Dr. Steiner's Psychotherapy Tools

Therapy Groups

  1. My Approach
  2. Therapy Group for Therapists
  3. Consultation Group for Licensed Therapists
  4. Article: Healing Power of Groups

My Approach

Why Group?

Groups, the antidote for isolation, can deepen and enrich individual therapy. Group members dealing with similar challenges grow from sharing their experiences. Members give each other the gift of hope and cheer each other on during the dark times and through the minor and major victories.

There is nothing like witnessing a group member trying new ways of coping with challenges and pushing past issues that have prevented them from having a more satisfying life. Sometimes this involves changing a negative self-image, figuring out whom to trust, and trusting others in the safety of a therapy group. For more information about groups, please see my article, The Healing Power of Groups.

In preparing members to join one of my groups, I use a collaborative approach. Since the goal for each person is to benefit from and add to the group, it is important to clarify what is needed. It is also important to specify what will be difficult and how the leader can help individuals deal with difficulties that may arise in the group. See About Dr. Steiner's Therapy Groups to learn about how I design, screen and prepare members for my groups.

Individual Screening & Preperation makes for Stronger, Healthier Groups

I screen and prepare people carefully for my groups. I have found that it helps if I meet individually with each person from 3-4 sessions, depending on whether he or she has been in other groups before. This fosters a better connection with both myself and the group, and leads to less turn-over.

The first appointment allows us to see whether we are a good match and feel we can work well together. We also determine whether he or she would benefit from and contribute to one my groups. I use a collaborative approach to clarify the individual'sl goals for the group experience as distinct from the goals of his/her individual therapy.

The value of Therapy and Support

As you know, therapy can open new doors, make room for greater connection with others and help a person understand what is getting in the way of a more satisfying life.

I believe deeply in the healing power of therapy, self-help groups and professionally led therapy groups. Groups are often referred to as the antidote to isolation. In addition to helping people feel less alone, groups add hope, and allow participants to see what they have to offer others and to find the gift of empathy for themselves and others.

For 30 years I have been fortunate to work with people who want to make changes in their lives through individual, couples and/or group therapy. I encourage clients to discover what they want from their important relationships. I help them learn how to express their needs effectively. This can increase confidence, self-esteem and satisfaction with life choices. I specialize in work with adults who are dealing with life transition issues, chronic medical illness, and couples issues.

My approach is heavily influenced by my belief in the importance of loving kindness and compassion, not only for others, but for oneself.

Theoretical Orientation

I use a variety of group therapy techniques and approaches, depending on the type and needs of the group. My primary approach is psychodynamic, with control mastery theory, which focuses on individuals' strengths and desires to change old patterns.

I also like to view therapy from a systems perspective. Systems theory encourages us to look at each individual within the context of their history, culture, supports and values. When I first consult with prospective group members, I ask about their experiences in other groups. Often people don't see their family of origin as a group. Yet one's family is usually the first, most important, training group. Families are where we learn both helpful and ineffective ways of dealing with disagreements, conflict, meeting our needs, etc. Group therapy offers a safe place to learn about yourself, and how to communicate more comfortably and effectively.

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by
standing in one's own sunshine."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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© Ann Steiner, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the author's written consent is prohibited.

Last Updated: September 26, 2017