Client Information: The Interpersonal Therapy Group:

‘Personal growth and change in a confidential social microcosm’

The Purpose of the Group: The purpose of the group is to assist members with self-understanding and personal change through interacting, listening to each other, giving feedback, and reflecting on both individual situations and the group dynamics as they unfold.

The Format: The format is unstructured guided discussion. The group will meet weekly for and hour and a half each session. Prior to joining the group, individuals try to pinpoint personal goals or issues to pursue in the group. Naturally, some guidelines and agreements are required to ensure privacy and confidence in the group process. Members will participate at their own comfort level, and along with the individual issues, time will also be spent in mutual feedback and evaluation of the group as it develops. Despite differing real-life situations, the group will be composed in such a way that there will be many common threads, including the interest in using this confidential group experience for self-understanding and personal change.

The Therapist’s Role: It is the therapist’s job to create a safe environment in which members can be themselves, gradually express their inner concerns and conflicts, and explore the relationships within the group as they develop. The leadership is reflective rather than directive, and the therapist helps the group to develop self-observation skills by pointing out the common themes, conflicts, and issues as they arise.

What types of issues could be addressed? The personal concerns one might bring to this group are quite broad. Examples could include becoming less perfectionistic and self-critical, understanding and changing power and control issues with others, developing better “emotional connection” in relationships, understanding one’s need for approval and one’s impact on others, exploring issues impeding closeness, tolerating vulnerability and strong emotions, obtaining feedback about how one is perceived by others, developing assertiveness in relationships, or becoming more able to face conflict and cope with stress.

How does it work with Individual Sessions? Often group members maintain their individual sessions or continue in couple sessions concurrently while involved in group therapy. In this arrangement it is important to clarify roles and focus, and it is always important to bring back to the group any issues stimulated by the group experience.

For More Information, contact Joan-Dianne Smith, MSW, RSW at 947-3485
Canadian Group Therapy Assoc.
American Group Psychotherapy Assoc. “Group Works” pamphlet: