What is Group Chat Therapy?
Group Chat Therapy (GCT) is a new therapeutic modality where three or more people with a shared sense of humor come together to exchange texts for the purpose of alleviating existential dread, reinforcing neuroses, and validating each other’s questionable life choices.
Introduced in 2008, GCT has proved to be an effective treatment option for people who suffer from a variety of self-diagnosed mental health issues and personality disorders but who don’t want to pay a psychologist or get out of bed to address them.
Why should I choose GCT?
Flexible: Unlike traditional modes of therapy, you can connect with the group at any time of day or night to find support or guidance for your issues and to work on relational dynamics in real time. In practical terms, this means one friend will always be available to confirm that you look “super cute in that top,” after you send the group a poorly lit picture of yourself in an H&M change room.
Safe Space: GCT allows you to share the most intimate details of your life without fear of judgement. Unless your autocorrect changes “clock” to “cock” in which case everyone in the chat will ruthlessly mock you about it for the rest of your life and change the name of the Whatsapp group to “Cock Chat.”
Effective: The shared wisdom of the group will means that someone will always be qualified to give guidance on a range of issues. This includes assistance with bad breakups, advice on professional issues, or simply remembering obscure facts from your shared history, like the name of that weird kid in your elementary school who peed his pants during a fire safety assembly (it was Timmy Belkins).
How Do I Get Started with GCT?
Group Chat Therapy can be planned with a clear purpose and an end goal, such as organizing a surprise party, but this is rare. Chats tend to start more organically, like when your pal Tina sends all of your closest friends an embarrassing photo of you from when you were 14 and had that regrettable Nick Carter haircut with the caption “LOL… it looks like if Princess Leia had cystic acne.” Once a second individual begins roasting you, the session can be considered to have formally begun.
How Long Does a Group Chat Typically Last?
This really depends on the group, but it is not uncommon for a chat to devolve in into an endless series of inside jokes and bad puns without ever reaching any sort of conclusion. Although clinical studies have recently shown that a Group Chat Therapy session will typically last as long as it takes to try to make brunch plans that ultimately get cancelled because none of you can agree on what restaurant to go to.
Are There Any Downsides to Group Chat Therapy?
While it can be beneficial to explore relational dynamics in GCT, some psychologists warn that repeatedly sharing the same Rihanna reaction gifs over-and-over while forgoing any meaningful discussions about life can actually reinforce anti-social behaviours. If this is a concern to you then you can stick to more recognized forms of treatment, like cognitive behavioural therapy with a trained psychologist or FaceTiming with your mom.
How do I know if Group Chat Therapy is right for me?
You don’t really have a say in the matter. Your friend Tina just sent everyone your high school graduation photo and now everyone is cruelly roasting you for having frosted tips and a puca shell necklace. You’re in this dynamic group therapeutic modality whether you like it or not.