The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy

By Irvin D. Yalom | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Creation of the Group:
Place, Time, Size, Preparation

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

Before a group is convened, there are certain decisions to be made about its circumstances. The therapist must secure an appropriate meeting place and establish policy about the life span of the group, the admission of new members, the frequency of meetings, the duration of each session, and the size of the group.


The Physical Setting

Group meetings may be held in any setting, provided that the room affords privacy, freedom from distraction, and the opportunity to sit in a circle. Some therapists prefer to have the members seated about a large circular table. (A rectangular table is unwieldy, since not all the members on the same side will be able to see one another. Sofas that seat three people are unsatisfactory for the same reason.) But most prefer to have no central obstruction, so as to be able to see the entire body of each member and, thus, be able to observe non- verbal or postural responses.

If the group session is to be videotaped or observed through a viewing screen by students, the group members' permission must be obtained in advance and ample opportunity provided for discussion of the procedure. A group that is observed usually seems to forget about the viewing screen after a few weeks, but often when working through authority issues with the leader, members become concerned about it. If there are only one or two student observers, they are best seated in the room, though out of the group circle--an

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