Introduction to Group
JOHN R. PRICE
Progress in therapy, I've learned from experience, is most readily obtained in a group rather than in individual, one-on-one sessions. Because we live in groups—families, neighborhoods, fellow workers, fellow students, fellow parishioners—it is both easier to identify an individual's dysfunction within a group setting and easier to treat the individual within a group. How often do you or I see a physician, a dentist, a lawyer, a clergyman by ourselves, alone, in a year's time? Not nearly as often as we are in a group working, playing, socializing.
I'd like to spend a few minutes with you describing how I do group psychotherapy, going over three areas with you: (1) the ground rules for the conduct of a group, (2) some administrative details, and (3) my style as a therapist.
The ground rules for group meetings provide emotional safety for the group. The rules help define a safe place in which people can come to practice new behaviors, to change their emotional reactions to things, and to give up various dysfunctional behaviors. There are five ground rules.
The first ground rule has to do with CONFIDENTIALITY. Each member entering a group agrees not to reveal the identity of any other member of the group to anybody outside of the group, either by name or other identifying information. You wouldn't feel comfortable in talking about yourself if you thought you were going to be talked about. You are free, however, to talk to a friend or family member about your own work in the group, but you are not free to talk about the work that others do. Doing so might reveal the identity of that other person.
Second, there is no ground rule prohibiting CONTACT between members between group sessions. However, if there is contact, you must feel that you could SHARE it with the group. For example, you're a member of a group and, one day, after the group meets, another member says in the hall, "Let's have
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Publication information: Book title: A Guide to Starting Psychotherapy Groups. Contributors: John R. Price - Author, David R. Hescheles - Author, A. Rae Price - Author. Publisher: Academic Press. Place of publication: San Diego, CA. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 175.
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