Group approaches to treatment

In group therapy, a group of clients meet with one or more therapists. E.g. a group of women who have been sexually abused in childhood and now suffer from depressive episodes

Advantages of group therapy:

  1. It is less expensive than individual therapy: the therapist can counsel several clients at the same time
  2. It provides a support group for the client and reduces dependency on the therapist
  3. It helps clients to realise that they are not alone – one of the great stresses for individuals with mental disorders is the feeling that they are abnormal and that their problems are unique and insurmountable
  4. It helps to foster the social skills and confidence that are often lacking in people with mental disorders by providing a safe, supportive environment

But there are also disadvantages to group therapy

  1. If used on its own, it may not allow patients to get to the heart of their personal problems
  2. Some individuals might not want to disclose their problems in a group
  3. Confidentiality might also be an issue, despite the requirements set out by the therapist
  4. Normal group dynamics might meant that the therapy is not equally useful for all members. E.g. one individual might feel that he is not being heard in the group or that others are getting priority from the therapist
  5. Group therapy might not be appropriate for some cultures. Al Mutlaq & Chaleby (1995) have identified several problems with group therapy when applied to Arabic cultures. These include the existence of strict gender roles, deference to members in the group on the basis of age or status, and the misperception that the therapy session is simply another social activity A very interesting read about milieu therapy where the whole social context of the hospital ward is utilised to provide a therapeutic community. Think about the SCLOA as you read and annotate with thoughts about the content of the article relates to LOs from this level of analysis.
group therapy.doc