Clinicians who practice individual therapy have the responsibility of developing a therapeutic bond with their clients, tracking the progress of their clients throughout therapy, and measuring treatment outcome. Along the way, therapists must ensure that the measures they are using are delivering results, and if not, they must change their approach. These steps become even more daunting when they are undertaken in a group setting. Group therapists have the same responsibility to their clients as do therapists conducting individual therapy; however, they must maintain this responsibility with each and every client in their group.
A team of experienced group therapists recently published an article providing guidance for preparation, evaluation, and conclusion of group therapy for clinicians. Dallas R. Jensen, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Counseling and Psychological Services Department at Brigham Young University, spearheaded the effort and outlined several key components for effectively managing group therapy sessions. The first and most important aspect of accurately assessing group therapy progress is gathering practice-based evidence (PBE). Research has shown that clients are more accurate predictors of treatment outcome than clinicians’ assessments. Therefore, Jensen recommends that therapists use a variety of several well-established tools to determine group member eligibility, progress, and outcome.
The Group Therapy Questionnaire (GTC) is an excellent tool to determine group member readiness. This tool allows therapists to examine the level of willingness of the member, previous group experience, and other factors that could influence participation, such as suicidal ideation, substance dependency, therapy fears, and goals. The Group Readiness Questionnaire (GRQ) is a similar tool often used. Jensen suggests other measures, such as the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI), the Cohesion to Therapist Scale (CTS), Therapeutic Factors Inventory (TFI), and the Group Climate Questionnaire (GCQ) to accurately assess the level of cohesion within the group and gauge group fidelity, tone, trust, and acceptance. Although there are several outcome scales to choose from, Jensen notes that the Outcome Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45) is the most commonly used and can be administered via computer or in person. Group therapy assessment is an area of research that is still relatively new, but is critical to group success. “We further encourage clinicians to share results and lessons learned in the literature and in professional settings, so as to continue developing this burgeoning effort,” concluded Jensen.
Jensen, D. R., Abbott, M. K., Beecher, M. E., Griner, D., Golightly, T. R., Cannon, J. A. N. (2012). Taking the pulse of the group: The utilization of practice-based evidence in group psychotherapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029033
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.