Re: Group psychoterapy or individual sessions
As far as the group therapy, I would honestly give it a try. I don't see how it could hurt, and it might actually help. The cost of individual therapy is part of why I am not in it at the moment, so I believe any low cost option may be great, even if it is experimental. On top of that, I think you'll probably feel more like you are getting progress in a group therapy setting. It may not be as specific to you, and you may have different problems, but you would have other people to talk to, to share experiences. And even with different diagnoses, all of us with mental illness still have some common struggles.
I've never done group therapy for my bipolor disorder, but I did it years ago in college after I was drugged and assaulted by a male friend at the time. For that, it was one of the best experiences I had in my healing, much better than when I was in individual counseling, because of the fact I got to talk with others going through similar experiences, hear their stories, and we were able to be a support for each other. There may be something you are struggling with that another person has found effective strategies to help them, and you may have a good strategy to help another person. It's always easier to help others than to help ourselves, and it would be good for you to be on the receiving end of that. Even if you are the only one with bipolar, I would bet the others would likely have depression or anxiety issues, and you could still have some things in common.
As far as individual therapy goes: I was a psychology major in undergrad and grad school, and have been in therapy on and off for about 15 years. Based on that, I personally think psychoanalysis is a bunch of crap. Really, it is. Current mental health models just do not show the effectiveness to justify you having to go in to sessions several times a week, to talk about junk that's not going to be as effective in your everyday life. I may be a bit biased, but I've read enough about this for educational and personal reasons to form my personal opinion on it. I am a bigger fan of cognitive-behavioral therapy, for most mental health issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is going to focus on two things: helping you to manage and change negative thoughts and helping to manage and change negative behaviors. It is often very specific, very focused on your needs, your thoughts and behaviors that impact your day-to-day life, and how to cope with these and make active changes to help yourself. Because it is more action based, I just feel like it is much more productive in giving you effective treatment, and the research supports that - at least it did up to several years ago, I haven't really looked into it much since then, and I honestly don't know if somehow you would treat bipolar differently that other mental illnesses. If my pdoc was recommending I get therapy twice a week, I would only want cognitive-behavioral therapy, because I know I would be getting more bang for my buck. Those are only my opinions, hopefully you feel as though you can make the best decision for what's right for you.