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Group Analytic Psychotherapy

Group Analysis, or group analytic psychotherapy, is based on the view that deep lasting change can occur within a carefully formed group whose combined membership reflects the wider norms of society. It is rooted in psychoanalysis and the social sciences.

In a typical group analytic group, a process evolves from which everyone gains at the same time. A stimulating interaction between group members becomes the focus of treatment and therapeutic work so that understanding group interactions, conversations and events becomes a powerful way of learning about the self. Any fears that it will be too difficult to talk about your problems in the group soon disappear in the animated and helping atmosphere of the group. Sharing feelings and experiences in an intense, lively and supportive group creates an atmosphere in which mutual confidence and support can develop. Past patterns of attitudes, feelings and behaviour then appear in the group and analysis and thought about these patterns opens the path of growth and development. Group members see themselves through the eyes of others. They gain new insights about themselves and learn about themselves and others through the work others do in the group to gain insight about their behaviour and relationships. Deep and lasting change can thus occur and the effects of traumatic life experiences can be resolved. Personal issues are explored in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. Through the relationships that develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past patterns of behaviour can reproduce themselves in the present and block growth and creativity.

A typical group consists of up to eight people, meeting for 90 minutes per session, once or twice weekly with a conductor. Most groups are of mixed gender although some single sex groups are available. The therapeutic group also provides a nurturing environment within which it becomes possible to recover from traumatic life experiences such as loss. Other therapeutic experiences arise from the opportunity to see oneself through the eyes of others and to participate in the therapy of other group members. Everyone uses the group differently, and at his or her own pace. It is not uncommon for people to feel some reluctance to join a group. Experience has shown, however, that group members do make dramatic changes in their life and relationships in a group, partly through the therapeutic effects that result from seeing themselves in the eyes of others, and partly through the opportunity to participate in the therapy of other group members. Group analysis is applied to a variety of problems and life situations. Anxiety, depression, interpersonal difficulties and low self-esteem are typical problems for which a group might be recommended. It may also be helpful to those who suffer from the effects of loss, or from psychosomatic conditions.

NEST members who offer this approach: