Group psychotherapy is for people who have problems with relationships. And who hasn’t had some problem with relationships, either personal, professional or both at some point in their lives? That is why I believe, at one time or another, we are all good candidates for group psychotherapy. Many of us do not know how we come across in relationships. As a consequence, we develop maladaptive ways of communicating that are ultimately destructive and self-destructive to our intense emotional relationships. Group psychotherapy can help with that. Group psychotherapy can be thought of as a healing of the soul, an education or even a re-education of one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. This is my idea of emotional intelligence. More than twenty years ago, Daniel Goleman popularized the term ”emotional intelligence”. It can be defined as the capability of individuals to recognize their own feelings and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal. It is the ability to read, to understand and to appropriately respond to one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. Some say it’s a gift. Some say it’s a skill. I say it’s most likely a combination of both a gift and a skill and it can be honed in group psychotherapy. But it can only be honed with a leader who understands how to foster progressive emotional communication in interactions between group members, and who is simultaneously aware of the need for safety in group. This is created when the leader establishes secure boundaries, where members are anonymous to each other outside of group and the leader’s relationship to the members is solely limited to that of doctor/patient. Further, in order for a group leader to foster progressive emotional communication between members they must be trained in the skill of having a quick ear to discern when progressive emotional communication is taking place and when it’s not. I’ll have more to say about that in the next blog entry.