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Group and Family Therapy

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Group and Family Therapy

A group of fifteen people meets together every Tuesday evening in their local community center. The group members share stories about their week and how their anxiety levels and stressors have recently been affecting them. After sharing their stories, a therapist introduces them to a few new techniques to reduce some of the stress that they may be feeling throughout the week. The group listens and integrates the techniques into their daily routines over the next week to decrease their stress levels. These participants are attending group therapy to improve their mental well-being and ability to cope with stress.

  • What are group therapy and family therapy?
  • What are the benefits of group and family therapy?
  • What are examples of group and family therapy?
  • What are the similarities and differences between group and family therapy?
  • What is the psychology behind group and family therapy?

Definition of Group and Family Therapy

Both group therapy and family therapy are forms of talk therapies, also known as psychotherapy. Both therapies are great tools in helping people cope with a variety of illnesses and issues like anxiety, addiction, stress, grief, postpartum concerns, communication problems, and so much more.

Group therapy is when multiple patients with the same or similar disorders or struggles attend group therapy sessions led by a psychologist or mental health professional. Group therapy participants are usually strangers who meet together to share stories and learn new techniques or problem-solving skills. These therapy sessions can be held in community centers, mental health clinics, hospitals, or churches.

Group and Family Therapy group of people attending a group therapy session StudySmarterGroup therapy session, pexels.com

Family therapy is when members of a family attend therapy sessions together with a psychologist or mental health professional to improve an issue that has been ongoing in the family. Families who seek the help of a therapist may have communication concerns, disagreements, or unique struggles that prevent them from being able to cope well. Some family therapy sessions are held in homes, while others are held at mental health facilities or private offices.

Group or family therapy can be used in the treatment of:

  • Financial concerns or stress

  • Addiction

  • Anxiety

  • Divorce

  • Postpartum Depression or adjustment

  • Navigating parenthood

  • PTSD

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Grief and loss

  • Eating disorders

  • Relationship problems

Group and Family Therapy Benefits

Attending group therapy and family therapy can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Some people may even choose to do both! Since both therapies involve interaction with multiple people, many new solutions are presented that can assist with decision-making. By sharing and hearing the experiences of others, group members may feel less alone and be able to enhance their communication and social skills.

Group Therapy Benefits

Group therapy provides ongoing support from others going through similar experiences. Honest communication is encouraged in group therapy, and members may feel more comfortable being honest with groups of strangers than with people they already know. Even if someone does not feel completely comfortable in group therapy, the ability to hear about the experiences of others that connect to personal struggles can be beneficial. Group therapy is also usually cheaper than other forms of therapy.

Family Therapy Benefits

Family therapy is designed to assist family members with improving communication skills and establishing healthy boundaries with each other. Family therapy is a safe space for self-expression, which can help create an overall healthier family dynamic. Family therapists may teach and model effective communication skills, help the family problem-solve, and provide support in building habits that can positively influence the family. Family therapy is not limited to couples or parents with and their children. Grandparents raising children, single parents, adoptive parents, foster families, extended families, and other non-traditional family networks can attend therapy sessions together.

Examples for Group and Family Therapy

Group and Family Therapy sessions can be held in many different places and sometimes even in a family member's home. Some types of group and family therapies include:

  • Self-Help Groups

    • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), grief groups, divorce groups, etc.

  • Cognitive-behavioral groups

    • Clients learn new skills and ways of coping with their illness or difficulty. Mostly used for mental health purposes.

  • Psychoeducational groups

    • Provide a heavy focus on problem-solving and taking control of struggles. Often combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques.

  • Interpersonal groups

    • These groups can last around 2 to 3 months based on how the group progresses. These groups focus on uncovering and processing the root causes of negative feelings. Mostly used for complex interpersonal issues, past trauma, current mental illness, or other more intense therapy needs.

  • Systemic Family Therapy

    • Seeks to enhance communication skills and problem-solving skills within the family and develop and improve the relationships in the family.

  • Strategic Family Therapy

    • Focuses heavily on children under 18 years old. Commonly used in the treatment of addiction, bullying, mental health disorders, or concerning behaviors that negatively impact a child's or adolescent's health.

  • Structural Family Therapy

    • Offers structured guidelines for the family to learn and follow. Rules, procedures, and boundaries are discussed and established with parents and children to create new family routines.

  • Relationship counseling/therapy

    • Focuses on enhancing the relationship between married couples, divorced or separated individuals, child-parent relationships, adoptive or foster families, premarital couples, etc.

