1st Edition

Group Radical Openness An Intervention for Overcontrol

By Richard Booth, Rachel Egan Copyright 2023
    220 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative book introduces Group Radical Openness (GRO), a group treatment for individuals who struggle with costly and harmful overcontrol.

    The book opens with the background and evolution of GRO, followed by a thorough description of how to assess overcontrol. This novel group approach draws on both Group Therapy and Polyvagal Theory and encourages an entirely different way of working with this client group. It explores the concept of overcontrol, describing a pattern of distance in relationships, rigidity, and emotional inhibition. The 27-session group treatment leads the participants on a journey where they develop trust and safety with each other, show flexibility, and become more emotionally aware and expressive. Chapters feature engaging clinical examples and strikingly original exercises.

    This book is aimed at clinicians looking for ways to effectively treat disorders characterised by excessive self-control, such as mood disorders, eating disorders, and certain personality disorders. This will be an important resource in a wide range of mental health and forensic settings.

    1. The Journey to Group Radical Openness (GRO) 2. Setting up a GRO Programme 3. Assessing for GRO 4. Cues of Safety, Cues of Danger 5. Distance in Relationships 6. Rigidity 7. Inhibited Emotion 8. The GROhari Exercise 9. The Tracker 10. Ending 11. References 12. Appendix A 13. Appendix B 14. Appendix C 15. Index


    Richard Booth, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, researcher and trainer. He is an Honorary Fellow of University College Dublin. He was Director of Psychology at St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services for 25 years. He currently focuses on training and supervision for Group Radical Openness.

    Rachel Egan, D.Psych., Sc., is a principal clinical psychologist in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services. She previously worked in the Irish Prison Service. Rachel is currently the clinical lead of the Group Radical Openness programme and she offers trainings and supervision in this intervention.

    ‘This is an original, thoughtful, well-written, and practical text for mental health professionals. Based on the authors rich and extensive clinical experience, this volume describes their novel group intervention for adults who are overcontrolled. This is a client group for whom mental health professionals often struggle to offer something therapeutically meaningful as the transdiagnostic nature of their difficulties goes unaddressed. I highly recommend it to students and experienced therapists alike.’

    Gary O’Reilly, Professor and Director, Doctoral Training Programme in Clinical Psychology, University College Dublin 

    ‘In this fantastic new book, Rachel Egan and Richard Booth introduce their innovative approach to working with excessive self-control known as Group Radical Openness (GRO). The book outlines the origins of GRO, how and why it developed, some of the key ideas underpinning it, as well as a helpful and engaging session-by-session description of the group. This manual will be essential reading for any clinician, but more specifically, for those wanting to help people with excessive self-control.’

    Chris Irons, PhD, Director of Balanced Minds, co-author of The Compassionate Mind Workbook

    ‘Richard and Rachel's book sets out their humane and practical approach towards helping people whose lives are negatively affected by overcontrol. Working in a specialist personality disorder service, we have found GRO invaluable as an accessible and acceptable treatment for a highly distressed group of people. I can highly recommend this book to clinicians working with people who suffer problems related to overcontrol.’

    Tim Agnew, MBChB, FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist NHS Scotland, Chair of the Scottish Personality Disorder Network

    ‘This book is an outstanding addition to clinical care. The sessions in GRO are thoughtful and, in many cases, highly original. The most impressive part is how Richard and Rachel structure the programme, resulting in the participants becoming more empowered as the group progresses, and taking ownership of their therapy. In my own work with Trauma, I see how GRO would be invaluable to those who are overcontrolled and embarking on a healing journey.’

    Deirdre Fay, MSW, author of Becoming Safely Embodied and Attachment Based Yoga & Meditation for Trauma

    ‘Group Radical Openness (GRO) has allowed us to provide treatment for men in our service who are overcontrolled. The personal testimonies of the men who have completed GRO showed how much they gained from participating in the programme. They found that the content increased their personal insight and resulted in many of them becoming more flexible, more open to emotion, and more connected with others. We would highly recommend Rachel and Richard’s book to anyone looking for an effective way of working with overcontrol.’

    GRO Clinical Team, Westgate Personality Disorder Treatment Service, HMP Frankland