How To Make a Referral to Group Psychotherapy Services
(…and what happens after you do)
- Let the group coordinators know that you would like to refer a client for group therapy. Call 848-445-6111 x40066 and leave a message on the GPS voicemail, or email one of the coordinators.
- Provide us with the client’s name and contact information, once you have received the client’s permission to do so.
A group coordinator will contact the client to briefly discuss their presenting problems, availability for the groups currently offered, and availability for a screening.
Based on availability, a screening will be set up with either the group coordinators or the facilitators of the most appropriate group for the client.
- Screenings typically are 1-1.5 hours long, and ideally occur during two 1 hour sessions over the course of two weeks. The screenings are free for clients.
- During the screening, a thorough interpersonal history is gathered, and clients are given detailed information on the nature of group therapy and how group may be helpful for them. Any questions that the client has are also answered during the screening.
- It is determined whether or not the groups available are appropriate for the client, and if not, we will work with the client to find other opportunities for group work.
- If the client is appropriate for one of the available groups, a start date is determined and the client joins the group!
Current groups available:
- Mondays: Adult Interpersonal Group 7:00PM-8:30PM (GSAPP)
- Tuesdays: Adult Interpersonal Group 7:00PM-8:30PM (GSAPP)
- Tuesdays: Young Adult Interpersonal Group 7:15PM-8:45PM (GSAPP)
- Tuesdays: Trauma Group for Adult Women 7:00PM-8:30PM (GSAPP)
- Wednesdays: Undergraduate Interpersonal Group 5:15PM – 6:45PM (CAPS)
Frequently Asked Questions about Group Therapy
1. What is an interpersonal process group?
- Essentially it is a “social laboratory”, a controlled learning environment.
- Difficulties clients have in their interpersonal relationships outside of group tend to be enacted within the group, too. When this occurs, the difficulties are explored in vivo.
- Facilitators encourage members to “think and feel out loud”, i.e to talk about the feelings behind their reactions to other members and to offer feedback to other members.
- Clients become more aware of how and why they have struggled in interpersonal relationships. They then have the opportunity to try out new ways of interacting that can lead to more satisfying connections in their lives. If they have difficulty trying out new behaviors, this is explored as well, in order to assist the clients in working through such difficulty.
- Clients help each other in the process, which further enhances their self-expression and increases their self-esteem.
2. How does an interpersonal process group compare to a support group?
- Like a support group, an interpersonal process group provides a supportive environment for the members, with group cohesiveness as a major goal. Members share their concerns and receive acceptance, understanding, and guidance from each other.
- Unlike a support group, the interpersonal process group is composed of clients with a diverse set of concerns and serves to elicit long-lasting intrapsychic and interpersonal change.
3. How does an interpersonal process group compare to a skills training group?
- An interpersonal process group aims to address social skill deficits that a member may have; however, this is not accomplished through structured psychoeducational activities. Instead, the interpersonal group looks at the psychological components contributing to the skill deficit.
- When the facilitators are aware of certain skills deficits in the client, they work on those skills in the here-and-now of the group, encouraging clients to try new behaviors in the group, offering them the opportunity to hear feedback about their behaviors, and also offering the opportunity to explore what may be difficult about engaging in those behaviors.
- Clients do improve their social skills through the process of group, but this is due to corrective experiences which they have in the group, rather than by being taught a certain set of skills.
4. What is the membership like in an interpersonal process group?
- In a general interpersonal process group, the members of the group will have some similarities and some differences. Ideally, they will be heterogeneous in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and age. They will be similar in terms of their psychological stage of life.
- In a specialty interpersonal group, e.g. LGBT, there would be more emphasis on similarities among the members.
5. What is the benefit of group therapy for someone already in individual therapy?
- Yalom (2005) cites a number of ways in which concurrent therapy can enhance individual treatment:
- Clients often have significant affective and interpersonal experiences in the group that they then bring back to the individual therapist for processing, making the individual therapy richer and more productive.
- The group offers feedback from peers to the client that s/he may be better able to hear than feedback from the authority figure of the therapist. This may then facilitate progress in the individual therapy.
- Clients may have improved in the context of their individual therapy setting but be struggling to transfer that improvement to their everyday life. Group offers a low-risk setting where clients can begin to transfer their gains from individual therapy to their interactions with others and disconfirm fears they may have had about consequences of doing so.