Group and Family Therapy adult hands holding wrists in a circle StudySmarterGroups and families, pixabay.com

Similarities and Differences between Family Therapy and Group Therapy

Group and family therapy are quite similar in a lot of ways but do have some important differences.

Similarities

  • Both group and family therapies limit the number of people in a group (usually less than 20 people).

  • Both forms of therapy can address similar issues or struggles.

  • In some cases, both therapies can be beneficial.

  • Both group and family therapies are effective at treating a wide range of disorders.

Someone who struggles with addiction might choose to attend a self-help group. In other cases, a family struggling with a family member's addiction may seek family therapy to find healthy ways to cope. Different types of therapy serve different purposes and produce different results.

Differences

  • The biggest difference is that group therapy is often with strangers, while family therapy is with relatives.

  • Family therapy is usually conducted from a systems approach or perspective, but group therapy is conducted from many different perspectives.

  • The goals of group therapy and family therapy are usually very different.

  • Family therapy can be more intense than group therapy, depending on the nature of both.

Exposure to new people might be uncomfortable at first for someone seeking group therapy, but they can benefit from different perspectives outside of their family relationships. Family therapy might be more comfortable for some individuals but will lack the diversity of most group settings. Group therapy offers the opportunity to learn from multiple people and make new connections, while family therapy gives the opportunity to learn from the therapist and strengthen family connections.

Group and Family Therapy paper houses with paper families StudySmarterDifferent types of families, pixabay.com

Group and Family Therapy in Psychology

Group and family therapy can enhance the well-being and mental health of the clients. These therapies help clients uncover solutions to problems and implement those solutions. Group and family therapy not only address mental health but also biological, social, and emotional wellbeing. Group and family therapy clients often learn techniques and skills to sharpen their decision-making skills, coping skills, and relational skills.

Group and Family Therapy - Key takeaways

  • Both group therapy and family therapy are forms of psychotherapy.

  • Group therapy is when multiple clients with the same or similar disorder or issues attend therapy sessions together led by a psychologist or mental health professional.

    • Group therapy can help someone gain support from others going through similar experiences.

  • Family therapy is when members of a family attend sessions with a psychologist or mental health professional to improve an issue that has been ongoing in the family.

    • Family therapy can help clients improve communication and establish healthy boundaries with each other.

  • Self-Help Groups, Cognitive-Behavioral Groups, Psychoeducational Groups, Interpersonal Groups, Systemic Family Therapy, Strategic Family Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, and relationship counseling are types of group and family therapies.

  • Group and family therapy clients often learn techniques and skills to sharpen their decision-making skills, coping skills, and relational skills.

Frequently Asked Questions about Group and Family Therapy

Group therapy is when multiple patients with the same disorder or issue have therapy sessions with a psychologist or professional. Family therapy is when members of a family are under the supervision of a psychologist or mental health professional to improve an issue that has been ongoing in the family.

There are often new solutions presented that can assist with decision-making skills within both therapies. Group therapy can help someone gain support from others going through the same experience. Family therapy can help family members express honesty and establish boundaries with each other.

The biggest difference is that group therapy is often with strangers, while family therapy is with relatives. Group therapy gives the opportunity to make new connections, while family therapy gives the opportunity to strengthen connections.

Family therapy includes multiple relatives that are working together to improve their structure or functioning. Individual therapy is more personal and does not involve other people, besides a licensed professional.

The goals of group and family therapy are to enhance the well-being or mental state of other people, find solutions to problems, enhance decision-making skills, and/or coping skills.

Final Group and Family Therapy Quiz

Question

Define "self-help group".

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Answer

A small community of people who meet together on a regular basis to gain support in a common issue or occurrence.

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Who are self-help groups good for?

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Individuals struggling with their mental health, substance abuse, addiction problems, grieving, etc.

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True or false? Self-help groups often require a yearly fee. 


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False

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Self-help groups are often ___ ___ giving community members the chance to share and listen to other people's stories that might relate to them.

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Answer

peer-led

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True or false? Sharing experiences in support groups is required. 

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False

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What are the three main types of self-help groups?

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Answer

Twelve-step programs, support groups, and online self-help groups.

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Which type of self-help group can people remain anonymous in, by only revealing their first name?

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Answer

Twelve-step programs

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A mentor who has been a part of the 12-step program for a longer period of time, usually recovering from the same addiction, is called a _______.

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Sponsor

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These groups usually hold bi-weekly or monthly in-person meetings to create a sense of community.

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Traditional support groups

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The biggest benefit of self-help groups is:

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Having support from a community that can empathize with a deeper understanding, due to the similarity in their hardships.

