Group Psychotherapy

While in individual therapy the client meets with only one person (the therapist), in group therapy the meeting is with a whole group and one or two therapists. Group therapy uses psychological methods to treat mental or emotional problems. This is done by using the group context and group process as a mechanism of change by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group. The versatility of group psychotherapy makes it suitable for a large variety of situations or difficulties, such as:

  • Improvement of interpersonal skills
  • Working on the perception of self
  • Relationship problems
  • Dealing with emotional problems such as anxiety and depression

  • Groups can also have a relatively well defined goal such as support for people in the same situation or crisis e.g. groups for bereavement or groups for abused individuals. 

    The group process helps the participant to identify problematic patterns of relating by receiving feedback from other participants and to work in changing these patterns in the here and now thanks to the safe and contained atmosphere created by the group. In order to ensure that the group fits the needs of the individual and that a balance is created within the group, each interested participant is interviewed by the therapist before the commencement of therapy. During this time the participants have the opportunity to clarify their needs and expactations related to group therapy.

    The aim of group psychotherapy is always that of increasing awareness, to help with solving the emotional difficulties and to encourage the personal development of the participants in the group. In this context a group may be defined as a learning community since  frequently the people one meets in a group may come to represent others in their past or current life with whom they might have difficulties. In group therapy one might have the opportunity to work through these situations. The therapist/s facilitating the therapy create an atompshere in which all individuals present  can become creative together.  An ideal group is a place for testing one’s growth boundaries, a safe space where one can practice new behaviours and experiment with different coping strategies. It creates a sense of community in which members can develop  their human potential, hopefully leading to lasting changes in their everyday lives.