Group Therapy

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Group Therapy
Chapter 13 Treatment of Psychological Disorders
Some Examples of
Negative Thinking
Here are just a few examples of
the kinds of thoughts that
cognitive-behavior therapists
see as underlying anxiety, depression, and
other behavior problems. After reading this
list, try writing an alternative thought that
clients could use to replace each of these ingrained cognitive habits. Then jot down a
“homework assignment” that you would
recommend to help clients challenge each
maladaptive statement and thus develop
new ways of thinking about themselves.
“I shouldn’t draw attention to myself.”
“I will never be any good at this.”
“It would be so awful if I don’t know the answer.”
“Everyone is smarter than I am.”
“Nobody likes me.”
“I should be able to do this job perfectly.”
“What if I panic?”
“I’ll never be happy.”
“I should have accomplished more by this point in my life.”
getting advice on hanging a picture, or cutting the grass. Success at accomplishing even
one of these tasks provides concrete evidence to challenge a false belief that has supported depression or anxiety, thus helping to reduce it (Beck et al., 1992; Mullin, 2000).
As described in the chapter on psychological disorders, however, depression, anxiety, and some other disorders may not be due entirely to specific thoughts or beliefs
about specific situations (Beck, 2002). Sometimes they stem from a more general cognitive style that leads people to expect that the worst will always happen to them and
to assume that negative events occur because they are completely and permanently
incompetent and worthless (Peterson, 1995; Peterson & Seligman, 1984). So cognitivebehavior therapists also help clients to develop more optimistic ways of thinking and
to reduce their tendency to blame themselves for negative outcomes (Persons,
Davidson, & Tompkins, 2001). In some cases, cognitive restructuring is combined with
practice at using logical thinking, anxiety management techniques, and skill training—
all designed to help clients experience success and develop confidence in situations in
which they had previously expected to fail (Beck & Beck, 1995).
Group, Family, and Couples Therapy
䉴 How does group therapy differ from individual therapy?
The one-to-one methods of psychodynamic, humanistic, and behavioral treatment we
have described are often adapted for use with groups of clients or family units (Petrocelli,
2002; Rosen, Stukenberg, & Saeks, 2001; Scheidinger, 2004; Thorngren & Kleist, 2002).
Group Therapy
group therapy Psychotherapy involving six to twelve unrelated individuals.
Group therapy refers to the treatment of several clients under the guidance of a therapist who encourages helpful interactions among group members. Many groups are
organized around one type of problem (such as alcoholism) or one type of client (such
as adolescents). In most cases, six to twelve clients meet with their therapist at least
once a week for about two hours. All group members agree to hold confidential everything that occurs within group sessions.
Group therapy offers features not found in individual treatment (Marmarosh, Holtz,
& Schottenbauer, 2005; Ogrondniczuk & Piper, 2003; Yalom, 1995). First, group therapy allows the therapist to observe clients interacting with one another. Second, groups
encourage their members to talk about themselves and explore their feelings. As they
listen to each other, clients often feel less alone because they realize that many people
are struggling with difficulties at least as severe as their own. This realization tends to
raise each client’s expectations for improvement, a factor important in all forms of
treatment. Third, group members can boost one another’s self-confidence and selfacceptance as they come to trust and value one another. Fourth, clients learn from one
another. They share ideas for solving problems and give one another honest feedback
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