Analytical group psychotherapy, what is that?

Group psychotherapy is a powerful therapeutic instrument that enables people to resolve conflicts, make up for developmental deficits and open up new opportunities for life, which would often not have been possible to this extent in an individual therapy.

An analytical group is a protected space in which people can talk about everything, may, should, without being condemned, without this being communicated to the outside world, and without it having harmful consequences for them.

To ensure this, there is a so-called group contract, to which all group participants must adhere. This includes absolute secrecy, regular participation, and that you are not allowed to meet outside the group or have any contacts. This is because the group is a therapeutic working group and not a replacement group of friends. The aim of the group is to enable people with contact difficulties, for example, to acquire the ability to become more sociable and relationship-oriented in the course of their therapy, so that they can then also make their lives more satisfying outside the group.

An analytical group offers in particular

– the opportunity to get to know each other in the mirror of the group

– to come into contact with one’s own conflicts, hidden sides of one’s own personality, which would otherwise have remained hidden for a long time or forever, through the reinforcing effect of the group

– and in the analytical group a deep dimension of the personality becomes perceptible over a longer period of time, perceptible and, in a favourable case, accessible to change, which I call the “feeling of oneself in the world”.  This “feeling of being in the world” reflects how we felt taken up in this world during the first one or two years of life. It still has its roots in the time when we could not express our feelings in words, but it influences our well-being and shapes our relationships even in adulthood. With the months and years of analytical group work, it becomes tangible how we can shape our relationship with the group, but also in our limited scope for creativity. If, for example, a group participant, after perhaps two years, says from the bus tone of conviction: “Nobody wants me here”, but none of his fellow patients can feel and discover this feeling of rejection towards this member, it becomes apparent that this supposed perception of the group corresponds to his very own “feeling of himself in the world”, that he probably had to develop very early in his development. Here the analytical group now offers the opportunity to exchange ideas and to have a new, healing experience.

The analytical group psychotherapy is only offered by specially trained psychoanalysts and comprises a continuously working group of 7 to 9 participants. This group works continuously and only accepts a new member when someone has completed the treatment.

Since all mental disorders and their effects in depressions, psychosomatic illnesses, fears, or recurring relationship problems are a result of stressful experiences which the individual has not been able to process and integrate adequately, analytical group therapies are suitable for many patients. Because these core conflicts, which lie behind the symptoms, are also evident in dealing with other group participants and can be perceived and worked through there.

The analytical group is an interpersonal field in which the relationship problems that have led a patient to treatment can be mapped, understood and processed. On the other hand, the group is something like a mirror, in which the individual in the others can better perceive his own conflicts, fears, helpless solutions and thus also change them.

There may also be individual reasons against group therapy. These are clarified in preliminary individual discussions. This could be a very severe depression, an acute psychotic reaction or acute addiction.

Social fears of talking about a group or the shyness to burden oneself with the problems of others speak more in favour of starting a group therapy.


The duration of analytical group therapies is comparable to that of individual therapies.


The analytical group therapy is a medical treatment and is financed by statutory health insurances after approval, by the aid agencies proportionately and the private health insurances depending on contract agreement.

Patients with statutory health insurance can assume that their treatment costs will be covered by the health insurance fund if there is a corresponding indication, without the need for a private co-payment or private financing of the therapy.

In individual cases, it appears to be sensible to continue group psychotherapy even after the upper limit of the health insurance financing has been reached; others would like to finance the treatment themselves for reasons of discretion. Due to the lower fees compared to individual psychotherapy, this is almost always possible.

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