The Benefits of Group Psychotherapy

Group Psychotherapy and its Benefits

There are many things that individual psychotherapy cannot fulfill.  The individual psychotherapist can only be a single point of reference when it comes to providing interpretation and feedback. We know from the research that the group context is highly effective in the treatment of alcohol and other drug issues, as well as other left-field areas like sex addiction or sex offending - where individual psychotherapy falls flat or is limited in its ability to provide for more targeted interpersonal-related intervention.

Ultimately, we might have to ask ourselves what sort of group format might be most effective for particular issues or subgroups of patients/clients.  You might opt for psycho-educational (more structured) groups, or more process-laden (unstructured) groups - nevertheless, you will need to have at least an appreciation of these aspects for you to run group psychotherapy competently and be constantly aware of your role in the group therapy habitat.  

One big strength of group psychotherapy is the use of the power of group process, and interpersonal feedback.  Many of us may not necessarily be trained formally to run psychotherapy groups but we may appreciate the difference between session content vs. process.  With an appreciation of the psychotherapy process, we might then imagine how much more compelling it might be to work within a group context where there may exist a plethora of simultaneous processes working and interacting with each other.  

How groups work and how they don't are always key questions that budding group psychotherapists may query but may not always get good clinical supervision to answer that question.  Add in deeper mental process issues like transference and counter-transference, and you'll be swimming deep in the cesspool of dysfunctional filth, respectfully speaking.

Leading the Charge - Check these guys out in NYC.

Without going into the do's and don'ts of group psychotherapy, it is my pleasure to share a recent announcement by the American Group Psychotherapy Association on the introduction of their YouTube Channel, where they educate clinicians and the public on the benefits of group psychotherapy.  They provide a wealth of information for clinicians, the public-at-large, as well as media seeking expert information on the use of groups.  This association sponsored channel contains videos from experts in group psychotherapy and organisational leaders speaking about the benefits of group psychotherapy and group interventions, in general and for certain populations, as well as the wide variety of current activities of the organisation.

Please find them at

You might be interested in these books on group psychotherapy:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, Fifth Edition

By Irvin D. Yalom, and Molyn Leszcz

In this completely revised and updated fifth edition of group psychotherapy's standard text, Dr. Yalom and his collabourator present the most recent developments in the field, drawing on nearly a decade of new research as well as their broad clinical wisdom and expertise. Among the significant new topics: Online therapy Specialized groups Ethnocultural diversity Trauma Managed care Plus hundreds of new references and clinical vignettes

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Psychodynamic Group Psychotherapy

By J.Scott Rutan , Walter N. Stone , and Joseph J. Shay

Regarded as the definitive practitioner reference and text, this accessible work addresses how to set up therapy groups and make them work. A wealth of clinical material illustrates the components of effective group therapy and the mechanisms and processes of change. Practical topics discussed include patient selection and preparation, leadership issues, communication of affect in groups, dealing with "difficult" patients, time-limited groups, and facilitating successful terminations. A chapter-length case example with commentary from each author brings an entire group session to life and explores ways to handle common dilemmas. New to This Edition * Incorporates current theory (psychodynamic and interpersonal), and supporting clinical and neurobiological research. * Every chapter revised and updated. * Chapter-length case example is entirely new. * Chapter on Frequently Asked Questions includes many new issues.