, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 107-112

Essential theory, processes, and procedures for successful group psychotherapy: Group cohesion as exemplar

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Abstract

With few exceptions or at the very least cautions (cf. Burlingame, MacKenzie & Strauss, 2003) group psychotherapy has proven to be an effective and efficient treatment for a number of psychological disorders (Burlingame, Kapetanovic, & Ross, 2005). This article will briefly describe a theory that underlies successful group therapies. In addition, certain group processes—those elements that occur during the group itself that appear to be necessary conditions for improved patient outcomes—will also be addressed, although unfortunately, the sufficient conditions tying moment-to-moment process to actual outcome (improved patient functioning by the end of therapy, and at 6-month follow-up, for instance) are not quite as easily delineated. A closer study of the group therapeutic factor cohesion will be utilized as an example of these practice and research dilemmas. Finally, suggestions for future directions, which might more clearly uncover important connections between process and outcome, are addressed.