Therapists Talk 
Shrink Rap 


    Michael E. Holtby, LCSW, BCD



Group sessions will begin and end on time. Please arrive a few minutes early. If you are going to be late, call and notify me so I can consider this in starting and directing the session.


It is extremely important that we can trust what is said will be kept within the group. Unless otherwise specified, we can presume that anything shared in a session is confidential. You can talk about your own experience, or that of others if you are very careful not to reveal their identities.


This group is about your relationships with friends, family and lovers. The best way to work on that is not talking about it, but through your relationships with other group members. The goal is to get close to one another, and in that spirit what takes precedent is anything about our lives which helps us understand each other. Reactions to one another takes the highest priority, to develop and maintain the group cohesiveness. Group topics will cover the gamut, ie. coming out, sex, HIV etc., but if you are just reporting vs. relating or thinking of group in terms of wanting to get "your time" you will miss the point.


Group members are not discouraged from socializing outside of the group sessions. However, any contacts or alliances are fair game to bring up and discuss in a session. NO SECRETS! Also any relevant events in member's lives which impact the group, ie. a hospitalization or addiction relapse etc. will be presumed to be information not to be kept from the group. You will be provided with a list of the group members' names, phone numbers and addresses. If you do not wish your work phone, or other information to be on the list, please let me know. The purpose of the list is to facilitate your contacting one another, whether it be for the need of a ride to group, or for a social reason.


A group is a "social microcosm" in that it mirrors the ways members relate to people outside of group. The primary difference is that we can talk about the process. Thus, you can expect some difficulties with other group members, or the therapist. As a committed member of the group you have an obligation to attempt to work out these difficulties and conflicts. This means they must be brought up and aired. Most relationships which involve intimacy, also involve occasional conflict. Groups are often revitalized by the honesty and openness of these confrontations. We will also be looking at how this process is handled outside of group, and how your difficulties in group reflect the rest of your relationships.


Each group member has the right to say "no" to anything which is asked of him during a session. Protect your own personal boundaries.


Each member has the responsibility to ask for what he wants, in a direct way, to insure that his needs are met by the group. This is particularly true in terms of asking for time to discuss your individual concerns. I also ask that you not come to group under the influence of alcohol or drugs -- if this is evident you will be asked to leave the session, and your continued membership will be in jeopardy.


An initial two month commitment is required to establish the group culture, after which group members need to give one week's notice prior to termination. Its very important other group members have the opportunity to process your leaving, so it is not sufficient to only tell me you are leaving. You need to give the group a week's notice, and do so at the beginning of the session. In the event that you do not honor this commitment, you will be charged for any sessions for which your place in group has been held open. If you do give notice, but do so by phone and do not do a termination session with the group, you will be charged for a final session -- whether you attend or not.


The stability and continuity of the group is crucial to its success. It matters when group members are absent. For this reason regular attendance is strongly encouraged. Please give notice of an absence. Also, be aware that since each member is not replaceable when absent, you are essentially buying a place in group. Thus, there is a monthly membership fee versus a weekly cost. If you miss group, what you pay remains the same. The exception is those months in which I miss group sessions or we have to cancel due to snow. You will be notified in the event of a snow cancellation.


The cost of group is $60 per weekly two hour session. Payment is due at the beginning of the month (for all sessions that month), and only in special hardship cases are other arrangements made -- in advance. You can pay by check, cash, Visa or MasterCard. Upon payment I will give you a receipt with the information you need to file an insurance claim.


Group doesn't have to be an ordeal. Usually a nice sense of humor develops which helps us be close and enjoy each other. Group shouldn't always be "heavy" topics, and small talk isn't necessarily irrelevant when our main goal is close relationships between group members.



Last messed with February 23, 2015

Copyright(c) 2001 Michael E. Holtby, LCSW. All rights reserved.