Group Therapy

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][SAGE video in practice][Group Therapy]

    • 00:11

      STEPHEN PAUL: So today, we're goingto look at a group therapy session,a group of people who are mostly strangers,group of people who haven't attended this group before.It's going to be people with a whole varietyof different issues that they wereseeking to explore in the group.We will be using a model which wecall an interpersonal or relational approach.

    • 00:33

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: Most group therapy in the UK and in the social servicesector and voluntary sector in the USA and Australiauses an interpersonal approach, whichis a standard approach to group therapy.If you'd like to take a seat.Group therapy is quite different to individual therapy

    • 00:54

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: in that there are different levels of dynamicsthat are taking place.You have the group as a whole.You have the group as a microcosm of the wider society.You have interpersonal relationshipsbetween group members.You have interpersonal relationships and projectionstowards the group therapists.

    • 01:14

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: And you have the inner world of the client.So there are a number of factors that therapistsneed to be aware of to enable themto be effective in a group.Welcome, everybody, to this group therapy session.Group therapy can be really useful for peoplewho have relational difficulties and who'sseeking to find new ways of relating.

    • 01:35

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: And it enables people to be exposedto people with a lot of different perspectives on life,and to have feedback from a lot of different sources.So it can be really helpful in a way which one to one therapymay not be helpful to somebody.It will be an interpersonal group,exploring relational issues, or exploring issues in relation

    • 01:58

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: to yourself and others.And you'll have an opportunity to participatein this group in whichever way you choose to do so.People who come to group therapy may come to a groupwhere people typically may all have the same problem, solike an eating disorders group.And that's often called a homogeneous group,where people have the same issues.

    • 02:20

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: But also typically we have what arecalled heterogeneous groups, whichare groups of people with a whole variety of problems, whocoming together in one group forumwill meet people with strengths and weaknessesin different areas.And so they can learn from each other.

    • 02:34

      TIM: My name is Tim.I just separated from my girlfriend,and I'm just really struggling to be peacefully by myselfor spend time on my own.I'm just finding it quite difficult at the moment.

    • 02:45

      SPEAKER 3: I'm here because I wantto have a look at my new relationship after a loss.

    • 02:54

      STEPHEN PAUL: It's important to select carefullypeople who are coming to the groupto ensure that the people coming into the groupare people who would actually be able to function wellin a group, and not be either traumatized by the experienceor be unable to contribute because it's just nota place for them in which they can do the work that they needto do.

    • 03:14

      SPEAKER 4: I have a difficult teenager.But there is a dynamic of loss around the family,so I want to look at that [INAUDIBLE].

    • 03:24

      STEPHEN PAUL: Optimal number for a groupis around about the eight mark.I wouldn't really want to be operatinga group with less than five.And once you go into 12 and higher,the group becomes a less intimate place,and it can form into subgroups and so on.

    • 03:42

      TIM: As I said, I separated from my girlfriend not too long ago.And since that point, which has beengoing on about a year, which is the longestI've ever been with anyone, sadly.But as well as that was a relationship with somebodythat I cared about, I also have this senseof not being able to spend time by myself.

    • 04:04

      TIM [continued]: I find it really uncomfortable.

    • 04:06

      STEPHEN PAUL: As a therapist, if somebody shares something that,to me, seems to have some significance,I might invite other members of the groupto explore what it means for them,or to look at the resonance in themin relation to what that particular person has shared.

    • 04:21

      SPEAKER 5: What are the actual feelings that you have?

    • 04:29

      TIM: I think just there's an element of anxiety there.

    • 04:32

      STEPHEN PAUL: Group therapy is oftenthe therapy of choice of people whohave addictions, eating disorders,have struggled with relationships, and so on.So for particular sorts of problems,it's something that probably might be betterthan individual therapy.Although some people need individual therapyeven before they could use group therapy,

    • 04:52

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: because of the nature of the trauma or the problemsthey've been experiencing.I was wondering on the two people whotalked about relationship issues and loss issues,wondering if it brought up anythingfor anybody else in the group in relationto their own feelings of loss or ending.

