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3 min read

What is an Interpersonal Process Group?

Williamsburg Therapy Group image of people talking in group therapy

Therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. There are numerous different types of therapy, and if you have ever considered therapy, you’ve probably sought out individual sessions. 

Individual therapy, with just you and a mental health professional, is a popular therapy method. It’s an effective way to target personal matters, address specific issues, and even improve interpersonal relationships. It is not the only way, though. 

Group therapy is an approach that provides distinct benefits separate from individual therapy. In interpersonal process groups, individuals explore their roles in social situations and learn their tendencies when forming relationships. Moreover, it gives group members a sense of community, a feeling that they are not alone in their struggles.

Interpersonal process groups are an opportunity to understand the relationships we have with ourselves and others, but how exactly is that accomplished? If you were a participant in group therapy, what could you expect from the experience?


The Psychotherapy Interpersonal Process Group

Led by a trained therapist, the Psychotherapy Interpersonal Process Group or Process Group, is an environment where group members focus on interpersonal relationships between each other. 

Rather than focusing on developing a certain skill, like you would in individual therapy, participants are encouraged to examine the interpersonal thoughts and reactions of all individuals in the group. 

Through the active and reflective aspect of this therapy, each participant is afforded the opportunity to learn how to improve their interpersonal relationship skills.


Interpersonal Difficulties That Can Be Addressed in a Process Group

Those who join process groups tend to have the desire to create better relationships and feel more confident in social situations. Depending on the goals of the group, interpersonal process group therapy could address one or more of the following:

  • Consistent feelings of anger, frustration, or dissatisfaction in relationships
  • The inability to form close or long-lasting relationships
  • The need to please others
  • Reliance on substances to feel confident or relaxed in social situations
  • The struggle to directly communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs
  • Susceptibility to being easily controlled in relationships
  • Anxiety in social situations
  • Feelings of frequent or constant loneliness
  • The desire to manipulate others to have your own needs met
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trust issues

In fact, this list only skims the surface of what group members might come across when attending interpersonal process group therapy. 


5 Things You Can Learn from Interpersonal Process Group Therapy

Interpersonal process group therapy is all about encouraging change - effective and lasting change that will improve relationships. While individual therapy can help you break down walls and learn more about yourself, interpersonal relationships will continue to suffer if you don’t know how to make change.

An Interpersonal Process Group allows you to learn how to make needed changes in a safe and supportive environment. In group therapy, you can gain the experience and benefit of:

1. Peer Support

Group therapy helps each member to open up, learn about each other, give support, and receive support.

2. Better Communication Skills

Group therapy offers opportunities to learn how to set and uphold boundaries, show respect, and effectively communicate with others your thoughts and emotions.

3. Build Connections

Continued attendance in interpersonal process group sessions teaches you active listening skills and how to be a good friend. When you are more in tune with others, people will be more likely to trust and talk to you.

4. Renewed Sense of Understanding

It’s easy to feel as though you’re alone - that you’re the only one with certain problems which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation.

Participating in group therapy can teach you that others have gone through similar situations and that you’re not so different from anyone else. This understanding can help eliminate the lonely feelings you experience.

5. Being Vulnerable

Putting ourselves out there comes with risks. It can cause you to lose friends or make a mess of relationships. For this reason, many people choose to close themselves off from new people. Yet, the rewards of learning to be vulnerable releases anxiety. Furthermore, it can strengthen relationships and lead to greater confidence.


The Role of a Therapist in a Process Group

A therapist facilitating a Process Group will work to:

  • Identify problematic thoughts and behaviors
  • Model effective communication
  • Offer strategies to solve problems
  • Promote self-acceptance and support
  • And more

With each new session, you’ll learn new coping mechanisms and interpersonal relationship skills that can lead to better friendships and relationships, which will result in a more fulfilling life. 

Interpersonal process groups teach you to open up, to be more in tune, and to trust others. Plus, you’ll gain a greater sense of confidence in social situations which you may have previously lacked.

Although individual therapy has its benefits, interpersonal process groups allow you to learn new skills for living a better life, and with this new-found knowledge, you can maintain healthier, more fulfilling relationships.


How can we help you?  

We offer both individual and group therapies in NYC and Austin, TX.





Brian Traeger Profile Photo-1

Brian Trager, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist




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