Group therapy

Group therapy is more powerful than individual therapy for some patients, and more economical of resources. Groups may use any of the analytical, cognitive, and behavioural techniques described above.

Selection criteria are similar to those for psychotherapy in general. Group therapy is especially suitable for patients whose main problems concern relationships with others, and patients with a shared problem: alcohol or drug misuse, anxiety, and childhood sexual abuse, for example. Shy patients who find it difficult to participate in group discussion may not benefit, whereas talkative patients may monopolize a group and arouse hostility from the other members, but a skilled therapist can encourage both types to play a more balanced part.

The therapist should facilitate trust and open disclosure, and encourage regular attendance. Factors likely to impede the group's success, such as dropping out, lateness, absences, socialization outside the group, breaches of confidentiality, and subgrouping, should be discouraged.

Some therapists act as detached leaders; others participate more actively. Some groups have two co-therapists, preferably of equal status.

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