Therapy is the treatment for psychological problems where the client and the therapist expert work together in order to identify and understand the psychological problem facing a client. Both the therapist and the client then come up with mechanisms and plan on how to fix the problem. The therapist, who is the counselor, encourages the client’s development and growth. The therapist should create a healthy relationship with clients to enable the understanding of the background of the client. It is thus extremely crucial that the therapist fosters a good relationship with the client (Corey & Haynes, 2006).
To ensure that there is an active and open participation in a group therapy, the counselor must observe the ethic of informed consent. The therapist has a responsibility of explaining the client’s rights. The client has a right to leave the group when they wish to do so. Also, ethically, the counselor has the right and is also responsible in disseminating information to clients about the consequence that may arise to the client if they fail to follow the full therapeutic treatment as it is expected.
The Role of the Therapist in Group Ethics
The primary role of the therapist is to promote the wellbeing of the client and have respect to the client. The therapist also is obliged to keep records of the client, which are necessary for rendering professional services to the patient. Timely and sufficient documentation are needed for facilitation of continuity to the delivering of services to the client (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2011).
The therapist can use the networks that exist in the community to help the client. Such networks include family members, friends and religious groups. It is vital that during the counseling period, the therapist observe the ethic of informed consent on the patient. The therapist informs the client of the nature of service that is given in that kind of therapy. The client is informed of the purpose, and goals of therapy. It is also crucial that the client is told of the limitations and potential risks of the therapy. The client will be allowed to choose whether to continue with the therapy with that counselor or not. During the counseling session, the counselor needs to communicate the message that is culturally appropriate. The language that is used by the therapist should be clear to the client, and if the message is unclear, an interpreter is used.
Any sexual or romantic relations between the client and the therapist are prohibited. The therapist should always act in a way that causes no harm to the clients. Moreover, the therapist shall help the client to lead a healthier, productive and happy life. Therapy must be a collaborative treatment between the therapist and the client. It is upon the therapist to provide an enabling and supportive environment to the client so that they can openly talk to each other.
A therapy should be centered to the affected individual even though the therapist can decide to work with the family and the group that the client usually associates with. It is thus extremely vital that when choosing a therapist for a client the right match needs to be identified (Concrete Blonde, 2002). Therapy can be conducted in groups or individually. In a group therapy, clients meet face to face with a qualified therapist. A group therapy may be large or small. The group normally meets at least twice every week for a minimum of an hour or two. The group session may be opened or closed where only the members of the therapy groups are allowed to attend.
A group therapy session usually meets in a setting where the chairs that are to be used are arranged in a circular way. The circular arrangement of seats is meant to ensure that every person in the meeting gets to see everyone else in the meeting (Dienhart & Curnutt, 2003). A group therapy session usually begins with introduction where members of the therapy group introduce themselves, and they then share their experiences since when they were last time in the meeting. Even though the manner in which the meeting is conducted is largely influenced by the therapist. In a group therapy, the client talks of the issue that brought them in therapy. The clients within the first few sessions are not free to share information, and will tend to withhold some of the information. Within a few sessions, they are able to talk openly, clearly and effectively in a group.
Benefits of Group Therapy
For a client to benefit from the group therapy fully, they must after joining the therapy group, make sure that they regularly attend the meetings and ensure that they are committed to a therapy group as well as to the other therapy group members. The client needs to actively participate for maximum progress to be attained. A group therapy has many advantages as compared to the individual therapy. Group therapy not only allow clients to receive encouragement and support from their fellow group members, but it also helps group members to serve as role models to the other members of the group (Ellman & Pezanis-Christou, 2010).
When members of the therapy group see one of their members successfully coping with their problem, the other members can see that hope and recovery is possible. When each member of the therapy group recovers as a result of the therapy, they serve as role models to others. Group therapy is also more cost effective as compared to individual therapy. When dealing with many clients at the same time it becomes better off financially to the therapist.
Shortcomings of Group Therapy
In a group therapy, verbal abuse is likely to occur unlike at an individual level therapy. The issue of confidentiality in a group therapy is usually compromised. Confidentiality of the group can be broken by discussing the different scenarios that occurred within the group (Burgess, 2007). It normally happens when two or more members of the group discuss issues of the group outside the group. They discuss what happened inside the group to a member of the group who at the time of the outside discussion is not available.
