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  • 1. Running head: COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL GROUP THERAPY 1 Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy Elizabeth Wolf Lynn University
  • 2. Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy In Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy the premise is to have one or more therapists treat a small group of clients as a group together. The process of the group is to; develop, explore, and examine interpersonal relationships within the group. This could incorporate; support groups, skills training, mindfulness, relaxation training, social skills, or psycho- education, these are all broad varieties of groups. More specialized groups do exist such as; expressive groups which include dance therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. The principles of CBT group therapy are as follows; universality: everyone among the group has shared experiences and feeling, and this to allow the members to feel as if they are not alone anymore, support the other members experiences, and rise self-esteem. Altruism; the group is a place where members are able to help one another and give something back. Imitative behavior; one of the ways members cultivate their social skills is by observing and copying other members behaviors. Existential factors; everyone has to take responsibility for their own life and the consequences of their decisions. Catharsis; this is what everyone in the group hopes to achieve by the end, relief from emotional distress. Interpersonal learning; comes from attending the group in the first place, you obtain self- awareness. Self- understanding; the more you open up and share and the more you listen and can see the comparisons in someone else in you, the more you understand yourself so the longer and the more consist you come to group the more self- understanding you get out of group. But the most important therapeutic factor out of all of this is; cohesiveness and this personal development can only take place on a interpersonal milieu, this is when all the members of the group get that sense of belonging/ acceptance/ and support they have always been looking for and have never found it until now. It is true that individual therapy
  • 3. and group therapy are both effective, but group therapy is more effective for higher functioning individuals. The guiding therapy that supports cognitive behavioral group therapy are; one Social Learning Theory, which emphases the meaning of exhibiting new behaviors, the second theory that cognitive behavioral group therapy stemmed off of is Functional Family Therapy which is evidence based and is intended to help the adult who is responsible for the dependent cope and support the defiant child more efficiently. Since CBT Group Therapy is problem focused it entails all members to be honest and be open minded, for there to be any kind of managing or guiding of problems that lead to a better life for the clients. “As a rule, behavioral and cognitive– behavioral family therapists use a variety of learning theory techniques to bring about change” (Gladding, 258). In CBT Group Therapy it is an evidence based treatment using empirical evidence, it is most effective in treating; mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating/ substance abuse disorders, and psychotic disorders. CBT is goal oriented, brief, direct, its main concern is to solve problems regarding dysfunctional emotions/ behaviors/ and cognitions, in CBT Group Therapy the concentration is mainly on the “here and now” and to ease distressing symptoms. “In behavioral and cognitive– behavioral therapies, the therapist is the expert, teacher, collaborator, and coach ( Dattilio, 2001; Dattilio & Epstein, 2005; Schwebel & Fine, 1992)” (Gladding, 264). This means constantly learning what the newest techniques are and up to date research findings. And seeing through every member of the groups “masks” and seeing their true qualities, good/ bad, and bringing out the best in them, showing them their strengths and how to utilize them. Because when they first come into group, they probably don’t think they have any
  • 4. strengths or good qualities, so it your job to show them, or let them figure it out, but guides them. To be effective, the therapist has to learn to play many roles and be flexible. In the cognitive– behavioral approach, “ the therapist assists in identifying how emotions commonly are linked with specific cognitions and helps ex-plore the appropriateness and variety of cognitions that are associated with negative emo-tions” ( Dattilio, 2005, p. 20), (Glidding, 264). Some specific strategies that CBT group therapist uses are; keeping a diary with important events with the associated feeling attached to that particular event and the thoughts that went along with it and behaviors. Mind over Mood is a good workbook to use for this. Having group members while out of group question and test their own thoughts, assumptions about things, and beliefs. Maybe, if the group member is able trying new ways of behaving and acting if possible. If a group member wants they could try one of the following; relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and distraction techniques, if the group member remembers the techniques and is willing to do them on their own time. The Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy scenario: this group is for women who have been sexually abused when they were children and for ages 18 and older and are diagnosed with PTSD. A history and interview is taken before entering the group, to see if this group is suitable for this person. This is a primary sexual abuse group. The type of approach that is going to be used is TFCBT, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and art therapy. I choose those two types of therapies because TFCBT is focused on trauma and is the most effective treatment for sexually abused victims and art therapy because it is a great way to release emotions, especially if any of the members don’t recognize what emotions they are feeling and it is a healthy way to get them out. I believe that by using both these forms of therapies the clients will
  • 5. be more able to process what happened to them and move past it, “Don’t be a prisoner of your past, but a pioneer of your future” (Sandy Taylor).
  • 6. References Gladding, S. T. (2010). Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy. In J. Johnson (Ed.). Family Therapy:History, Therapy, Practice, 5th Edition (pp. 250-269.). New Jersey: Person Education. Social Learning Theory. (2010). Retrieved November 09, 2010 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/social_learning_theory. Cohen, J., & Mannarino, A. (2008). Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Parents. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 13(4), 158-162. doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2008.00502.x.
  • 7. References Gladding, S. T. (2010). Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy. In J. Johnson (Ed.). Family Therapy:History, Therapy, Practice, 5th Edition (pp. 250-269.). New Jersey: Person Education. Social Learning Theory. (2010). Retrieved November 09, 2010 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/social_learning_theory. Cohen, J., & Mannarino, A. (2008). Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Parents. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 13(4), 158-162. doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2008.00502.x.

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