A therapy group in central London

This therapy group meets weekly on Monday evenings in Pimlico, central London.

The group has resumed meeting in person, with appropriate safety measures in place, after an extended period of working online due to Covid-19. If circumstances were to change again so that it is no longer safe to meet in person, we would revert to meeting online.

This group is open to new members who wish to join. However, this is not a drop-in group so if you are interested in joining the group or you have any questions that are not answered in the description below, please start by getting in touch to arrange an informal chat or to make an appointment.

Who is the group for?

The group is open to adults who are seeking emotional support and psychological insight as they find different ways of engaging with the difficulties they face in life. Members use the group to work through difficulties such as:

  • relationship problems
  • problems at work
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bereavement and other losses
  • feelings of anger
  • lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem
  • … and more

The group is open to people who are willing to support and to challenge each other in a setting that allows trust between members to build over time.

What kind of group is this?

This is a group-analytic psychotherapy group. Foulkes, the pioneer of group analysis in the UK, describes the purpose of this kind of group:

“Its aim and its result should be the greater inner freedom of the individual and the development of his personality.”

Foulkes, “Group dynamic processes and group analysis”, 1968

A defining feature of the group-analytic way of working is that the group members take responsibility for their participation. During the group’s meetings, they have an opportunity to talk and interact with each other in a way that helps them to gain insights and make changes. They support and challenge each other, with the conductor (group therapist) there to help the group to work effectively. As a consequence:

“the group experience becomes emotionally alive for all the members simultaneously, no matter who is actually speaking, and to whom”

Ormont, “The Group Therapy Experience”, 1992

A therapy group, not a support group

While this therapy group does provide a source of support for its members, it is different to a support group.

A therapy group is hosted by a trained group therapist. The number of group members is restricted and all members attend regularly. This is a long-term group. In a therapy group there is the opportunity to work at depth, including with unconscious motivations, along with exploring everyday experiences. Members of a therapy group only meet each other in the group sessions, which helps to maintain a safe and confidential space.

Support groups are often hosted by someone who has experience of the core theme of the group but who may not have any formal training in working with groups. Support groups may have a large number of members and variable attendance at each meeting. Support groups are usually short-term groups. In a support group the focus is on everyday experiences. Members of a support group may have social contact with each other outside the group’s meetings.

What happens in the group?

The group has up to eight members and they meet once a week on the same day and at the same time every week. Each meeting lasts for 90 minutes. Everything that is said in the group remains confidential.

During each meeting there is a ‘free-floating’ discussion: there is no fixed topic or agenda for the meeting. Instead group members are free to raise whatever they choose. As one member speaks, what they say evokes in other members thoughts or feelings or memories that they wish to share. All of the group members respond to each other spontaneously and the discussion takes its own course.

The ‘conductor’ (group therapist) does not lead the discussion, but instead helps the group to find its own way. Rather than setting the group’s direction, the conductor helps the group members to identify underlying themes and connections in what they are saying, and helps them to understand their experience and reactions more fully.

When does the group meet?

The group meets from 6.30pm to 8.00pm on Monday evenings.

Where does the group meet?

The group’s regular meetings are in Pimlico at 45 Moreton Street, London SW1V 2NY. This is close to Pimlico underground station. Victoria station and Vauxhall station are both within easy walking distance.

From September 2021 the group has resumed meeting in person, with appropriate safety measures in place. This follows an extended period of meeting online in response to the risks associated with Covid-19. The group will continue to meet in person provided that it is safe to do so.

Who runs the group?

Alex Dixon is the group’s conductor. He is a UKCP-registered Group Analyst, having trained at the Institute of Group Analysis. He is also a UKCP-registered Integrative Psychotherapist, having trained in individual psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute. He has experience of running psychotherapy groups in the NHS, experiential learning groups in psychotherapy training schools, and counselling and support groups in the charitable and voluntary sectors.

How do I join?

The first step is to get in touch by phone or by email to raise any questions that you may have or to book an appointment. We will then meet individually for an in-depth assessment to explore whether this group is a good match for your needs.

Can I join the group if I’m currently in individual counselling or therapy?

This group is provided as the exclusive source of therapeutic support for its members while they are in the group. If you are in individual therapy, you would need to bring this to a close before joining this group. If you have any questions about how this relates to your own situation, feel free to get in touch.

Some people join this group without any previous experience of therapy and others have already been in individual therapy. Those who have been in therapy before find that being in a group offers a different and complementary experience to individual therapy.

How long do people stay in the group?

On joining, new members are asked to stay in the group for at least one year. This allows time for them to settle in, to build trust with the established members, and for all members to get to know each other in depth. It can take some months to settle into this kind of group and discover the best way of making use of it. This early experience is part of the learning and self-discovery that the group offers.

There is no upper time limit for how long members can stay in the group. Typically, group members find that the experience becomes richer as they stay in the group over a longer period of time. After the first year, members decide for themselves when they feel ready to leave the group. However, they are asked to give three months’ notice of their chosen ending date.

What are the costs?

There is a monthly fee of £125, which includes all of the sessions in that month.

Getting in touch

If you would like to find out more about group therapy and how it might be of help to you, please get in touch.