Can We Talk About Inpatient Groups? By Dr. Katja Hajek, Consulting Clinical Psychologist


The time patients spend on wards can be a passive and lonely experience but it can also be used productively to help people with the one area that dominates all our lives, relating to others.  

Throughout my years working on inpatient psychiatric wards at The Maudsley, Lambeth and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London, there has  been an expectation that staff would run patient groups. Groups are an ideal format for patients to support each other, improve their social functioning and reduce isolation. They also allow input from clinicians to help create a therapeutic environment. Groups on wards are clearly a good idea. 

However, ward staff have very little or no preparation, knowledge nor the confidence. However, they are not prepared to run groups.

To address this basic need, plans are progressing to hosting a one-day workshop on “Inpatient Groups” in February in Sydenham, using the interpersonal model based on Irvin Yaloms’ outstanding work.

As an accompaniment to the book I have co-written, I have produced a DVD, showing a group session with volunteer patients, introducing the workshop attendees to the core principles and skills required of group work in this specific setting.

Group processes and the therapeutic skills that are typically only discussed as theoretical concepts, can be better explained and understood, by watching specific examples from a real group. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to try the newly learnt skills.

To express interest or for more information, please contact me.