Foundations of Group Work and Types of Therapy Paper

Foundations of Group Work and Types of Therapy Paper

Foundations of Group Work and Types of Therapy Paper

Interpersonal psychotherapy cultivates strong attachments. It is a time-limited, focused, evidence-based approach that enhances patient interpersonal relationships and social function (Ravitz et al., 2019). It addresses interpersonal deficits like social isolation, manages unresolved grief, handles difficult life transitions like retirement and divorce, and resolves interpersonal disputes arising from conflicting expectations between coworkers, friends, family members, and partners. In line with interpersonal psychotherapy, this paper will review a video on interpersonal group therapy for addiction recovery demonstration and outline group therapy techniques offered demonstrated and literature supporting them. The paper will also discuss the therapist’s positive approach, outline something that could have been handled differently and share insight gained from the video.

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Group Therapy Techniques

The video outlines a patient disclosing how his addiction developed. He states that he used to take his mother’s pain medication and that guilt and shame have led him to consume other drugs. The disclosure shows that the patient trusts the group members and allows other members to disclose their secrets (Ezhumalai et al., 2018). A group technique prevalent in the video is interpersonal learning. The group members are offering interpersonal feedback by sharing their reactions to, and perceptions of, each other’s behaviors. Interpersonal learning is augmented by clarification. Clarification helps when patients are extremely emotional and may not be thinking clearly to share details in a coherent manner (Burlingame et al., 2018). The therapist asks good questions to understand the patient’s experience and allows him to share the reasons for his disclosure. Another technique visible is motivational interviewing. The therapist provides validation and empathy which help the patient reduce shame and willingly disclose his fears. The video also showcases supportive listening. The group members are listening attentively and sharing their experiences to create a safe therapeutic environment and to build trust or closeness.

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Supporting Evidence

Interpersonal learning is exhibited by the group members’ ability to share their secrets and vulnerability. Markowitz et al. (2019) assert that interpersonal learning is showcased when patients can elicit and normalize emotions linked to their interpersonal encounters and verbalize them through communication analyses. The patients in the group discuss incidents, feelings, behaviors, and expectations and make connections between events and addictive symptoms. Haliburn (2018) assert that clarifications in interpersonal therapy use statements that allow a patient to expand or clarify readily available information. In the video, the therapist asks questions to the patient about what allowed him to disclose the story allowing him to elaborate and describe his situation to the group. Motivational interviewing on the other hand offers a collaborative conversation style that strengthens a person’s motivation and commitment to change (Dingle et al., 2018). Supportive listening on the other hand is exhibited by the group as they project real concern and empathy. It provides validation and empathy which helps patients reduce shame and enhance their willingness to open up.

Therapist Positive Points

The therapist helps the group by inviting a meta disclosure. She points the group into the here and now allowing them to explore the meaning of the event, especially the relationship between the people in the group (CATS CATS, 2016). She asks the patient the reason behind his disclosure allowing him to highlight the way other group members have affected him and how he feels towards them. He asserts how he has gained trust with the group, a positive outcome that will enhance group cohesiveness. She empathetically listens providing support and a safe outlet for the patient’s feelings.

What Could Have been done Differently

If I was handling a similar group, I would have ensured voluntary sharing of information from the patient. Forcing a patient to share information may increase false information or cause harm to their mental well-being as they struggle to contribute (Haliburn, 2018). On the other hand, voluntary sharing encourages truthfulness and compels other group members to share their side of the story. I would also add supportive and encouraging feedbacks and remarks to make the patients feel accepted and loved and allow them to feel safe and open up.

Insight Gained

The video on interpersonal group therapy for addiction has instilled various insights regarding interpersonal psychotherapy. First, it shows that therapy primarily focuses on the current relationships. Trust is an essential component as it enhances group cohesion and the ability to disclose shameful secrets (Burlingame et al., 2018). Once Jimmy opens up about his addiction, he fosters trust allowing other group members to take risks and make further disclosures and expose their vulnerability. The video has also instilled the need to be empathetic and use open-ended questions to reduce shame and increase the willingness to share secrets. Further, the video shows that once a group member shares their root of shame and the group members admire and respect him, he gives up self-judgment and put the catastrophic events behind them.

