Group Therapy: Strength in Numbers

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An article in a recent edition of “Counseling Today” (Published by the American Counseling Association) reported on the benefits of group therapy. “Strength in Numbers” is the title of the article, written by Lynn Shallcross, and its theme is that “the give and take of group work offers clients a nurturing environment for growth, change, renewal, and connection.” Group therapy has also been one of the enduring modalities highlighted by AMHF and its late, long-time director, Dr. Stefan de Schill.

Some of the information provided by Shallcross includes the following….

“Clear data exist that groups are more effective than individual therapy for children or adolescents, according to Janice DeLucia-Waack, who consults for school districts across New York State on how to lead psychoeducational groups, among other things. In these psychoeducational groups, kids learn skills such as anger management, stress management, coping, communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. ‘We’re teaching a set of skills that they’re going to need for the rest of their lives,’ DeLucia-Waack says.

“Although the research differs on group effectiveness for adults depending on the group and type of intervention, many practitioners agree that group work is a valuable tool. ACA member Michael Kahn regularly runs personal growth groups, which incorporate film, out of his private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the first meeting, he asks each group member to bring in and share with the other members a film clip that resonates with the individual in some way. Throughout succeeding group meetings, Kahn assigns particular movies to watch, and group members discuss aspects of these films. Kahn says he looks for movies that have multiple-story lines and an array of characters, such as Dead Poet’s Society or Fried Green Tomatoes, so there’s a good chance that some part of the story nor characters will resonate with clients.”

The Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW), which is part of ACA,
emphasizes three other types of groups: task groups, counseling groups, and psychotherapy groups. Together, these modalities can bring effective and far-ranging help to many children, teen, and adults.

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