Research has indicated that a freely interacting process group, with few restrictions, will eventually develop into a social microcosm of the participants. Group therapy provides an excellent opportunity for clients to experience multiple simultaneous feedback, reaction and interaction from group members in a safe environment. Within the context of a process group, clients thus have the opportunity to quickly demonstrate their interpersonal difficulties and pathology.
According to Dr. Irvin Yalom, a pioneer in utilizing group therapy in treatment of major mental health disorder, there are twelve distinct factors that contribute to the therapeutic benefits of being a part of a group therapy: insight, the instillation of hope, universality, imparting information, altruism, corrective recapitulation of the primary family system, development of socializing techniques imitative behavior, interpersonal learning, group cohesiveness, catharsis and existential factors. Yalom contends that catharsis is a necessary but not sufficient condition for therapeutic change.
Effectiveness of group Therapy:
Group therapy is a potent modality producing significant benefit to its participants. A great deal of research had attempted to determine the relative effectiveness of group versus individual therapy, and the results are clear: there is considerable evidence that group therapy is at least as efficacious as individual therapy. An early review of the 32 existing well-controlled experimental studies that compared individual and group therapy indicated that group therapy was more effective than individual therapy in 25 percent of the studies. In the other 75 percent, there were no significant difference between group and individual therapy. A more recent review using a rigorous meta-analysis demonstrated similar findings. Other reviews have reached similar conclusions and underscore that group therapy is also more efficient than individual therapy by a factor of two to one and perhaps as much as four to one.
Research indicates that group therapy has specific benefits: it is for example superior to individual therapy in the area of social learning, developing social support, and improving social network, factors of great importance in reducing relapse for clients with substance use disorder. It is more effective than individual approaches for obesity and for clients with medical illness. Adding group therapy to the treatment of woman who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse provides benefits beyond individual therapy: it results in greater empowerment and psychological well-being.
The evidence for the effectiveness of group therapy is so persuasive that some experts advocate that group that group therapy be utilized as the primary model of contemporary psychotherapy. Individual therapy, however, may be preferable for clients who require active clinical management, or when relationship issues are less important and personal insight and understanding are particularly important.
Groups Offered at LATI:
Stress Management Group for Law Professionals
Adolescents Resiliency Group