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Certification of the Group Therapist

Certification is an essential part of becoming a professional group therapist. The main organization that provides such certification is the American Group Psychotherapy Association. They designate the two key areas required for certification in the following categories, education and experience. The education of the group therapist is essential to his or her success in the field and that includes at least twelve credit hours every year in the group therapy discipline after you have achieved your graduate degree. The experience part is also essential to being able to apply the theories you gain from your education.

The education of a group therapist is an essential aspect to his or her success. The schooling will provide the group therapist with all of the right responses for the experiences that they are about to go through in group therapy sessions. When a patient reacts a specific way, the training is intended to give the group therapist the proper response to that reaction. This training is all the more important in a group setting as the group therapist will need to react quick and calm enough to maintain the composure of an entire group rather than just a single patient.

The experience aspect of the certification of a group therapist is probably even more essential than the education at times. There is no substitute for hands on experience when dealing with a field that intends to heal people, specifically other people’s minds. Many of the theories that you learn in your education will need to be slightly tweaked to fit more accurately within the framework of your particular group therapy sessions. The group therapist must document 300 hours of actual group therapy every year to be certified, among which 75 of those hours must be supervised.

A group therapist is also required to gain two professional references to verify the member for the sake of his certification. This is on top of gaining all necessary state licensures and professional designations based upon the specific field of group therapy that you would like to practice in (alcohol addiction, child behavior, etc)

Getting Certified.

Once you have all of the documentation to back up all of the credentials necessary that are listed above, you must pay a few fees provide the documentation and you will become certified to practice group therapy. The AGPA also requires a copy of your liability insurance while practicing group therapy as well as an initial $420.00 fee which will be reduced significantly for recertification every two years.

Certification is an essential aspect to the success any group therapist. The merits it grants your name are invaluable and absolutely necessary for you to do well in that field. The group therapist also can gain many contacts through the certification process as it puts you in touch with other certified group therapists that you must contend with to gain your certification. There are also conferences and listings of group therapists in any given area allowing you a network of people with the same profession.