What is a Group Psychotherapy?

The concept of a therapeutic group is that they are designed for a broader purpose than just curing emotional ills. Through a group experience – a therapeutic and not a toxic one – the participants can learn about themselves and about their relationships with others. Essentially, the group can be a microcosm of society. It can offer a behaviour sample of reality, for the struggles and conflicts people experience there, are no different from those they experience in the world. In this sample of how they relate to others, people can also get feedback on how others experience and react to them. From the feedback, members obtain a picture of how they are viewed by others. They can then decide for themselves, on the basis of experimentation with alternative behaviors, what kinds of changes they wish to make. Members compare their self-perceptions with how they are perceived by others, they open themselves to risks, including the risk of behaving differently, they confront others and are confronted by others, and they give and receive support for the expression of their deepest feelings and thoughts.

Using these methods, members are able to bring more clearly into focus the kind of person they would like to become and to see what is preventing them from becoming that person.

To put it another way:

It is an established form of group therapy based on the view that deep and lasting change can occur within a carefully constituted group whose combined membership reflects the wider society.

The groups consist of up to eight people, meeting weekly, (or twice weekly), with a therapist, and provide a thinking and feeling space without the pressure of being goal-directed. Personal issues are explored in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. Through the relationships which develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past patterns of behaviour can reproduce themselves in the present, blocking growth and creativity. Analysis of this process opens the way for change. The therapeutic group also provides a nurturing environment within which it becomes possible to recover from traumatic life experiences.

Other therapeutic effects arise from the opportunity to see oneself through the eyes of others, and to participate in the therapy of other group members. Everyone uses the group differently, at his or her own pace.

Group therapy is applied to a variety of problems and life situations. Anxiety, depression, interpersonal difficulties and low self-esteem are typical problems for which a group might be recommended.

Referral Guidelines for other Clinicians:

As part of my practice I have been running slow-open long term therapy groups for the past fifteen years. The groups are guided by a group-analytic framework which is based on the view that a deep and lasting change can occur within a carefully constituted group whose combined membership reflects the wider society.

The group consists of up to eight people, meeting weekly, (or twice weekly) with a conductor, and provides a thinking and feeling space without the pressure of being goal directed. Personal issues are explored in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. Through the relationships which develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past patterns of behavior can reproduce themselves in the present, blocking growth and creativity. Analysis of this process opens the way for change.

The therapeutic group also provides a nurturing environment within which it becomes possible to recover from traumatic life experiences. Other therapeutic effects arise from the opportunity to see oneself through the eyes of others, and to participate in the therapy of other group members. Everyone uses the group differently, at his or her own pace.

Who is suitable?

The type of clients that will be excluded from the psychotherapy group are people with: a developmental disability, severe head injury, acutely psychotic or suicidal

Individuals that usually benefit from this type of therapy may be in the following situations:

·         isolated

·         in a suffocating relationship with one other person

·         violent

·         incest perpetrators

·         personality disordered

·         have problems relating to other people

·         need to be motivated to change

( they will also need to be certain that they will be in the area for the next 6-12 months)

commitment to attend regularly will be required of the client and no time limit will apply to their membership within the group. Minimum charges are $55 for the unemployed or $65 for employed people.  (A Medicare rebate of $30.45 may apply)

·         an after hours group and one during the day is planned

·         handouts for clients written by former clients are available for people interested in attending the group

·         Venue: 9 Cedar Place, Kirrawee NSW 2232

·         Referrals or Enquiries to: Intake, Gymea Lily Psychotherapy Centre P: 9545 4772

·         – a prior interview   will be required