Also, the problem of lack of adequate training of the counselors may affect their performance. Moreover, the counselor of the therapy group possesses the power that might be used to either stifle or empower the therapy group members. The counselor has got little power in influencing what might be happening within the group, and when the member of the group interacts with the outside environment, the powers of the therapist are reduced to zero.
The number of members in a group therapy is more as compared to individual therapy where it is only the therapist and the client interacting. Because of the intensity of the group process, the risk for members of the group is greater in comparison to the individual therapy.
Ethical problems are also manifested in the group therapy. In some cases, the members of the therapy group find out that they were involuntarily coerced into joining therapy group (Forsyth, 2010). A common problem in the therapy group is that of much dependency on the therapist. Clients tend to be over dependent on the counselor.
By comparing between the group and individual therapy, the group therapy is far much effective in addressing the client’s problems. The group therapy has much therapeutic power that can be used in order to empower the client and contribute to positive outcomes. The therapist must be competent, possess the required skills and personal characteristics. A therapy group founded on legal and ethical principle is likely to have the best outcome and be effective to clients as compared to the therapy group that was designed without much consideration.
A group therapy may involve one or more therapists working with a group of clients at the same time. A group therapy is normally more beneficial as compared to the individual therapy. Therefore, a therapy usually contains clients at different stages of the therapy. When a new client joins the therapy group, there is hope that is installed since they will observe other clients recovering as a result of the therapy. Being in a group therapy is helpful to the clients as they will be able to identify that they are not the only persons who are suffering from the problem, but rather it is a universal problem affecting many other people. Group therapy members also help to one another in sharing information. By sharing experiences, they rely on useful information that will promote quick recovery.
Clients who are in a group therapy will share strength and help other members of the group. This is noteworthy as it boosts the confidence and self-esteem of the clients. A group therapy is much like a family to the client. Being equivalent to a family, the client is able to identify himself with the group (Gottlieb, 2003). Being in the group is helpful to the therapy clients as it leads to exploration of ways that can lead to a quick recovery.
While in a group, socialization can be fostered among the clients. Due to socialization, a group therapy proves to be safe and supportive and by this it allows members to experiment new techniques without fear of failure (Crespi, 2009). A group therapy involves many clients at different stages of recovery. The clients have different experiences from the therapy depending on the stage of recovery that they are in. New clients in the group therapy can imitate the already recovering clients in the facility. Also, the new clients can decide to imitate the therapist through the observation.
A group therapy is vital in the promotion of interpersonal learning. During the interpersonal learning, the therapy group members interact with one another and by this, they are able to get a better understanding of themselves. Since the therapy group members have a similar goal of recovery, the group members are able to gain a sense of acceptance and belonging as a result of interaction with the therapy group.
Sharing of experiences and feelings is crucial as it helps to the members of the therapy group to relieve stress, guilt and pain. This explains the reasons why a group therapy is a vital form of therapy as compared to the individual therapy. While clients are in a group, they are offered support and guidance, and this helps them in the realization of their responsibility towards their actions, choices and lives. During the meeting, it is the clients who decide on what they need to talk about with the therapist. The clients are encouraged and motivated by the therapist to express their feelings about the issues that affect them (Price, 2008).
Group therapy is paramount and highly effective compared to the individual interaction with the client, because in a group, clients learn ways on how they can interact with one another. A group therapy is extremely helpful to the client. When clients come together in a group, they have an opportunity of freely interacting with the other members of the group. This helps them to recreate the differences that existed or brought them into the group.
In a group that is led by a qualified therapist, the members are able to give each other support, offer sustainable alternatives and comfort other members. By these problems are resolved and clients are able to adopt new behaviors that will help them overcome the problems that brought them into the group. In the therapy group, there is that psychological safety that the client need. This psychological safety will allow the group members to express their feelings, which they could not express to the outside groups.
There are two types of therapy groups. The psychotherapy or counseling groups and the Drop-In support group. In a counseling group, the participants of the group therapy meet on weekly on the days that they agree upon. The group members are expected to attend all the sessions of the meeting. The psychotherapy group focuses on interpersonal relationships and on how they can help people overcome their problems and get along. The therapy group tackles problems ranging from identity problems, anxiety and depression.
