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Relational group psychotherapy refers to a form of therapy in which group members, individually and collectively, advance via a meaning-making process from experience, through expression, to cocreated understanding. Relational group psychotherapy is based on relational theory and assumes that the defining characteristics of group life are mutually generated by unconscious as well as conscious participation by all group members, including the therapist.

Historical Context

Relational theory builds on multiple psychotherapy constructs—particularly neo-Freudian, Kleinian, Winnicottean, interpersonal, intersubjective, and self theory—as well as on recent empirical literature on early infancy and parent–child attachment. The common denominator is an emphasis on relationships, internal and external, and their dynamic, life-supporting qualities rather than on intrapsychic or “one-person” metapsychological entities like drives, defenses, ego structure, or an archeological unconscious.

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