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Group psychotherapy
From a personal construct theory perspective, there may be several advantages in carrying out psychotherapy in a group setting, and some of these were originally noted by George Kelly. The group provides a laboratory in which group members can carry out social experiments; it may facilitate the development of a more comprehensive social role; it may promote the revision of constellatory and preemptive constructs; and it may encourage dispersion of dependencies. There is considerable research evidence from studies employing repertory grid technique that group psychotherapy, conducted from various theoretical perspectives, may lead to reconstruction, for example to more favourable self-construing and greater construed similarity of the self to others (Winter, 1992a, 2003).

Kelly’s (1955) original method of personal construct group psychotherapy, in which the group is considered to pass through a series of stages and different therapeutic approaches are used at each stage, is now rarely used. However, later personal construct theorists have developed new group therapy methods, most of which employ structured exercises. One of the most commonly used of these is the Interpersonal Transaction Group (Landfield and Rivers, 1975; Neimeyer, 1988), in which part of the group session is conducted in rotating dyads, where each member interacts with every other on a theme provided by the group therapist. These interactions are then discussed in a plenary phase of the group.

Personal construct group psychotherapy has been employed with clients presenting with a wide range of problems, and including children, adolescents, adults of working age, and older people (Winter, 1992b, 1997). Research evidence has been provided of the effectiveness of several of these applications (see personal construct psychotherapy, effectiveness).


  • Kelly, G.A. (1955). The Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: Norton (republished by Routledge, 1991).
  • Landfield, A.W. and Rivers, P.C. (1975). An introduction to interpersonal transaction and rotating dyads. Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice, 12, 366-74.
  • Neimeyer, R.A. (1988). Clinical guidelines for conducting Interpersonal Transaction Groups. International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology, 1, 181-90.
  • Winter, D.A. (1992a). Repertory grid technique as a group psychotherapy research instrument. Group Analysis, 25, 449-62.
  • Winter, D.A. (1992b). Personal Construct Psychology in Clinical Practice: Theory, Research and Applications. London: Routledge.
  • Winter, D.A. (1997). Personal construct perspectives on group psychotherapy. In P. Denicolo and M. Pope (eds.), Sharing Understanding and Practice. Farnborough: EPCA Publications.
  • Winter, D.A. (2003). Psychotherapy Research, in press.

David A. Winter

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004