Essay Sample on Therapeutic Group Works

Published: 2023-12-24
Essay Sample on Therapeutic Group Works
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Mental health
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1395 words
12 min read


Group therapy is one of the approaches used by chancellors to alleviate the impacts of mental illness and some other forms of disorders. It is considered a therapeutic approach because it enables counselors to solve their client's problems by organizing them into groups, where they describe and discuss their universal problems. One advantage of applying the group therapy approach is that it assures patients suffering from a psychiatric condition that they are not alone. Irvin Yalom, an advocate of the approach, regarded it as a principle of universality (Ezhumalai et al. 2018). The theorists acknowledge that individuals could be unique in terms of their circumstances but may share their struggles with others, suffering from a similar illness. Irvin arrived at the above conclusion after years of investigating what individuals perceived as secretive when revealing information in a group process (American Addiction Centers 2018). The fact that respondents provided similar responses ascertained that people might be unique, but they have certain commonalities as long as they are facing similar issues. Sullivan is another theorist who drew the world to the importance of group therapy by describing humans as experimental beings. He argued that interpersonal relationships were imperative to the building of the personality structure. His theory later became a vital element in group therapies as it indicated that individuals could build or change their personalities through interpersonal relationships. He opined that people were likely to change their personalities based on how persons around them perceive them. The two theorists proved that group therapies were impactful to individuals.

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Another advantage of group therapy is that it enables patients to gain and give support to other group members. According to Sullivan, interpersonal interactions can change a person's social behavior (Morgan 2014). Counselors apply his principle by providing patients with an environment where they can share their sufferings and offer each other support. By sharing information about what is afflicting them, patients can learn new ways of dealing with their problems and allow them to grow together. According to Irvin, human beings suffering from a similar issue are imbued with commonness.

Patients suffering from common psychiatric conditions may utilize his argument by concluding that they are the same insofar as curbing the condition is concerned. In that regard, individuals in a group can overcome their condition by modeling successful people who transcended a similar problem (Slone et al. 2015). Both theorists provide the insight that individuals can influence their behavior by mingling with others; also, if some people can successfully change their behaviors through interactions in groups, everyone can make similar changes through the same strategy.

Practicalities of Group TherapyIn general, groups are usually dynamic because members may join and leave based on their admission and release dates, respectively. Its structure dictates that an effective group should have 8-16 members, the members should understand each other's language, and each session should take approximately 45 mins (Baker 2010). Before a group is selected, counselors need to ensure that goals and group time frames are well decided before organizing the group. Goals, interpersonal skills, and willingness to participate are used as the main factors upon which groups are constructed. All members should have the above factors in tandem with each other. Otherwise, they will not accrue the benefits that accompany group therapies. Insofar as willingness is concerned, group members need to consent to participate in the group activities, or parents should consent in minor patients' cases.

Group effectiveness could be accessed by utilizing the Tuckman stages that describe an effective group to be comprised of five stages. Stage one brings together feelings, behaviors, and roles of members together for the first time. Since members have a common will of joining the group, they are usually imbued with excitement; they also have positive hopes that their endeavor could change their condition. Even though they are positive at this stage, group members are equally skeptical concerning their capability to fit in the group. Members in a new group are deemed inquisitive and anxious, generally. The task of the team is also clear in the first stage (Stein 2019). Their aligned objectives enable group members to build trust by sharing their universal challenges. In the second stage, members realize that their differences may prevent them from achieving what they intended to acquire from the group. Members may turn arrogant in this stage as they express frustrations. Blame games are majorly characteristic behaviors of members in this storming stage. At this stage, an elaborate group process is refined, and imperative skills such as conflict management are developed, as well.

Stage three, also known as norming, is when members alleviate impacts of their former disagreements. During this norming stage, group members develop a sense of comfort by acknowledging that their differences are vital at making them stronger and better in the long-run. The fourth stage also called performing, is characterized by team members' satisfaction, sharing of individual and group insights, and members acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses. During the fourth stage, members experience significant progress, both individually and collectively, as a group (Stein 2019). Finally is the termination stage, the last stage. After members have achieved their target, members may feel uncertain about surviving independently after the group is terminated. Still, it is important; they understand such interventions can be continued in their family settings.

Qualitative Impact of Group Therapy

Group therapy brings some emotional connectedness that makes it an effective method of alleviating issues affecting its members. Participating in the same activity, such as music, has been deemed to culminate energy, connectedness, and empowerment. Interpersonal connectedness is usually enhanced once people perform the same task, such as following the same music beats (Richards 2017). Therefore, counselors or psychiatrists need to consider incorporating activities such as playing music together during group therapies. Singing along a song as a group influences one's behavior intrinsically rather than externally. Qualitative impacts of group participation can be well illuminated by observing patriots singing the national anthem and soldiers matching in the battle zone along with drum beats.

There is power in group participation. Engaging patients in group therapies in singing would enable them to elicit emotions and match each other's moods. The impact of togetherness as a form of therapy can also be understood by observing what happens when a person loses their loved one. During the grieving moment, closeness to family and friends enables the aggrieved person to alleviate the impacts of losing a significant person in their life (Friedrichsen et al. 2013).

Studies have indicated that without the closeness, aggrieved persons are likely to grow into depression and self-pity. Thus, derailing their progress after their loss. Members in the society who enjoy the company of close family members and friends are less likely to suffer from a condition known as Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) (Friedrichsen et al. 2013). The above condition could contrive the affected person to seek complex and multimodal therapies; otherwise, they may never recover.

Reference List

American Addiction Centers. (, 2018). Group Therapy vs. Individual Therapy. [online] Available at:

Baker, E. (2010). Selecting Members for Group Therapy: A Continued Validation Study of the Group Selection Questionnaire. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2020].

Ezhumalai, S., Muralidhar, D., Dhanasekarapandian, R., and Nikketha, B.S. (2018). Group interventions. Indian journal of psychiatry, [online] 60(Suppl 4), pp.514–S521. Available at: [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].

Friedrichsen, M., Hajradinovic, Y., Jakobsson, M., Sundberg, L., Jonsson, M.A. and Milberg, A. (2013). Prolonged grievers: A qualitative evaluation of a support group intervention. Palliative and Supportive Care, 12(4), pp.299–308.

Morgan, H.J. (2014). The Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Harry Stack Sullivan: Remembering the Legacy. Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy, 04(06).

Richards, A. (2017). BearWorks BearWorks MSU Graduate Theses A Qualitative Study of Group Therapy Incorporating Rap Music A Qualitative Study of Group Therapy Incorporating Rap Music with Inmates with Inmates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2020].

Slone, N.C., Reese, R.J., Mathews-Duvall, S., and Kodet, J. (2015). Evaluating the efficacy of client feedback in group psychotherapy. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, [online] 19(2), pp.122–136. Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].

Stein, J. (2019). Using the Stages of Team Development | Human Resources at MIT. [online] Available at:

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