Group therapy is defined as a counseling process whereby groups of people usually assemble together under a therapist who is well trained. The aim of this is to offer help to the individuals and guide them so that they can come out of their present conditions or challenges. This is the mode of treatment that has been used for many years in different individuals. There are several advantages to this approach. Firstly, it enables understanding and learning from each other. It also enables the groups to learn how to approach different issues in their lives.
It is comparable to individual therapy since it enhances growth of the person in terms of developing methods of dealing with issues (interpersonal or personal challenges). However, it differs in the sense that it involves the application of multiple relationships to enhance the achievement of the goals (Yalom, 1995). It is a psychotherapeutic process which involves selection of small manageable groups of persons who are assigned to a professional (group therapist). In order to enhance the process of emotional growth and development of important skills, meetings are organized regularly.
Therefore, this aim can only be achieved through the joint efforts of the therapist and the group members (Corey M and Corey G. , 2009). Principles of group therapy Most group therapists are guided by certain principles as they carry out their counseling process. These include; instilling hope, universality, imparting information, altruism, development of social techniques, corrective recollection of experiences, Imitative behavior, interpersonal learning, group cohesiveness, catharsis and existential factors (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009).
Hope, universality and sharing information Instilling hope is done by integrating individuals who are in the same process of treatment. In this way, those who are beginning the processes will have the hope of going through the same treatment protocol. This is due to the fact that recovery of other individuals will give them the courage to go through the same process to successful completion. Universality basically implies that individuals will accept what they are going through when they see or associate with others who have gone through the same in life.
Therefore, a therapist should group his according to their experiences in life. In doing so, the experience will be viewed as being universal and not necessarily affecting specific types of people. The third principle involves the process of imparting information. The therapist should allow the members in his group to share information with each other. This will make them understand and help one another (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009). Altruism, socialization techniques and corrective recapitulation Altruism involves the process of sharing the strengths.
This will help in boosting the self esteem of the group members and help them develop confidence. The other principle is development of social techniques. The group environment is also considered to be the best place to embrace new forms of behaviors. This is due to the fact that the members will not have any fear of trying new things out. It gives them room for safe experimentation with full support from the other members. The therapy group further allows for its members to explore their experiences in the past and relate them to their personalities.
In this way, they will be able to avoid destructive behaviors that might affect their lives and embrace those that will help them in life. This is known as corrective recapitulation (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009). Imitation, interperonal learning and cohesiveness Imitation of behavior will enable other members in a group to copy what the group therapist is doing. This will enable most or all the members in the group to develop and learn new behavior from the therapist through observation.
Interpersonal learning is an important principle which arises from the process of interaction within the group among the members and other people including the therapist. Interpersonal learning is important in the process of better understanding of oneself. Group cohesiveness creates a sense of union with each other hence they will feel accepted and as one unit. This is due to the fact that the members have a common goal (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009). Catharsis and Existential factors
On the other hand, the process of sharing information with a number of individuals might be helpful in pain or stress relief for the members. This is known as catharsis and it is considered as a powerful and an important experience. It allows the person to release his feelings which leads to relief. It is considered as an emotional form of learning which has both short and long term effects. The environment will enhance the members to develop such experiences. Existential factors are described as life’s realities experienced by a person. These also include death, freedom and isolation.
These can cause anxiety in an individual. However, the process of openness and sharing within the group will help a person to accept such happenings in life (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009). Group Therapist The group therapist should be well trained, act professionally, be reliable and available. He should be a keen listener and slow to anger. These qualities will make him blend well with his patient and enhance a smooth communication and open discussions. He should also be free so as to facilitate a free discussion on any topic with the members in his group.
Moreover, he should be trustworthy to prevent the members from living in fear (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2009). Conclusion It has been shown that group therapies are usually beneficial to a large number of individuals who have successfully participated in them. This also applies to individual psychotherapy which is also widely used. Most of the patients have been reported to become better persons who understand and accept themselves more. Moreover, they have also developed important skills such as interpersonal and problem solving skills.
Therefore, group therapies are an important approach in finding solutions to individuals who have gone through problems or might need psychotherapeutic treatment. References Corey, M. S. & Corey, G. (2009). Groups: Process and practice (8th Ed. ). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. ISBN 978-0495027317. Jacobs, E. E. , Masson, R. L. , & Harvill, R. L. (2009). Group counseling: Strategies and skills (6th Ed. ). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780495554363. Yalom, I. D. (1995). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. 4th edition. New York, NY: Basic Books.