How Do I Select a Group Therapist?

Here’s a Little History about Group Therapy

Group therapy was developed in the mid 1940’s in the USA and became a more popular form of psychological treatment in the 1960’s. It’s a bona fide treatment modality and recognized by mental health professionals to be as effective as individual therapy for some children and adults.

Currently, group psychotherapy is practiced throughout the USA in various agencies, institutions, associations, clinics and in private practices and usually led by psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers.

How Do I Find Local Group Therapist?

You may have heard about group therapy but you may not know any group leaders. So, ask your physician, psychotherapists, counselors, friends and family members and call some mental health treatment facilities in your area.

By searching online for “therapy groups” and “group therapists” you should definitely find a number of groups and leaders. You will probably discover that psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers provide most of the group work.

Contact the Group Therapy Leaders

After identifying some nearby potential groups and/or therapists, call the leaders of the groups you are interested in. Most group leaders are pleased to speak with potential new group members who are interested in joining a group.

Consult with the Leaders by Phone

Introduce yourself and why you are interested in group therapy. Tell them what you are personally struggling with and what you think you are looking for.

Ask the following preliminary questions by phone:

  • Do you currently lead a group?
  • What type of groups do you lead?
  • What is the focus of the group?
  • Do you have an opening in the group?
  • Might this group be a possible “fit” for me?
  • What is the cost of the group and how do you get paid?
  • Could my healthcare insurance cover some or all of my costs?
  • Do you have a flyer that describes the group that you could send to me?
  • If you don’t have a group for me, can you please refer me to another local agency or leader?
  • If I am a potential new group member, can I meet you in-person to learn more?

Request a Face-to-Face Meeting with a Group Therapist

After getting all the preliminary information and you believe that a group meets your needs, has an opening for a new member, and you are available when the group meets, then call the therapist and request an introductory consultation to gather more information. It is wise for you and for the leader to meet face-to-face before attending the group.

To see a helpful list of specific questions to ask a group therapist in a face-to-face consultation meeting, read my other blog article entitled “Questions to Ask a Group Therapist When Deciding to Join.” Click here to read the article: 

How Do I Decide Whether or Not to Join a Group?

After meeting with the group leader, consider the following factors if you are seriously committed to joining a therapy group:

  • Is the leader compassionate, articulate and understanding?
  • Does he/she have enough experience as a group therapist?
  • Does the therapist command respect and embody the “presence” of a confident leader?
  • Do you trust the leader?
  • Do you feel like this group will fit your treatment needs and goals?
  • Can you regularly afford to pay for your group sessions?
  • Do you have any obstacles to regularly attending the group sessions?
  • Can you commit to the the group contract or set of rules and expectations?
  • Do you feel open and excited about participating in this group?


I consult on the phone about my groups, have descriptive flyers on my groups, and require that all potential new members meet in-person with me. If they want to join the group and if I invite them in, then each new member must agree to my set of rules and expectations about group behavior.

As an experienced group psychotherapist, I am here to help you and I have personally participated in a number of groups as a member. Most importantly, I have a firm belief in the power of group therapy to help people change.


To learn more about my therapy groups, click on this link:

If you are interested in talking with me about my groups, please call me at 805-448-5053.

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