Assumptions about Group Therapy

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[PHONE RINGING]

FEMALE SPEAKER: Hello, my name is Kelly. I came across info about your services online, and since I know you’re in the mental health field, I wanted to get your take on something. Is that OK or do I need to make an appointment?

MALE SPEAKER: NO, that’s OK. What’s your question?

FEMALE SPEAKER: Great. OK, so things have been a bit of a struggle for me lately. Work is really stressful. My family situation is kind of a mess, and I often find myself turning to alcohol to make it all go away. And it’s worse than just having a drink or two to take the edge off. I’ve been getting really drunk really often. I know it’s not right but I don’t know what else to do. I want to get some help, so I started looking at information on the Internet, and I was reading about group therapy. In some ways, it sounds perfect for me, but I’m not really sure. Being with a group of strangers and talking about my issue seems a little weird, and I don’t quite understand why it’s helpful. What you know about it? Do you think it’s for me? And if so, what I do next?

“How will getting together with a group of strangers and talking about my personal problems help me? That’s nobody else’s business.” This likely represents what some people think when they first consider group therapy. What would your reaction be if you sought help and learned you were going to be in group therapy? Struggling through personal problems can be just that—personal. Close examination of one’s most damaging behaviors requires courage. Fear of judgment is one reason many people avoid therapy. Group therapy takes it a step further. In addition to the therapist, group therapy requires opening up to a group of individuals. This increases personal exposure and the risk of judgment. It is not surprising that many people balk at the idea of group therapy; however, once a person understands the many potential benefits of group therapy, it can become a very helpful and cost-effective treatment modality. For example, group therapy often builds a community based on shared experiences. This community supports members as they face their personal struggles.

For this Discussion, review the media titled “Audio Therapist: Group Therapy Client.” Think about how you might respond to the client on the phone. Provide information about the benefits and limitations of group therapy and some differences between group therapy and individual therapy. Use your own words in clear terms as though you are speaking directly to a client.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 your response to the client in the scenario. Include an explanation of at least two benefits and two limitations of group therapy. Describe the group process and explain the potential effectiveness of group therapy versus individual therapy. Provide the rationale for your response to the client. Be specific and use the Learning Resources and the current literature to support your response.

  • . D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.
    • Chapter 16, “Group Therapy: Ancestors and Cousins” (pp. 525–541)
  • Karau, S. J., & Elsaid, A. M. M. K. (2009). Individual differences in beliefs about groups. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 13(1), 1–13.
  • Kemp, R. (2010). The emergence of group and community therapies: A metabletic enquiry. Existential Analysis: Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, 21(2), 282–294.
  • Kivlighan, D. M., Jr., & Miles, J. R. (2007). Content themes in group dynamics: Theory, research, and practice, 1997–2002. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 11(3), 129–139.
  • Rosenthal, L. (2005). Resistance in group therapy: The interrelationship of individual and group resistance. Modern
  • Stockton, R. (2010). The art and science of group counseling. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 35(4), 324–330.

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