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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70586 Find in a Library
Title: Group Therapy - Possibilities and Pitfalls
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:24  Issue:1  Dated:(1980)  Pages:27-31
Author(s): N D Rizzo
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Group therapy is a highly effective method of bringing about therapeutic reactions in offenders, but this approach must be used carefully so that everyone involved gets a chance.
Abstract: The most obvious advantage of group therapy is that more people can be reached in a given period of time. In skillful hands major involvement in neurotic symptoms can be brought about within a 2- to 3-month period, especially if coupled with individual sessions. The stigma of being one of a kind (which may plague patients in private therapy) is avoided. A feeling of decreased helplessness and reaching out toward others by extending understanding sympathy through listening is therapeutic for both the speaker and the listener. Properly conducted group sessions facilitate emotional communications rather than just factual exchanges or idea swapping. Guards, doctors, psychologists, ministers, wardens, or State officers may often be inattentive to statements of confined criminals, but in group sessions criminals may be mutually attentive to each other. Group therapy, however, must not be the starting point. Individuals should first be evaluated and groups should be formed of fairly homogeneous members. A certain common area of experience among the group members helps to give the group meaning and direction. The group leader need not be a trained psychiatrist provided he has learned the rudiments of group process, group interactions, and goals. The major pitfall is that the process is too often accepted as the goal. Reference to where the talk is leading and inclusion of realistic goals with a general time limit are too frequently omitted from consideration. Intercurrent general medical conditions and emotional disorders may be blithely ignored. These pitfalls are most likely to occur when therapists are poorly trained. Finally, the loss of the individual in much of group process is dangerous: care must be taken to supplement group approaches with attention to individuals. One case study is presented.
Index Term(s): Group therapy; Inmate Programs; Psychiatric services; Treatment
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