Private Practice Success: The Importance of Pre-Screening Group Members


Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP

The screening process is an important component of starting your psychotherapy group. It is considered standard practice to meet with your potential clients individually at least 2-3 times to decide if they are good candidates for your group.

  •  The pre-group session provides clients with the opportunity to gain a clear understanding about what really happens in group
  •  If we prepare the client, then the client is “set up to succeed” in group
  • Screening helps determine whether your group is the right group for the client. For example, your client may be the parent of a troubled teenager and only wants to be in a group where other members have children. If your group does not contain any members who have children, this may not be the right group for the client.
  • This may not be the right time for a client to join your group. Some clients may need more individual therapy prior to joining a group. Scheduling may be an issue. A potential client may have several long business trips planned or a childcare issue which would interfere with his/her ability to attend group regularly.
  • Meeting with potential group members prior to them joining your group creates an opportunity for a therapeutic alliance to develop.

Try not to take any shortcuts with this process. It’s an important step in getting your group off the ground and retaining members.


Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in West LA and Silver Lake. Maria specializes in trauma and addiction. To learn more about Maria’s marketing workshop, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Building A Profitable Private Practice But Were Afraid To Ask see her website: mythrivingpractice.net. Her next workshop is scheduled for June 4th.