The issues that are discussed in the psychotherapy group arise from the group members rather than from the group leader. Issues that constantly affect the group members such as relations are the most common discussed concerns in the meetings. In the counseling group, the interaction between members is extremely significant as this allows the members to explore new ways of interacting and relating with one another. The counseling group members talk to one another and also provide feedback to each other.
In the Drop-In support groups, members also meet at a weekly basis, but they can drop in on as needed basis. It involves the interaction between the therapist and a group of clients. The Drop-In support group deals with those persons who are not able to cope with certain situations where someone has lost the employment they were relying on. The clients speak out their feelings, and they together respond to what their fellow members are sharing.
A group therapy is preferred to the individual counseling, because most of the problems that affect people are interpersonal in nature. They emanate from how we relate with our fellow human beings. In a group therapy, lessons are learnt on how to relate to another, and it creates a chance of working through problems that are being experienced by other people. A group therapy is beneficial to the client since it creates an environment of safety and helps counteract the feeling of isolation. Groups will allow their members to explore and understand themselves in a better way.
Rules that Guide the Therapy Groups for Them to Be Effective
The therapy group sessions must be confidential. The therapist and the other group members are bound to the group ethically. Nobody from the group is expected to disclose any contents of the group sessions to non-members of the therapy group. Members of the therapy groups are supposed to attend all the group meetings at least four weeks. If a member of the therapy group is going to miss any of the sessions, the leader and the other group members are supposed to be alerted. The group members should maintain mutual respect among themselves. Respect in the therapy group is essential for maintenance of safety in the group. If disagreements occur in the group, members should device ways of solving the problems amicably.
In a group therapy, the counselor should aspire to earn the trust from the clients (Jacobs & Masson et al., 2012). The therapist can achieve the trust by maintaining confidentiality and creating an ongoing partnership. Confidentiality should be communicated by the counselor in a culturally accepted manner. The counselor needs to respect the differing views towards the disclosure of information. The client and the therapy group leader need to agree on when, how and with whom to share confidential information about the client. The therapist should not share information concerning the client without the client’s consent. The counselor should also respect the client’s right to privacy and only demand private information concerning the client if the information is of benefit in the counseling process.
According to Tuckman (1965), there are five stages that characterize the group therapy process. The stages are normally used by professionals in understanding the facilitating group. The stages are divided into forming stage, storming stage, norming stage, performing stage and the adjourning stage. The first stage is referred to as the forming stage, and it begins with orienting clients to the group. They begin noting the similarity with the other members of the therapy group. The group members are usually confused.
Storming stage is the second stage, and it is associated with conflicts and competition as the group members interact and struggle to cope with the group dynamics. It is also accompanied by disagreements among the members over how they are to conduct the counseling process.
The norming stage is considered to be a supportive stage in the counseling group. Here, the basic problems pertaining the clients are discussed and solved. Furthermore, the rules and a sense of togetherness emerge in this point.
The performing stage is the fourth stage where the therapy group members become more responsible. Members become more open to each other, and the member’s self-recognition also increases. The adjourning stage is the final stage in the group counseling. In this stage, the therapy group members have already solved their issues, and strive for balance has been attained.
A therapy is based on a premise of helping people psychologically and emotionally deal with their personal problem. In the group, the clients will utilize their collective power as a group with the assistance of a therapist so that they can solve their problems. The therapy time is determined by the needs of the members of the therapy group. Sometimes the family members and friends of the client are involved in the therapy too. There are several activities that the therapist can decide to engage the clients in the therapy group sessions.
In most group therapy sessions, most people are strangers, and this shows that they do not know each other. In such case, the group therapist must devise a way of making sure that all the clients know one another so that they can be able to help each other emotionally. An icebreaker is used; this is meant to reduce the level of formality of members in the group. This can be done by use of jokes, music or by just passing objects like chairs over one another.
Another key issue in a group therapy is confession and acceptance. The therapy group members are requested to open up, confess and accept their problems. Confessions can be made publicly where the problems and the struggles of the members are stated. It is good that small achievements are celebrated in the group for motivational purposes (Kolb, 2008). Therapy sessions have helped many people to overcome the difficulties and challenges in their lives. The most common problems that face people include alcoholism, overweight and a drugs addiction.