What is Group Analysis?

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, S.H Foulkes, the founder of Group Analysis, reasoned that as one’s difficulties arise in groups, then these difficulties are best explored, understood and changed in a group.

Every one of us has lived in groups of one kind or another. We are born into families, go to school, work, are members of a societies and cultures. Group Analysis is rooted in psychoanalysis, psychology and systems theory. It focuses on the challenges of being oneself in the presence of others and aims to free up patterns of past behaviours which reproduce themselves in the present, in the group.

A typical group consists of up to eight people, meeting for 90 minutes per session, once or twice weekly. Groups are mixed in age and gender although some single sex, young or older people groups are available.

You would meet initially one to one with a Group Analyst to discuss the group and the possibility of your joining it. S/he might offer individual treatment in preparation. Group meetings are confidential and members are asked not to meet each other outside of the group.

Group Analysis is not a quick fix. You would be in the group upwards of a year. It takes time, as you’d expect for members to see themselves through the eyes of others and gain new insights about themselves and others.

Who benefits from group analysis?

Group Analysis helps a variety of problems and life situations including interpersonal and relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, bereavement and loss, work stress, eating disorders, addictions, psychosomatic conditions, loneliness.

A group like this offers the opportunity to understand and come to terms with issues of identity: ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and gender. More, it enables group members to develop their creativity, in their work and in their life.

Written by Joan Fogel, a verified welldoing.org therapist and group analyst based in SE1 and NW11, London

Last updated March 11 2020