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Group Section

The Group Section was formally established in February 1998. At the first meeting there was a good attendance of members from the Institute of Group Analysis (London) who work in the public sector and there was a lively and open discussion of the relevant issues. These included, exploring what the aims and objectives of a Group Section might be, its role within the wider APP organisation and the question of the eligibility of group analytic psychotherapists qualified via different routes for full APP membership. At the end of that meeting a small working group was formed to begin developing the new section. This group now has 6 members and we hope to increase this to 7 or 8 in the near future. The section has 2 seats on council. Ian Simpson, Chair of the section, occupies one and Chris Scanlon the other.

The working group has also spent a lot of time struggling with the difficult and contentious issue of the eligibility of group analytic psychotherapists for full membership of the APP. We have looked at the various group psychotherapy trainings on offer in this country and how these matched the criteria for full membership for group analysts outlined in the 1997 AGM resolution. The only training which met these criteria was the London Qualifying course of the Institute of Group Analysis. However, as the Institute of Group Analysis has regional courses training courses which confer full membership of the Institute of Group Analysis we were presented with a problem.

Specifically the alternative, routes offered on the Manchester Diploma Course, and a new Diploma course in Glasgow, are offered as block trainings which contain only trainees and as such do not meet the eligibility criteria for the ‘personal therapy’ component of the courses. This issue has been discussed at some length within the Group Section itself and by the Council and we have managed to reach what we consider to be an interim compromise position. The Council has agreed to accept IGA Diploma members qualified through the Manchester and other regional Diploma courses as full members of the APP for an interim period of 5 years beginning in 1997 and ending in 2002. In this way the Council wishes to acknowledge the dilemma presented by the IGA’s dual routes to full IGA membership and hopes that this 5 year period of grace will open the way for the IGA to promote and develop training group analysts in the regions, which will in turn enable the establishment of a structure of twice weekly ‘stranger’ groups similar to those required by the London Qualifying Course.

For the future, the section proposes to look at issues like the clinical effectiveness of group psychotherapy, particularly within NHS and Primary Care settings, the relationship between Group Analysis and the Therapeutic Community movement, the relationship of group analytic theory and practice to individual psychoanalysis and the political, managerial and clinical implications of group analytic theory and practice in understanding and influencing organisational structures.

Initial contact to the committee

Angela Douglas
Sally Stamp

Committee members -list to be updated

Ian Simpson- Head of Department of Psychotherapy, St Thomas’ Hospital.

Chris Scanlon - Adult Psychotherapist/Training co-ordinator Henderson Hospital Outreach Service Team (HOST).

Roberta Green - Adult Psychotherapist and Head of Speech and Language Therapy Charing Cross Hospital, Ealing Hammersmith & Fulham Mental Health Trust.

Peter Mark - Adult Psychotherapist, Department of Psychotherapy, Charing Cross Hospital, Ealing Hammersmith & Fulham Mental Health Trust.

John Hook - Consultant Psychotherapist, Southampton.

Sandra Evans - Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Psychological Medicine, St Bartholomew’s Hospital.


Educational: The inaugural Group Section conference was on 11th of June 1999 at the Tavistock Centre. The theme of the conference was Group Psychotherapy in the NHS and the principal speakers were Dr. Jane Knowles and Dr Earl Hopper. The day’s programme included speakers and small and large group experiences and a business meeting for group section members during the lunch break. The aim was for individual psychotherapists to join us since the section not only wishes to promote group psychotherapy, within the context of the NHS, but also to explore and develop links with colleagues whose main interests may lie elsewhere.


Research/publications: Members of the group section are active members of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR UK), and the research committees of the Association of Therapeutic Committees (ATC) and the Institute of Group Analysis

Clinical: Members of the group Section would be available to offer clinical, educational and organisation consultation services to clinical teams.

Liaison: The group section committee maintains links with a number of professional organisations including:

    The Institute of Group Analysis (London)
    The Group Analytic Society
    The British Association of Group Psychotherapists
    The Association of Therapeutic Communitees
    The Society for Psychotherapy Research
    The European Federation for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (EFPP)