Handling Disruptive Member

Disruptive members may impede the progress of the therapeutic sessions. To reduce their impact on the sessions, the therapist should encourage the members to be open and share their problems to foster trust and acceptance within the group (Burlingame et al., 2018). Being a good role model as a therapist can inspire, challenge, and motivate the patients to realize they can become far more than what they have been. It can help the member to avoid taking things personally limiting resistance and defensiveness.

Eliciting Participation

Participation in the group builds a cohesive team and results in positive outcomes. To elicit participation there is a need to allow members to participate at their pace to create an environment of safety and acceptance. Use of affirming, empathetic statements create safe spaces allowing members to share and discuss difficult subjects (Dingle et al., 2018).  Highlighting group processes, communicating consistently, and asking group embers to evaluate their experience regularly can invite ongoing conversation between members increasing participation.

Different Phases of the Group Therapy

Group therapy follows distinct phases that allow the members to heal and recover. It begins with the formation phase which covers the identification of group members, theme, and objectives. It calls for adequate preparation and planning to select ideal members who meet the group criteria. The initial phase kickstarts then where members are oriented to the group, individual and group goals are developed, and the group structure and processes are set in place (Ezhumalai et al., 2018). The group moves to the third phase of transition where issues that affect openness, trust, and sharing and resolved. After the resolution, the group progresses to the work stage where members become more cohesive and productive. At this juncture, members are encouraged to interact, self-share, and apply techniques that resolve their problems. The last phase is termination and marks the end of the group. Members reflect on how to utilize the acquired knowledge to deal with real-life triggers and issues.

Benefits and Challenges of Group Therapy

Group therapy is ideal because it creates a sense of belonging. The group shares similar social and mental issues which makes it safe and convenient for a patient (Weinberg, 2020). The group provides practical wisdom as others share their struggles and journey of overcoming them. It removes a patient from a cycle of negativity as one observes similar thinking patterns in others. Opening up in such a setting is easy as it handles difficult issues and creates a safe environment to share. People in the group are empathetic and less judgmental because they greatly understand the thinking cycles and behavioral choices (Weinberg, 2020). Unfortunately, group therapy can result in personality conflicts which may impede coping mechanisms and result in additional concerns. It can also make members uncomfortable to disclose secrets and can result in privacy violations as group members share information shared in confidence (Weinberg, 2020). It enhances rejection if members feel they are not receiving an adequate level of attention. Addressing the challenges will reinforce the benefits resulting in positive outcomes.


Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Yang, C. (2018). Cohesion in group therapy: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 384.

CATS CATS. (2016). Interpersonal Group Therapy for Addiction Recovery Demonstration.

Dingle, G. A., Neves, D. D. C., Alhadad, S. S., & Hides, L. (2018). Individual and interpersonal emotion regulation among adults with substance use disorders and matched controls. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57(2), 186-202.

Ezhumalai, S., Muralidhar, D., Dhanasekarapandian, R., & Nikketha, B. S. (2018). Group interventions. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S514–S521.

Haliburn, J. (2018). An Integrated Approach to Short-Term Dynamic Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Clinician’s Guide. Routledge.

Markowitz, J. C., Milrod, B., Luyten, P., & Holmqvist, R. (2019). Mentalizing in interpersonal psychotherapy. American journal of psychotherapy, 72(4), 95-100.

Ravitz, P., Watson, P., Lawson, A., Constantino, M. J., Bernecker, S., Park, J., & Swartz, H. A. (2019). Interpersonal psychotherapy: a scoping review and historical perspective (1974–2017). Harvard review of psychiatry, 27(3), 165-180.

Weinberg, H. (2020). Online group psychotherapy: Challenges and possibilities during COVID-19—A practice review. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 24(3), 201-211.

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In a 3- to 4-page paper, identify the video you selected and address the following:

What group therapy techniques were demonstrated? How well do you believe these techniques were demonstrated?
What evidence from the literature supports the techniques demonstrated?
What did you notice that the therapist did well?
Explain something that you would have handled differently.
What is an insight that you gained from watching the therapist handle the group therapy?
Now imagine you are leading your own group session. How would you go about handling a difficult situation with a disruptive group member? How would you elicit participation in your group? What would you anticipate finding in the different phases of group therapy? What do you see as the benefits and challenges of group therapy?
Support your reasoning with at least three peer-reviewed, evidence-based sources, and explain why each of your supporting sources is considered scholarly. Attach the PDFs of your sources.

Please see link to the youtube video :

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