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True or false? Self-help groups are only appropriate for people struggling with addiction.

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False

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Self-help groups for people struggling with mental health can include:

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Groups to do with general wellbeing, coping with stress, general anxiety, social anxiety, depression, coping with a terminal illness, grievance, and many more.

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___________ are of a higher standard and usually have more up-to-date or in-depth resources due to better funding.


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 Cooperatives

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_____ ______ are great for those who cannot attend in-person groups due to time restraints or busy schedules.

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Answer

Online groups

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What is a good type of self-help group for someone who struggles with social anxiety?


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Answer

Online self-help groups

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Family Therapy is defined as ________.

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Family therapy is a specialized type of group therapy in which the entire family is considered. 

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What are the three types of family therapy?

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Structural, Strategic, and Functional Family Therapy

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Which form of therapy is specifically designed for couples?

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Answer

The Gottman Method

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Which form of family therapy evaluates the structure of the family and aims to improve the interactions and dynamics between members of the family.

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Structural Family Therapy

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Creating a visual representation of the family dynamic is called __________.

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Family Mapping

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Which form of family therapy believes that a child's symptoms are linked to a family member's behavior or behavior patterns. 

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Answer

Strategic Family Therapy

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Establishing a therapeutic alliance with a family is a process called _________.

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Joining

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This form of family therapy is a preventative therapy that targets at-risk youth and juvenile delinquency. 

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Functional Family Therapy

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Question

Gottman's Four Horses of the Apocalypse are ____________.

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Contempt, Criticism, Deceitfulness, and Withdrawal. 

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What are the seven levels of the Sound Relationship House Theory? 

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Building love maps, sharing fondness and admiration, turning towards, positive perspective, managing conflict, making life dreams come true, and creating shared meaning. 

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What are the three goals of family therapy? 

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Improve the home environment, improve communication, and understand and process specific family situations. 

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What are the five phases of Functional Family Therapy?

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Answer

Engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change, and generalization.

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Strategic therapists will work to restructure the family dynamic by _________. This is when family members will be given specific relationship homework. 

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Assigning tasks

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Question

Listening to your partner when they need to vent about their day is an example of which level of the Sound Relationship House Theory?

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Answer

Turning Towards

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Which form of family therapy is especially effective in dealing with adolescents who are struggling with depression, drug use, or conflicts with others?

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Answer

Functional Family Therapy 

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Forms of talk therapies are also called _________.

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Answer

Psychotherapy

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Question

Usually involves strangers who meet together to share stories and learn new techniques or problem-solving skills. 

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Answer

Group Therapy

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________ who seek the help of a therapist often have communication issues, disagreements, or structural issues that prevent them from coming up with a way to fix or improve their situation.

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Answer

Families

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True/False: Family therapy is only home based.

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Answer

False. Family therapy can be home based, but not always.

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Group therapy is beneficial and might be easier for people to open up to eachother because they are often _______.

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strangers

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Techniques that therapists might include in group therapy can help or improve...?

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Create clear communication, find solutions to issues, and create habits that can positively influence the family in the future.

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Examples of ____-_____ groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Grievance groups, etc.

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Answer

self-help

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Groups where patients learn new skills and ways of coping with their illness or difficulty. Mostly used for mental health purposes.

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Answer

Cognitive-behavioral groups

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3 main types of family therapy include...

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Answer

Structural family therapy, systemic family therapy, and strategic family therapy.

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Question

True or false? Relationship counseling is a form of family therapy.


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Answer

True 

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Group and family therapy often only have __ people or less.

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20

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Someone struggling with addiction could benefit from which type of therapy?


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Group AND family therapy.

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Participants of group and family therapy often learn modalities and techniques to sharpen their ________ _______ ______, coping skills, structural mishaps, and mental health.

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Answer

decision making skills

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_____ ______ is when members of a family are under the supervision of a psychologist or mental health professional to improve an issue that has been ongoing in the family.

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Answer

Family therapy

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True/False: Financial issues can be addressed in group or family therapy.

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True

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True or false? For group therapy, people in the group all have to have the same mental health disorder

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True - the purpose of the group therapy stems from the experiences they have, so they all have to have the same disorder to relate to experiences

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Do group and family therapy sessions have to be in a mental health clinic?

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Yes

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What can group or family therapy not be used for?

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Schizophrenia

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What is a perk of group therapy?

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It's cheaper than other forms of therapy

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What types of solutions are presented by the therapist in group and family therapy?

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Solutions that help people with decision-making

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