Questions to Ask a Group Therapist When Deciding to Join

How Do I Start the Process of Selecting a Group Leader?

In a previous blog article entitled “How Do I Select a Group Therapist?”, I make suggestions on:

  • How to identify a group leader
  • How to gather information
  • Questions to ask the leader
  • How to make the decision whether or not to join a group

Click here to visit that article:  http://www.drrevelmiller.com/2019/10/how-do-i-select-a-group-therapist/

Combining the information in these two articles will make it easier for you to confidently select a group therapist who can help you or a loved one.

Meet a Leader Face-to-Face

It is my opinion that all professional group therapist should meet in-person with all potential group members before inviting them to join a group. This is particularly true if the group is an ongoing weekly process group. If it is a short-term educational group, like 4 to 8 session in length, then they may not need to meet with all members beforehand.

Here Are the Steps to Take to Consult In-Person with a Group Leader

  1. Make an appointment with the therapist
  2. Be ready with your own list of written questions to ask the group leader

In order to qualify you for a group, the therapist will probably have a set of their own questions to ask you about: your current problems, background, past experience in psychotherapy, medications, treatment goals, etc. Be prepared to listen to what they have to say about the group and answer their questions accurately. As you are evaluating them, they too are assessing whether or not you would be a good “match” for a group and could receive the results you are looking for.

Include the Following Important Questions on Your Written List

Ask the leader:

  • What is your training and experience in group leadership?
  • Have you led groups before?
  • How many groups have you led and what kinds of groups were they?
  • Have you personally experienced being a group therapy member?
  • What types of groups do you specialize in leading?
  • What type of leadership style do you have?
  • Will there be a co-leader working with you?
  • What is the role of the patients in the group? What do they do?
  • What type of patients is this group designed for?
  • How many members are in the group and what is the maximum size?
  • What are the expected patient benefits or results of the group therapy?
  • What type of topics do you discuss in the group sessions?
  • What can I do to ensure that I get the most out of my group participation?
  • Are all your group members required to commit to a contract or a set of expectations to follow? May I see a copy of that agreement?
  • Are there current openings in this group?
  • How do I join the group?

Confirm the following information about the group meetings:

  • Verify the cost of the sessions and the time and methods of payment
  • Verify if healthcare insurance can be submitted and reimbursed
  • Verify the name, place, day, time and start date
  • Verify the number and length of the group meetings
  • Verify if the group leader attends all of the sessions

The Job of the Group Therapist

The purpose of the group leader is to:

  • Attract and select appropriate members to join a group
  • Have expertise in the topics of discussion and problems focused on
  • Facilitate the group process
  • Connect with all of the members
  • Encourage group interaction amongst the members
  • Ensure that the group is a safe, trustworthy, cohesive and healing environment

To fulfill their purpose in the group, the therapist should have a depth of training, knowledge and experience as a leader.

In addition, it is a benefit if the therapist has personally participated as a member in a therapy group to know what it is like to be a group member.

The group therapist that you meet with should be proficient at helping you determine if a therapy group would work well for you. Only then should they invite you to join the group.

 

As an experienced group psychotherapist, I have a strong faith in the power of group therapy to help people change.

To learn more about my therapy groups, click on this link:  http://www.drrevelmiller.com/what-we-treat/group-therapy/

Call me at 805-448-5053 if you want to talk with me about group therapy.

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