What is Group Psychotherapy?

In group psychotherapy, one or more therapists work with a small group of people, who have similar problems or experiences, at the same time. Through relating to others in a group, people can understand themselves better and transfer what they learn in the group to the outside world.

Group psychotherapy allows people to share experiences (and reduce feelings of isolation), support and learn from each other and to try out interpersonal behaviours in a safe environment.  As members will be at different stages in the resolution of their issues, it can also instil hope in others who are at an earlier stage.

S.H. Foulkes and Wilfred Bion pioneered the method in the UK in the 1940s.

It can help if …

Group psychotherapy can work for people who are experiencing relationship difficulties, who have been sexually abused or are having problems in coming to terms with a bereavement. It can also be used to help those with problems like depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), some personality disorders and schizophrenia.

What happens?

Usually you have a 90-minute session once a week, and have to commit to attend sessions for a specific period of time. There will be around 8 people in each group, with similar issues as you, and you will be working with one or more therapists. During the sessions, you are encouraged (but not forced) into sharing your experiences with the group, who can then give feedback, for example, how someone else coped in the same situation.

For more information, see The Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy.