About psychotherapy 

Group Analytic Therapy

Group psychotherapy is an established and effective form of therapy that involves people working together in a small group in order to address their difficulties and concerns.  It offers a potent alternative to individual therapy.  Instead of talking purely to one therapist or a counsellor, you find yourself talking to a small number of people in a group, one of whom is a trained group psychotherapist.  It is a method that focuses on your individual difficulties as well as on your relationships with other people.

The symptoms of your unease which you bring to therapy are worked with carefully and change in you happens gradually over time.  You need to be prepared to be self-reflective, willing to explore your past and not to hurry with symptoms relief.  The group therapy setting provides particular opportunities for learning from others.  You may realise, perhaps for the first time in your life, that there could be new solutions for your problems.


The role of the group psychotherapist  

The therapist is more of a co-ordinator or facilitator than an active leader or director of the group.  He or she follows intently the happenings, is in touch with the feelings in the session, yet has to remain distant enough not to be affected by them.  You could imagine that the role of the group therapist is as if to sit ‘half inside, half outside’ the group, to know how and when to help to stimulate or to reduce the expressed emotions, to be aware when to bring something to the attention of the group or to remain silent and wait for a while.  The mainly supportive role of the psychotherapist allows you, as one of the group members, to grow in your own authority and in personal confidence, thus improving your ability to relate to others in a more positive way.  An important part of the therapist’s role is overseeing safety in the group.  The group’s feelings of safety and trust enable the group members to talk more openly.  The increased openness about yourself leads to an increased sense of emotional closeness and understanding with others.  The maintenance of safety in the therapy requires preservation of confidentiality.  Your group therapist will therefore ask you not to meet socially and not to make contact with other group members outside the group sessions.  This ensures that everything is contained within the group meetings.


Who could benefit from group psychotherapy?

The members of our therapy groups come from all walks of life and with a variety of difficulties.  The groups develop their own culture that changes over time according to group membership.  Our therapists make as much effort as they can to point you to a group suitable for your needs.  If you are new to therapy and refer yourself to Hampden House, group therapy could be your first therapeutic experience. If you already had some therapy and would like to continue your personal development in ‘a life like’ setting, group therapy might be a way forward.  Alternatively, you could ask your doctor to refer you.  In some instances you might suffer with specific symptoms, such as excessive anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of isolation, problems related to difficulties in your relationships, prolonged grief reactions, to name just a few.  Or you might generally feel that your life is not going as well as you would like and that something is missing from it.  There are also some people who wish to have psychotherapy during the recovery period from a variety of addictions.


Some additional benefits

Finally, it is useful to know that there are some practical advantages in group therapy.  It is more economic, as the fees are lower than for individual therapy.  The groups meet in the evenings, outside normal working hours.  Furthermore, the groups are more able to generate alternative perspectives, can be more personally challenging but also more liberating and more playful.  The experience of belonging to a group over time can itself be healing and you can form a bond with a group of people in a way which is difficult to find anywhere else.


Group psychotherapists at Hampden House

Hampden House has, at present, two experienced group analysts.  If you feel you could benefit from group analytic therapy, please state this clearly when you first approach our Centre for help.  We can then arrange an initial consultation interview with one of our group therapists who can discuss any concerns you may have.


Our intention is to engage with you about what would be most helpful to you and to consider, together with you, what kind of therapy would be in your best interest. Our group therapists are experienced in both individual and group therapy and would aim to give you a clinically informed, impartial opinion.


Link to United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy Link to British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Link to British Psychoanalytic Council

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