Case Study: Psychotherapy Group for Schizophrenia
Research studies have demonstrated that group and family therapy are as effective as individual therapy in addressing various conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction, and schizophrenia (Burlingame, 2003). In part due to these studies, group therapy’s demand is growing, with psychologists asked to lead group therapy in schools, hospitals, and community healthcare settings. However, group therapy is an evidence-based specialty, and the ability to successfully run a therapy group requires special skills and group therapy techniques (Magen, 2001). This paper focuses on analyzing the psychotherapy group for schizophrenia.
Major group therapy techniques
A major group therapy technique observed in the case is reflection. Besides highlighting the session’s agenda and objectives, the group therapy facilitator recaps their previous session conclusion and assignments. Also, she allows the member to fully understand others’ comments and point out how they can relate to such statements. Moreover, the facilitator summarizes the current group session, allowing the members to comprehend the bigger picture.
The group facilitator also exploits the active listening technique to develop a dynamic, positive, and healthy interaction. The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) (2007) states that, this strategy allows group members to be more open as they perceive being listened to. The facilitator encourages group members to ask and affirm questions to further explore the problem for better outcomes. She also uses empathy and tone-setting to enhance group interactions. Through tone setting, the facilitator establishes a serious, formal, social, and supportive environment to improve the group outcomes.
Genuineness and unconditional positive regard are other group therapy techniques observed in the case. The therapist creates congruence between herself and her verbal and non-verbal cues. She uses these cues to convey genuine opinions to the group members without looking judgmental. Unconditional positive regard is conveyed through the therapist’s respect for her client’s choices, thus expressing warmth and respect.
Reflection is among the most effective techniques that I perceive the therapist uses. She begins by recapping the previous session, asks about assignments, and provide a detailed framework of the current session. However, besides reflection, I would consider using icebreakers to avoid rigidity and enhance the group’s liveliness.
The person-centered group therapy model accentuates that a warm group environment that encourages acceptance enhances group therapy outcomes (Delgadillo & Gonzalez Salas Duhne, 2020). The person-centered group therapy model is based on the premise that inner resources such as communication, active listening, and confrontation are essential in enhancing the group’s potential (Delgadillo & Gonzalez Salas Duhne, 2020). Aldrian group work concepts emphasize social development, cooperation, and group therapy education. His theory particularly accentuates that group therapy should be based on social interests, including interest in others’. The theorist believed that people’s understanding of the world is not objective but enhanced by their experiences with the world itself (Delgadillo & Gonzalez Salas Duhne, 2020). Thus, an individual’s reaction is not random but purposeful in all its motive, thus controlling their fate and goals. Therefore, active listening and good communication gives insight into an individual’s perception of the world, encouraging their future objectives.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves the primary processes of offering therapy, including challenging automatic and negative thoughts, encouraging patients to find logic in their perceptions (Delgadillo & Gonzalez Salas Duhne, 2020). Through encouraging group reflection, the therapist plays a significant role in challenging such ideas. Group reflection provides group members with an opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions concerning a shared experience (Burlingame, 2003). Group reflection in a therapy team helps build trust within the members, draw out learning and insightful ideas the group can build on in the future (Burlingame, 2003). Group members primarily reflect as individuals, share their reflection with the group, then the facilitator encourages collective thoughts to discuss insights and potential activities to draw from the session
Dealing with Difficult Members
Dealing with difficult group members can be challenging. However, as a group, I would first accept the problem and reflect on potential factors causing the problem. Consequently, I would respectfully approach the member to listen and discuss in depth about his/her problem. Ultimately, I would work with the member to brainstorm insightful solutions to the problem and establish follow-up programs.
To elicit group participation, I would consider providing members with the session’s agenda before the meeting, allowing them to learn about its objectives and draw insightful ideas. Scheduling the appointment at a favorable time of the day and also considering every member’s availability, is essential in enhancing member’s activeness and contributions to the group (AGPA, 2020). It is also necessary to assume that the group members have diverse and confounding issues and goals. Thus, it is crucial to be conscious of the verbal and nonverbal ways of communication, as well as acknowledge other channels of communication such as disruptive behavior, nods of disapproval, approval, or applause. Ultimately, I would encourage discussions to generate solutions as members might be more willing to acknowledge and participate in a group if they are potential solutions to deal with the problem (Magen, 2001). This perspective can enhance positivity, encourage optimism, and demonstrate groups’ power to help individuals tackle specific challenges.
Anticipated findings in different stages of group therapy
The initial stage of group therapy is to establish expectations such as trust, goals, and roles as well as address cultural concerns. At this stage, I anticipate that members would be reluctant to open up to the group due to various factors like culture and trust. The transition phase is exceptionally challenging as members are anticipated to be anxious about sharing with strangers, resulting in some members being defensive and resistant while others become fearful and shy. After the kinks of the transition phase, it is anticipated that members open up to their issues without feeling judged and allowed to reflect on the group sessions at the final stage for future courses of action.