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Group Psychotherapy

Interpersonal Yalomian model 

We often wonder whether individual or group psychotherapy is right for us.
Which method can best help us in our concerns and therapeutic goals of improvement?

Whether we face specific difficulties in our interaction with others and our participation in groups in our daily lives (e.g. with colleagues/co-workers),

or we aim for our psychosocial development, self-exploration, and improvement on the way we connect, interact, or collaborate with others, our participation in a psychotherapeutic group can be extremely beneficial to us.

Group therapy is not simply individual psychotherapy in the presence of others. 

The relationships developed between the members of a self-awareness group are just as important as those that each member develops with the therapist-coordinator of the group. 


Individual therapy is not a prerequisite for  joining a therapeutic group.

We can begin our therapeutic journey in a group even if we have no previous experience in psychotherapy whatsoever.

The two forms of psychotherapy (individual - group) work cumulatively and complementarily towards the personal development of the individual. 

We are eligible to be included in a self-awareness group even if we are already engaged in individual therapy or have completed individual or group therapy (not in the same group) in the past. 

The Therapeutic Framework in Group Psychotherapy

At first, therapist(s) meet with each potential member individually, just as in individual psychotherapy. We discuss on the therapeutic request of the prospective group member, assess whether group psychotherapy or a combination of individual and group therapy is the most beneficial process based on his/her needs, and inform him/her of the guidelines and boundaries of group psychotherapy applicable to all group members.

As in individual psychotherapy, in face-to-face sessions, the space is set (the therapist's office), while in a virtual group, all members must ensure confidentiality by remaining in their own private space without any third party interference.

Τhe maximum number of members of a therapeutic group is predetermined, sessions are held weekly on a fixed day and time, with a fixed duration (1h30).

During our participation in a therapeutic group we may experience the separation from a former member that has accomplised his/her therapeutic goals and the arrival of a new one.

Core Principles of Group Preservation

For the creation of a therapeutic self-awareness group, the cooperation between its members and its sustainability, it is essential that everyone agrees on the therapeutic framework and boundaries that regulate it.

  • Confidentiality | Ό,τι επικοινωνείται και διαμείβεται (σκέψεις, συναισθήματα, συμπεριφορές) εντός ομάδας, δεν επικοινωνείται σε τρίτους. Συναντήσεις και συζητήσεις μεταξύ μελών εκτός ομάδας δεν επιτρέπονται. Anything communicated and discussed (thoughts, feelings, behaviours) during group sessions can not be communicated to third parties. Group members only meet each other during the sessions. 

  • Members' Equality | All members deserve respect and have equal rights and obligations within the group.

  • Majority Principle | Personal benefit is less important than the common good and the group follows the majority principle in any decisions it is called upon to make.

  • Respect and Integrity | Physical violence between members is not permitted. Verbal confrontation is permissible as long as it aims to therapeutic progress without diminishing the individual's personality.

The above rules jointly with others are communicated:

at the individual meeting between each member and the therapist(s),

during the first group session in all members' presence, and also

κeach time a new member joins the group. 

All agreed pri, as well as the time of arrival, are strictly observed.

  • Interpersonal Learning and Self-Understanding |
    Through honest communication and the trusting relationships that develop between members within a group, we explore the reasons why we think and feel a certain way. We discover and accept parts of ourselves. We learn what impression we make on others. We recognize the ways in which we express ourselves and interact, and the "stance" we adopt in dealing with others within and outside the group (the group as a microcosm of society).
  • Instilling Hope |
    A self-awareness group consists of people who are at different stages of the healing process. Within the group we witness the progress of other members. Acknowledging everyone's personal effort and progress strengthens confidence in our strengths and gives hope to everyone, especially those in the early stages of treatment.
  • Universality |
    Sometimes unpleasant, painful life events or disturbing/frightening thoughts and impulses seem insurmountable, causing us to experience feelings of inferiority, hopelessness, helplessness, frustration, and even anger. We feel weird/unlucky, and the only ones who are faced with such issues. Being in a group with people who are experiencing and feeling the same things, or have faced similar issues can be comforting, and helps to feel a sense of belonging and to realize that we are not alone.
  • Development of Socialization Skills |
    Some of us may feel socially isolated or awkward and experience low self-esteem and embarrassment or anxiety when presenting in front of an audience or a group. With the feedback we receive from the therapist and team members about our behavior and expression, we can discover what blocks our communication with others. Within the group we try new ways of communicating, we get in touch with the ways of interaction that other members use in their daily lives, and we discover the communication style that suits us and is appropriate for each situation.
  • Altruism |
    Some members upon joining the group may feel that they have nothing worthwhile to offer or that they are a burden to others and remain absorbed in observing their shortcomings. Group therapy is the only form of therapy that enables clients to be useful to others. Members in the group offer and receive support from each other, and prioritize the needs of each individual member, enhancing their self-esteem and confidence in themselves and the group.
  • Family Reenactment and Repair |
    The team resembles a family environment. Many times within it we revive and explore experiences from our personal family context that have contributed to the development of our personality. With understanding and acceptance we discover the reasons that have contributed to the adoption of certain behaviors on our part, and we try new ways of communicating and connecting within a group that seem more suitable for us in the present.
  • Team Cohesion |
    The cohesion that characterizes a therapeutic group with a common goal concerns the feeling of belonging, understanding, and acceptance experienced by the members within it. The value that each member has for everyone else and the team as a whole, but also the value of the team for each individual member.
  • Clearance |
    In a self-awareness group members share strong feelings that they may be experiencing at the given time in their lives or that emerge during the session and concern their interaction with therapists, with other members, or with their life outside of the group. Through the group's emotional expression and reflection on what happened and triggered the emotional reaction, the member(s) can be relieved of pain, guilt and anxiety.
  • Transmission of information |
    Members help each other by sharing information, suggestions, advice.
  • Mimic Behavior |
    Observing group members' attitudes, behavior, and handling of personal issues can inspire and reinforce imitative behavior by other members. In addition, the sharing of thoughts and feelings (even unpleasant or uncomfortable ones) by both the therapist and members, and the ability to manage them by the group, motivates the imitation of this emotional self-disclosure behavior.
  • Existential Factors |
    The group provides a safe environment where members can negotiate and receive support as they face fundamental issues of life and death. They are called to see life and its limitations more honestly, respecting their needs, and realizing that the responsibility for their life, actions and choices is in their own hands.

as recorded by clients of Irvin D. Yalom's book "Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy"

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