Cognitive Therapy in Groups: Guidelines and Resources for Practice

Cognitive Therapy in Groups: Guidelines and Resources for Practice

Cognitive Therapy in Groups: Guidelines and Resources for Practice

Cognitive Therapy in Groups: Guidelines and Resources for Practice


The second edition of Cognitive Therapy in Groups by Michael Free has been completely rewritten as a 25-session, structured programme of cognitive therapy in five modules. It is designed in an easy-to-present psycho-educational format that is intended for groups, but can also be used with individuals. It is sufficiently flexible for clinicians to use and adapt the resources for their own practice, and sufficiently specific to be used verbatim with a wide range of people suffering from emotional and behavioural problems. Web-based support resources include assessment tools, handouts and PowerPoint slides.


The preliminary work for the Group Cognitive Therapy Program on which the first edition of this book is based was commenced in 1985, as part of my work at what was then the Woodridge Community Psychiatry Service. The program was fine-tuned over several cohorts of participants and was then used in collecting data for my PhD studies and general service delivery within the clinic. The resulting program was published in Cognitive Therapy in Groups: Guidelines and resources for practice in 1999. Since 1999 there have been a number of developments in cognitive therapy and I have continued to refine my own practice to the degree that a revision of the program was appropriate. In this period there have been three major developments in cognitive therapy: the increasing interest in the process of negative thinking as reflected in cognitive distortions and Logical Errors, the increasing interest in Schemas as reflected in the widespread practice of ‘Schema Therapy’ (e.g. Young, Klosko & Weishaar, 2003) and the development of sophisticated cognitive theories of the anxiety disorders (e.g. Wells, 1997).

In my own practice I continuously strive to incorporate these and other developments, to enhance the communication with the participant or client, to reduce unnecessary steps in the therapeutic process and to simplify those aspects of therapy that participants and clients consistently have difficulty with. I have also received a number of constructive comments from users of the earlier program and have tried to take notice of those and develop ways of addressing them.

In addition to these considerations, it has become clear that modern life necessitates as much flexibility as possible in the delivery of therapy. Some consumers of therapy are inpatients, some are residents in correctional facilities and some are very busy people with multiple commitments. To provide therapy for as many people as possible it is necessary either to develop multiple forms of the therapy, or develop a therapy that is sufficiently flexible to be delivered in multiple formats.

Two further, related aspects of early 21st Century life are important to consider: the growth of the Internet and the very wide availability and use of presentation software, especially Microsoft’s ‘PowerPoint’.

This second edition of Cognitive Therapy in Groups seeks to address all of those developments. It has been completely rewritten as a 25-session program in five modules. This allows it to be delivered in a variety of configurations ranging from daily or weekly one-hour sessions, weekly two-hour sessions, or half-day modules that combine a number of sessions. It has an increased emphasis on Schema work, including more emotional and experiential approaches to belief change. It also has a module on behaviour change, an element that was not present explicitly in the earlier program.

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