Group Psychotherapy Services
Dr Lewis Weber and Associates has one of the largest private practice group therapy programs in the state of Virginia. We have long had a commitment to psychotherapy groups and continue to expand the number of groups that we offer. Our group therapy program has been strongly influenced by Dr. Weber. Dr. Weber has spent over 35 years leading at least three different psychotherapy groups a week. He has led in-patient, out-patient and critical incident debriefing groups. He has led numerous workshops and trainings in group therapy nationally and internationally. John Savides has led substance abuse groups for over 40 years, including treatment with impaired professionals. Christy Riebling has supervised and led group therapies in private practice and university settings. Other members of our practice have also had extensive group therapy experience.
Group Psychotherapy provides a living arena in which to work. Group therapy members experience interpersonal relationships and their own dynamics in a safe confidential environment with other motivated people. The group provides unique relationships for both the participant and the leader. Groups offer a very special learning experience. Members have an opportunity to get feedback on how others see them and to share some of their inner secrets and struggles. The opportunity to see yourself through others eyes as well as to be able to see yourself in others' behavior provides a very special learning opportunity. We spend a lot of our life in groups, i.e. family groups, school groups, work groups, play groups, etc. Group members have a chance to learn about group dynamics and what makes groups work. We also find that the combination of group and individual psychotherapy allows people to do in-depth work that can strongly contribute to an individual's growth and healing.
Group therapy begins with a screening that may last one to three sessions with a group therapist. During this time the group therapist will talk with you and get information to be sure whether group therapy would be a good choice for you and whether the two of you feel that you can work well together. When you start the group you will beexplained the ground rules. Confidentiality is very important. People are asked not to talk about what goes on in the group outside of the group except for things that just pertain to them. People are asked to make an initial commitment to attend a number of groups. This is to allow people an opportunity to get a chance to experience the group and also out of respect to group members by not allowing people to just drop in and check them out. If a new group member happens to know someone in the group, they are asked not to continue in that group so as to provide the new person and the existing group member ample confidentially and space. This rarely happens, but if it does we do have a number of other groups. Group members are asked to be spontaneous and open with each other, with the exception of being abusive or destructive in the room. There is a charge for group session whether you come or not. It is like renting a chair. You cannot be replaced by someone else. Some group therapists ask that the new participant commit not to commit suicide or hurt themselves as a member of the group since this can be very disruptive to group members. People become very close and involved with each other. In the case of termination, this is usually done with the group and the participant talking about how they are doing and whether termination will be helpful at that specific time. Once it is determined to terminate people are asked to set a date in the future so that everyone will have a chance to say goodbye. Goodbyes are extremely important in any relationship as is the final stages of the therapy experience.
New group psychotherapy patients frequently will be asked in the initial screenings their fears and expectations about what may happen in group therapy. It is not usual to have all kinds of ideas and even apprehensions. During the first group session, new members are asked to introduce themselves. This only occurs after the old group members introduce themselves so that the person has a chance to relax and get a sense of the people they are sitting with. The new member is encouraged to speak, be spontaneous and interact, that invitation allows them to operate at their own pace. Frequently a person can learn as much or more from just sitting, listening and watching interaction. Participation is not just by using words, it is by being present in your body and listening.