Groups are everywhere. Our daily lives are filled with various groups of people, from families to work groups to church groups. What distinguishes these groups from one another is their purpose. The purpose of a psychotherapy group is to promote the personal growth and psychological health of its members. Although the composition, theme and length may vary, all psychotherapy groups have in common:
- A group psychotherapist, specially trained in the theory and technique of group psychotherapy. This distinguishes a psychotherapy group from groups that function without a psychotherapist, called self-help groups.
- A regular meeting time and place. Psychotherapy groups generally meet once weekly, but this can vary. Some groups are time limited and meet for a fixed number of sessions, others are open ended with members joining and leaving from time to time.
- A focus on self-examination and exploration of interpersonal relationships. This is the ultimate focus of most types of psychotherapy, although the particular methods and style varies depending on the therapists orientation. This distinguishes a psychotherapy group from a support group. In a support group, members generally share a common concern or issue and help one another adapt to difficult or challenging circumstances.