Below is an excerpt from a recent "Clinical Practice Today" article. NASW Members can view the full article by clicking here
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Your Client Needs A Group — Can You Handle It?
(Part 1 of 2)
Bet MacArthur, LICSW
Whether your caseload is generalized or specialized, large or small, chances are high that you are meeting each week with someone who ought to be in a therapeutic group of some kind.
When is the last time you recommended group support or treatment to a client? Found a group for a client? And prepared your client for a therapeutic group experience?
If it has been more than twelve months, the chances are you are overlooking an important aspect of responsible clinical practice: to make an informed assessment and recommend appropriate care. Every therapist should seek out, or review, training and supervision to strengthen this important aspect of responsible service.
There are five areas where the proposition above can become complicated in practice:
Therapist resistance, i.e. reluctance to recommend needed services; or insecurity about evaluating and referring.
Which clients? Therapist ability to recognize when case material indicates that group treatment or support is needed.
Which group? Therapist familiarity with group resources and the process for locating an appropriate group.
Preparing the client for group, including clarification of therapy goals. Your ally in this will be the group therapist to whom you refer your client for evaluation.
Client resistance, i.e. fear, denial, lack of familiarity and knowledge about how human groups function.
Let us examine items 1, 2, and 3 here, and items 4 and 5 next month:
1. Therapist resistance.
(a) Group is scary. The initial prospect of being in a treatment group is scary – scary for clients, and scary for group therapists! (That is why we seek lots of training, supervision, and affiliation.)
This is a natural, inborn primitive response reminding us that our survival depends on being included, and not abandoned, by the groups we live in.
There is a method to address the natural anxiety people express about group therapy, if they have never tried it before.
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Full article includes...
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- More about therapist resistance
- Which clients?
- Which group?