    • 05:08

      SPEAKER 3: I think, for me-- so I heard you specificallysay about not going through the process,not allowing yourself to go through the process.And that struck a nerve for me because I remember aftermy bereavement, and that was one of my battles that I

    • 05:29

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: wouldn't-- and people kept coming to me time and timeagain.But I wouldn't allow myself to go through that process.I wanted a quick fix--

    • 05:37

      STEPHEN PAUL: Something that happens in group therapyis over a period of time, the group becomes more cohesive.Cohesiveness is considered to be the therapeutic relationship,the curative factor of group therapy.So as people feel more secure, more connected with each other,they share things.And then those things have equal meaning, or meaning

    • 05:58

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: for other people in the group, but in a different way.So one person is talking about loss, maybe loss of a job.And that stimulates in somebody else a feelingof loss in relation to relationship.And then for somebody else, in relation to bereavement.

    • 06:14

      SPEAKER 4: It's about grief and losswithin my family [INAUDIBLE].My ex-husband, my daughter's father,passed away two years ago.

    • 06:26

      STEPHEN PAUL: In group therapy, we'resetting up boundaries which are similar to individual therapythat are to do with making a contract,making a secure space to work in, ensuring the room is safe,ensuring that an agreement for confidentiality is established,establishing some ground rules for how people will relateto each other so that they can get the most out of the group.

    • 06:50

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: With a secure boundary, people feel safe.And when people feel safe, they'remore able to talk about what worries them.So having a secure boundary is really important.I'm just aware of the time passing us by today.And I've noticed that some people have contributedand shared important material for themselves.

    • 07:11

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: I wonder if anybody else is sittingon anything at the moment that theywould like to share with the groupbefore we come to our ending.It's interesting.A notion is that the time and the length of the sessionis part of the frame that we create,the boundary that's created.And if somebody knows they've got a certain period of time,then they will in a sense respond to that in a way

    • 07:34

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: they feel comfortable with.As a therapist, I think it's important to let people knowhow much time there is, the phases of the group therapysession.Particularly, reminding people towards the endthat if there's something they want to share, that actuallythis is their chance to do it today.

    • 07:50

      SPEAKER 3: --listened to you both speak.Just for me, when you're saying that, with your daughter,going back on those feelings of anger and plus frustration,I think that's something that I'm always dealing with.And it's something that I always have to revisit.Something that I constantly have to manage all the time.

    • 08:08

      STEPHEN PAUL: Very often in groups,you talk about what might be the silent member.And often somebody's silent in the groupbecause they're holding back in some way.It may be because they're not safe, feeling that safe.Or it may be because there's somethingthat they don't want to share for another sort of reason.Typically in a group, I would wantto address the person at some point and ask them about it

    • 08:31

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: and wonder about it.And if that's helpful, then we might proceed with that.Or I might ask other people if theycan find a way of helping the person who'squiet engage in the group process.Some people find groups a really easy space to participate in.And they may like to fill that space.

    • 08:51

      STEPHEN PAUL [continued]: My job as a therapist is to work with them and what'sgoing on for them, and also to workwith other members of the group who perhaps aren'tso vociferous to ensure that every member of the groupgets the help that is possible within this group.[MUSIC PLAYING][SAGE video SAGE Publications 2015]

Group Therapy

View Segments Segment :


In this documentary, Dr. Stephen Paul, Former Director of the Centre for Psychological Therapies, discusses the uses of group therapy. By using a relational approach to the therapy session, clients are able to explore issues in relation to themselves and others. Paul explains the importance of creating boundaries to ensure a safe environment and discusses which clients would benefit from group therapy over individual therapy sessions.

SAGE Video In Practice
Group Therapy

In this documentary, Dr. Stephen Paul, Former Director of the Centre for Psychological Therapies, discusses the uses of group therapy. By using a relational approach to the therapy session, clients are able to explore issues in relation to themselves and others. Paul explains the importance of creating boundaries to ensure a safe environment and discusses which clients would benefit from group therapy over individual therapy sessions.

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