Nancy Wesson, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, Certified Group Psychotherapist
What is a Specialty Group?
A specialty group is a therapy group for clients who have a similar issue or issues. Most psychotherapists have areas of special focus. Most clients could use more support and skills when dealing with their issues between sessions. Offering a specialty group can offer your clients the chance to feel less alone with their issues, and to learn coping skills. You will have the opportunity to further develop and add to the growth of your private practice.
You can offer a short or long term specialty group or even a daylong workshop. You can teach important skills in this group or workshop and have group members interact and share their experiences. By broadening the services you offer you will be able to expand your practice and reach more potential clients. As you advertise for the group or workshop you will be advertising your practice. Other psychotherapists look for these specialty groups to help their clients in their practices.
Leading a specialty group:
- Develop group leadership skills as they apply to specialty groups. (upcoming CSGP workshop)
- Develop a fee structure separate from individual psychotherapy ($40-$70) per client per session of the group and decide if you will offer sliding scale fees. Decide the size of the group or workshop.
- Formulate a structure for the group and ways to best convey coping skills in your specialty area in the group: discusssion, role play, didactic, experiential etc.
- Decide if you would like to have written materials and homework for the group or both.
- Decide if you will be offering the group as a series of sessions (usually 12), a workshop for one or two days, or if the group will be a long term group where members continue to help each other, continue to have support and share their skills with new members.
- Develop a screening method for adding new clients to your groups.
- Learn how to handle clinical situations which can be disruptive to your group like monopolizing or absenteeism.
- Develop a marketing and advertising plan.
- Reach out to other psychotherapists to let them know about your specialty group.