy communication techniques with each other.


At the beginning of the adjourning stage, members will contemplate what they have learned and experienced while in the group and their expectations for moving forward with life after leaving the group. Group members might also reflect upon what skills they have acquired or used to assist them in meeting their goals. In this stage, the therapist needs to allow each member to express their feelings about leaving the group, including potential sadness or resentment at having to say goodbye.

The therapist will typically facilitate a discussion on how best to stay connected beyond their time in group therapy as well. This can include strategies such as creating an alum network or developing ways for former members to support each other’s successes.

Using Group Therapy To Its Full Potential at Northpoint Recovery Omaha

At Northpoint Omaha, we understand how important it is for individuals to find supportive communities during times of need. Our team works hard to create safe healing spaces through our unique group therapy approach.

Our experienced facilitators strive to ensure each individual gets the most out of every session by guiding discussions appropriately while allowing enough room for meaningful connections between members. For more information on the types of group therapy and stages we incorporate, reach out to our team today at 888.687.8014.