Joining a Therapy Group

Kirsten Heynisch
Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Group Analyst

Group psychotherapy – What is it?
It is an established form of psychotherapeutic treatment based on the view that deep lasting change can occur within a carefully formed group whose combined membership reflects the wider norms of society.

Group analytic work is a powerful therapeutic medium that aims to develop and strengthen the relationship between the individual and the community network. This aspect of life is relevant to all of us since groups form the everyday context in which we lead our lives (families, work and social groups). Group therapy offers a space in which we can develop a deeper understanding of the personal, interpersonal and social factors that we bring to our relationships and how they may be connected to our emotional and psychological difficulties.

In a psychotherapy group, stimulating interactions between group members become the focus of the therapeutic work. Reflecting on group interactions becomes a powerful way of learning about oneself and others. It is not uncommon for people to initially feel some reluctance to join a group.

However, fears that it will be too difficult to talk about your problems in the group usually disappear quickly in the 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. Through the relationships that develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past, unhelpful patterns of behaviour can reproduce themselves in the present and block growth and creativity. Analysis of this process opens the way for change.

Experience has shown that group members do make dramatic changes in their life and relationships, partly through the therapeutic effects that result from seeing themselves in the eyes of others, and partly through the opportunity to witness and participate in the therapy of other group members.

Who is it for?
Group analytic therapy is applied to a variety of problems and life situations. Anxiety, depression, the effects of stress and trauma, interpersonal/ relationship 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, separation, divorce or from the psychological impact of health-related issues (diagnosis of cancer or other conditions).

Group analytic psychotherapy does not only address traumatic life experiences but is also concerned with uncovering the undeveloped aspirations and creativity of group members.

My professional background
I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and I have worked in the NHS, in voluntary sector organisations and in private practice for over fifteen years. Currently, I am working with a specialist psychotherapy service providing therapy for individuals, couples, groups and families. I also offer supervision and consultation to other professionals.

One of my specialist areas is group psychotherapy. I am currently in the process of setting up a local private psychotherapy group. My professional experience to date has made me convinced about the value of working therapeutically within the context of groups; I have been able to witness group members making meaningful discoveries about themselves and the nature of their relationships, resulting in long wished for minor or major changes in their lives. I would like to share my expertise, hope and enthusiasm about the potential of group therapy with people who are able and willing to commit to personal development in the context of an analytic therapy group.

Assessment and Preparation
As a prospective group member you are asked to come for a few assessment and preparatory sessions. This is to determine whether group therapy is a suitable type of therapy for your needs. There may then be a period of waiting until a suitable vacancy becomes available. If this is the case you can choose to have some individual sessions until you join the group. I offer individual treatment with a view to preparing the person for entry to the group so that they are ready for the experience.

Group analytic therapy affects the deepest levels of the personality and thus is not a rapid therapy. You can expect to be in the group for at least a year. Group meetings are confidential and members are asked not to meet each other outside of the group.

Time and Place and Fees
The group will consist of up to eight people meeting weekly with the group conductor (time and place to be decided).

Individual assessment sessions are £100 per session. Group therapy sessions are £50 per weekly group.

If you are considering joining my psychotherapy group please contact Phoenix Mental Health Services and we can start thinking about the way forward.



Read news about Kirsten Heynisch’s Group Therapy.