- The group and individual therapists may consult with each other and support each other in the treatment of particularly challenging clients.
6. How can interpersonal process groups help clients in individual CBT therapy?
The Interpersonal History
- Contrary to popular belief, interpersonal process groups are actually quite integrative. While there are psychodynamic principles that guide the understanding and exploration of clients’ interpersonal difficulties, there are also a number of therapeutic factors that are cognitive-behavioral in nature, such as modeling of different behaviors, practicing of new behaviors, and challenging assumptions about people’s reactions.
- When clients learn new skills in their individual CBT therapy, they can come to the safe, controlled environment of group to practice those skills and continue to get feedback and reinforcement.
- If clients are getting stuck in their CBT therapy and struggling to progress, the group offers a place for the client to explore any interpersonal issues that may be getting in the way of skill development.
- Interpersonal process groups are especially well-suited for clients working on social anxiety, but they are also beneficial for clients suffering with other disorders. For example, a client’s depression may be related to interpersonal difficulties which can be further worked on within the context of the group.
Collecting information about a client’s interpersonal history is essential to determine if an interpersonal process group may be beneficial to your client.
Some important areas to explore when getting a client’s interpersonal history include:
- What patterns of interacting (both positive and negative) seem to have occurred often and repeatedly in the client’s life? Are any of these recurring patterns currently leading to distress or difficulties?
- Consider relationships with parents, siblings, romantic partners, authority figures, children, friends, and colleagues.
Does the client have any conflict areas around interpersonal interaction? For example, do they have difficulty “knowing” how much to share with others, or have a tendency to keep secrets and then feel resentful and isolated?
- Consider the client's ability to:
- be aware of and express feelings
- deal with conflict and/or appropriate confrontation
What is the client’s ability to modulate negative feelings about and with others?
What are the client’s social skills deficits, if any?
- How does the client view themselves in relation to others? How do they believe that others view them? Do they experience significance self-doubt or engage in negative self-talk? Are these opinions rooted in their interpersonal history with significant people in their lives?
If your client has difficulties or concerns in any of the above areas,
group therapy could be very helpful to them!!
The kinds of difficulties mentioned above can provide a good rationale to your clients for making a recommendation to group therapy. Group will provide the client with an additional opportunity to do therapeutic work focused on those concerns.
The Therapeutic Factors of Group Psychotherapy
Irvin D. Yalom
- Group Cohesiveness: Acceptance of one another, being supportive, and being inclined to form meaningful relationships in the group. Recognition that every member of the group is important and appreciated.
- Universality: Members learn they are not alone in their suffering or thinking they are uniquely messed up or inadequate.
- Interpersonal learning: The correction of interpersonal distortions thus enabling a person to obtain interpersonal satisfaction in the context of realistic, mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships. The group provides a social microcosm for clients to display their interpersonal patterns and as a laboratory to study those behaviors and understand and change them.
- Catharsis: Expressing negative and positive feelings and learning that could be OK and even meaningful.
- Imparting information: Members receive didactic information about mental health, illness, interpersonal and group dynamics given by the therapist as well as advice, suggestions, or direct guidance from either the therapist or other clients.
- Altruism: Members are able to be there for others learning they have something to offer and empowering themselves. They offer support, reassurance, suggestions, insight, observations and they share similar problems with each other.
- The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group: The group resembles a family with authority figures (parents) and other members (siblings) and people may interact with the group in similar ways they interacted with their family and learn how to change some of the painful aspects of their role in their family and have a corrective experience.
- Development of socializing techniques: Through feedback from other members and leaders group members learn social skills and learn about people’s reactions to their current social pose.
- Imitative behavior: Members learn from other members and leaders ways to be based on appreciating it in others and imitating it- like self disclosure or support.
- Installation of hope: Members are given the hope that group can help them, by watching others get better through group.
- Existential factors: Members explore their own experiences and hear the experiences of others which support recognizing life is often unfair, unjust, and that there is no escape from pain and death. Members realize that no matter how close you get to other people you are still alone in some ways. Recognizing that life is limited, members often focus on living a more honest and value based life than hiding from fears and living a life of trivialities.