Phobias Treatment How Psychoeducational Group Therapy Can Help Phobias By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 09, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by David Susman, PhD Medically reviewed by David Susman, PhD David Susman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience providing treatment to individuals with mental illness and substance use concerns. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Tom Merton / Getty Images Did your therapist recently suggest group therapy as part of your treatment plan for a phobia? That wouldn't be unusual. A psychoeducational group is a common component in treatment plans for phobia, which includes agoraphobia, social phobia (social anxiety disorder), and a specific phobia, an exaggerated or irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Common Characteristics of Psychoeducational Group Therapy A psychoeducational group is a specific type of group therapy that focuses on educating clients about their disorders and ways of coping. A psychoeducational group is often based on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Your psychoeducational group is likely to consist of members who all share the same diagnosis. In this case, education tends to focus on coping with that specific disorder. In other groups, members may have very different diagnoses, and the educational focus is on practical life skills such as managing stress or improving relationships. The leader of the psychoeducational group you attend could be a mental health expert, a peer counselor who shares a similar diagnosis, or a member of the community. There are specific formats for certain types of psychoeducational groups, but some may be less structured than others. Group Treatment for Adolescents with Social Anxiety Disorder A psychoeducational group is the first part of a successful school-based treatment plan for adolescents with social anxiety disorder (formerly known as social phobia) called Skills for Social and Academic Success (SASS). The students gather in small groups for 12 weekly sessions of 40 minutes each. The group leaders guide each session and supportive peers without social anxiety disorder are in attendance, too. During the first session, the group leaders use psychoeducation in a group setting to: Normalize the experience of anxietyPresent the behavioral symptoms and let students share their own symptomsGive students space to discuss their negative thoughts and how avoidance affects their livesIdentify students' goals for the SASS program The next four topics presented in the subsequent sessions of SASS are: Realistic thinkingSocial skills trainingExposureRelapse prevention The Best Online Therapy Programs We've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. Group Interventions for Specific Phobias A psychoeducational group intervention is an effective approach for reducing the symptoms of the social anxiety known as erythrophobia, a fear of blushing, and the specific phobia arachnophobia, a fear of spiders. When it comes to a fear of blushing, a study published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy found that when 47 erythrophobia participants attended one weekly psychoeducational group session for six weeks, they showed significant improvement from baseline on a Blushing, Trembling, and Sweating Questionnaire. In regards to the specific phobia of spiders, a pilot study published in a German medical journal on child psychology evaluated 36 children between the ages of 8 and 10. Researchers wanted to try and reduce the likelihood of developing this common fear using a psychoeducative group program. After completing the program, both boys and girls showed a reduction in their fear. 10 of the Most Common Phobias A Word From Verywell If you think you may benefit from this type of therapy, consider consulting with your doctor or a mental health professional. For instance, it's possible that a psychoeducational group on managing social phobia can teach you ways to reduce your anxiety in social situations. 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Schaub A, Hippius H, Möller HJ, Falkai P. Psychoeducational and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Programs: Implementation and Evaluation From 1995 to 2015 in Kraepelin's Former Hospital. Schizophr Bull. 2016;42 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S81–S89. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbw057 Ryan JL, Warner CM. Treating adolescents with social anxiety disorder in schools. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2012;21(1):105–ix. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2011.08.011 Dijk C, Buwalda FM, De jong PJ. Dealing with fear of blushing: a psychoeducational group intervention for fear of blushing. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2012;19(6):481-487. doi:10.1002/cpp.764 Leutgeb V, Schaider M, Schienle A. Psychoeducation leads to a reduction in fear of spiders in 8- to 9-year-old children - a pilot study. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2012 Sep;40(5):325-30. doi:10.1024/1422-4917/a000189 By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.