Group Training for Psychiatric Residents: Support Group Facilitation and Supervision with Didactics

Acad Psychiatry. 2021 Jun;45(3):339-344. doi: 10.1007/s40596-020-01338-2. Epub 2020 Oct 26.


Objective: Group psychotherapy merits dedicated training during psychiatry residency yet is challenging to implement given competing educational requirements. The authors implemented a voluntary support group training intervention for psychiatry residents consisting of a 6-h didactic series followed by at least 6 months of in vivo group facilitation and supervision. We hypothesized participation would improve residents' self-reported skill and knowledge in group facilitation.

Methods: Psychiatry residents (PGY I-IV) voluntarily participated in this novel intervention that included a didactic series followed by experiential group facilitation and supervision. To assess confidence and self-reported skill level in group facilitation, residents completed two brief self-report surveys: before the didactic series (pre-intervention) and after group facilitation for at least 6 months (post-intervention). Surveys included Likert scales and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and open-ended qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Twenty-three residents attended 4 to 6 h of didactics between 2016 and 2018. Of these 23 residents, 12 facilitated groups and attended supervision for at least 6 months. Twenty residents responded to pre-intervention surveys and 14 responded to post-intervention surveys. After the intervention, respondents reported a significant increase in knowledge and skills in group facilitation of 88% (15/17) on Likert scale questions.

Conclusions: This study implemented a novel educational intervention to train psychiatric residents in group dynamics and group facilitation. Participation increased residents' self-reported knowledge and skills in group facilitation. Future directions include incorporating feedback about group curriculum, evaluating resident knowledge and skills using assessment measures, recruiting more group participants, and focusing on peer-to-peer mentoring.

Keywords: Group psychotherapy training; Resident education; Support group.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Surveys and Questionnaires