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Group Psychotherapy

Thinking about joining a therapy group can feel daunting. Many find it hard to imagine talking about their private thoughts, feelings and experiences openly with a group of strangers.

However, group psychotherapy can be very effective for many of the issues that cause people to seek help.

Psychotherapy groups can be very helpful for any of the following issues:

  • Repeated problems in close relationships

  • Difficulties relating to others generally

  • Social anxiety

  • Low self-esteem

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Past/current difficult family dynamics

  • Problems tolerating or expressing certain feelings

  • Shame

  • Questions about identity

  • Alienation and conflicts around belonging

  • Attachment issues

  • Existential or life-stage struggles

  • Difficulties with groups!

How Group Psychotherapy Helps?

Below are listed some of the specific ways psychotherapy groups help tackle difficulties.

Managing and learning to cope with anxiety

Whilst this is not an anxiety management group in name, many people enter into group psychotherapy stemming from their struggles with anxiety – both personal and at times related to social or group contexts.  Being in a psychotherapy group can help members of the group to both become more aware of their own boundaries and emotions as well as seek and receive support from other group members.  Anxiety is often felt in the context of being alone or ‘out of contact’.  Group psychotherapy is about contact and being seen.

Personal development

As well as being effective as a therapeutic treatment for all kinds of difficulties, group psychotherapy can also be used for personal growth. Psychotherapy groups offer a profound existential experience by creating an environment where members can engage with others on a deep and meaningful level.

Sharing and breaking isolation

New members are often surprised at the relief in hearing others share feelings and experiences that are very familiar to them and this gives confidence and trust to share back. They often learn quickly that many of the difficulties they thought isolated them are identified with very easily by others in the group.

Making bonds

Therapy groups allow and create strong bonds between members, which heighten feelings of belonging and attachment.

The group is experienced as more than the individuals who comprise it and so can feel a robust and stable container, which in turn is helpful in managing and coping with difficult feelings such as anxiety.

Groups as a mirror and microcosm

As group members trust the group and the therapist more, they can venture into giving and accepting more challenging feedback about the way others experience them. They see themselves mirrored in others and vice versa. The group helps members embrace and engage with difference. In this way, it is a microcosm of life that can be used to help tolerate and deal better with the frustrations in everyday lives and relationships.

Different emotional experience

Most people join a group expecting their relationships to develop in a familiar, habitual way which are generally negative and unhelpful. These expectations are usually based on negative or traumatic childhood experiences. Groups generally confound these kinds of expectations, providing a different experience and offering the chance for relationship patterns to change.

Opportunity for new roles

Analytic groups directly tackle the kinds of constricted relational roles people can take up in their lives – often at the heart of their difficulties. Usually these roles have begun earlier in the family or at school, and often operate unconsciously. Being in a therapy group provides an opportunity to challenge –with the help of other members and the therapist – habitual roles as they are taken up in outside life and in the group. The group offers the chance to try out alternative relationships and roles in a safe therapeutic environment.

Social Context

A key idea in group analysis is that we are born out of our social contexts and these are at the very core of us and how we operate. This means that there is an emphasis on understanding our past and present, social and cultural contexts. In this way, members are encouraged to not just see their lives in isolation but in context and connected to others. Struggles are therefore not just seen as solely belonging to the individual but in the group as a whole.

Helping others

In psychotherapy groups, time and attention is shared and this means members develop ways of both attending to others needs as well as allowing others to attend to theirs. Tackling other people’s problems can provide helpful insight into one’s own situation. Helping others in the process of group psychotherapy develops interpersonal skills, provides a genuine sense of self-worth and social value and increases confidence and self-esteem.

Preparatory individual session

You would need to have an individual assessment session to determine whether group therapy is suitable for you at this point and to prepare you for joining the group. Some people require a course of individual therapy before joining a group. 

This session is free. 

Group Therapy fee from £25 to £45 per group sessions (depending on your earning), to be paid for weekly with the first group payment taken after the free 1 to 1 assessment consultation as a non-refundable deposit for the group. The participants are required to commit to at least 6 groups. 

The groups run during term time only.

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