Since group therapy was first introduced in the 1940s, it has undergone a series of adaptations to meet the changing face of clinical practice. As new clinical syndromes, settings, and theoretical approaches have emerged (and sometimes vanished), so too have corresponding variants of group therapy. The multiplicity of forms is so evident today that it is best not to speak of group therapy but of the many group therapies. Eating-disorders groups, cancer support groups, groups for victims of sexual abuse, for AIDS patients, for the confused elderly, for individuals disabled by panic disorders or obsessive-compulsive symptoms, for patients with chronic schizophrenia, for adult children of alcoholics, for parents of sexually abused children, for male batterers, for the divorced, for the bereaved, for disturbed families, for married couples, for patients with myocardial infarct, paraplegia, diabetic blindness, renal failure, bone marrow transplant--all of these are forms of group therapy.
The settings of group therapy are also diverse: a group for chronically or acutely psychotic patients on a stark hospital ward is group therapy and so, too, is a group of relatively well functioning individuals with neurotic or characterological disorders meeting in a psychotherapist's well-appointed private office.
And the technical styles are bewilderingly different: gestalt, brief therapy groups, supportive-expressive, cognitive-behavioral, psychoanalytic, psycho- educational, dynamic-interactional, psychodrama--these, and many more, are all group therapy.
The family gathering of group therapies is swollen even more by the presence of distant relatives, groups that are cousin to therapy groups: experiential