We live our lives in groups: we are born into a family, we are educated in schools, we work in organisations. Throughout these experiences we encounter other people and form different kinds of relationships with them. Thus, much of our experience is in the context of being in relationship with other people.
People seek therapy when their experience of life is not as they wish it to be. Individual psychotherapy offers a private space where you can work through difficulties at your own pace and in your own way. Group therapy offers a confidential space that is shared with other people who are also facing similar difficulties: each person can work through their own difficulties whilst observing how the other group members are working through theirs.
At times in a therapy group a member will recognise aspects of themselves in another group member. On other occasions they will find that they have very different ways of responding to situations and experiences. Either way, being in a shared setting with other group members can help them to understand themselves better and to gain fresh insight into their difficulties and their ways of responding. So a therapy group can offer both recognition and contrast, both support and challenge.
Different types of group therapy
There are many different ways of providing therapeutic support in a group setting, each of which has its own features and characteristics. Some groups are focused on a theme, such as an addiction, and follow a structured approach but with little interaction between group members. Some groups are focused on a particular way of working, such as a CBT group, again often only with minimal interaction between group members. Some make use of interactions between group members to provide a non-verbal way of working, such as Family Constellations or Psycho-Drama groups.
My preferred way of working, and what I offer, is a group-analytic therapy group. In a group-analytic group it is the members of the group who learn from each other, challenge each other, and support each other. My role as the group’s conductor is to contribute sparingly whilst ensuring that all group members are engaged in the process. When difficulties arise between members of the group, we explore what this means for each of them – and this often results in valuable learning about oneself in relation to others. In this kind of group, people with diverse life problems can work together effectively: the group thrives on exploring and understanding the similarities and contrasts between its members.
For more information about this group and how it works, please see this page about my therapy group in central London. Please note that during the present restrictions due to coronavirus, this group is meeting online.
Joining a group
If you are interested in joining a therapy group, please get in touch. We can start with an informal chat if you wish to find out more about what to expect or how it works. Before joining the group we would meet for two initial individual sessions so that I can hear more from you about what you are hoping for and you can raise any questions or concerns that you may have.