Relational Group Psychotherapy: the Healing of Stress, Neglect and Trauma

Richard G. Erskine

Abstract


This article is the Keynote Address given at the 4th International Integrative Psychotherapy Association Conference, April 17, 2009. In speaking to the conference theme of “Acute Trauma, Cumulative Neglect, and Chronic Stress” the article describes some of the principles of Relational Group Psychotherapy. The theory of methods is based on the concept that the healing of trauma, neglect and stress occurs through a contactful therapeutic relationship. Relational group psychotherapy draws from several developments in group therapy, particularly the cybernetic feedback and other-centered models. It emphasizes the healing power of relationships between group members and the importance of phenomenological inquiry, affective attunement, identification, and relational-needs. The leader’s tasks are to stimulate the flow of contactful dialogue and to teach about human needs and healthy relationships.

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