Compendium... for tracking group process


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Brown, M., Downie, A., Howard, N. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2010). Compendium: A computerised programme for the tracking and measurement of group process. 23rd Meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, Ravenscar UK []

Group analysis is a form of psychodynamic psychotherapy, and as such tends to lag behind cognitive behavioural therapy and other similar treatment approaches in terms of evidence based practice. In these therapies we believe that it is the process that enables change to take place. This is harder to measure or describe and usually relies on therapists hand written notes and memory. Small wonder, then that most research focuses on outcomes alone rather seeking to identify the processes by which change came about.

We are working with a computer based programme called Compendium developed by the Open University as a means of recording and analysing dialogue; its uses include web diagrams and critical pathways at work. We anticipate it will identify more clearly the process whereby individual and group change comes about, complementing measures such as CORE.

We hope to demonstrate that compendium provides an effective means of extrapolating relevant data in terms of group process in a visual form enabling easier recognition of significant patterns of discourse and points of change in individual members and the group as a whole.

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Compendium... for tracking group process

  1. 1. 23rd Meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research Ravenscar, UK, March 2010 Compendium: A computerised programme for the tracking and measurement of group process Marion Brown, Andy Downie, Nicole Howard Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Aylesbury Simon Buckingham Shum Knowledge Media Institute Open University, Milton Keynes 1 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  2. 2. How do we evidence that group analytic process is an effective medium of change?   Group analysts believe that group process is a vital factor in helping individual members change pathological patterns of relating to themselves and others?   This is complex to record and measure: notes alone rarely do it justice   Cognitive science and information design give us ways to visualize complex phenomena   A good visualization relieves memory load, and draws analysts’ attention to significant aspects   Any map filters out noise in order to support specific kinds of interpretation   “Compendium” is a way to map group process, with the addition of a database, in order to build a searchable evidence base 2 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  3. 3. How do we record and understand what’s happening in a group?   How do we demonstrate that this process enables change in individual members?   By tracking interactions in the group   Identifying significant themes, key moments and patterns…   between members   between members and the group as a whole   within individual members   Understanding how these change over time 3 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  4. 4. Murray Cox: Group Interaction Chronogram Patient: iii End i Beginning ii Middle © Simon Buckingham Shum
  5. 5. Murray Cox: Group Interaction Chronogram iii End i Beginning ii Middle iii End i Beginning iii End i Beginning ii Middle ii Middle ? + + iii End i Beginning - iii End i Beginning ii Middle ii Middle iii End i Beginning ii Middle Therapist © Simon Buckingham Shum
  6. 6. Compendium software (Open University)   “Semantic hypermedia” software   grounded in 25 years’ computing research in the design of flexible tools for managing information and ideas   Analogy: “a spreadsheet for ideas”   tools to build a visual language, and arrange, connect, index and search information and ideas   A bit like mindmapping, but with a full database underpinning it to enable a long-term evidence base   Free and open source, works on all platforms, funded by UK Research Councils (AHRC; ESRC; EPSRC; e-Science Programme; JISC) 6 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  7. 7. © Simon Buckingham Shum
  8. 8. Context: A brief focused analytic group   A closed 24 session homogeneous analytic group comprising 8 individuals, 4 male, 4 female and one group conductor   Group members were within the moderate to severe level of mental health difficulty   All had complex personal and mental health histories leading to significant difficulty in intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships in their adult lives   The theme that emerged most clearly at assessment was repressed and/or suppressed anger correlating with severe anxiety/panic and depressive symptomatology   This formed the group focus 8 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  9. 9. Theme 1: Anger Analyst’s record of her interpretation to the group on the emerging theme 9 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  10. 10. Theme 2: Reaching out to one of the group The tags on a patient’s icon show the behaviours perceived by the analyst 10 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  11. 11. Theme 3: Medication Analyst’s notes on the theme that emerged towards the group’s conclusion 11 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  12. 12. The individual in the group Map of the group from a specific individual’s perspective 12 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  13. 13. Map of all dynamics No links from Highly active other patient patients… Red ring reminds analyst of one patient’s effect on the group Private Particularly notes strong on a relationship patient (dashed link) 13 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  14. 14. Which behaviours do two patients share? Tags shared in common are orange, tags from one patient in green 14 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  15. 15. Analysing the evidence base across sessions 15 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  16. 16. Analysing a patient across Sessions 1 and 11 Focusing on the “tag profile” for a patient in different sessions 16 © Simon Buckingham Shum
  17. 17. Next steps (1): additional ways of evidencing changes Group level:   Compare maps from two or more sessions by placing them next to each other   Compare the group tag profiles from sessions: by selecting all nodes in a map, all relevant tags ‘light up’ Individual level:   Compare the tag profile for a patient over time, from pre- group assessment, through early, midway and closing sessions, to review.   Compare relationships between specific patients across sessions © Simon Buckingham Shum
  18. 18. Next steps (2): additional ways of evidencing changes Technological potential:   Video annotation: indexing video data with icons and connections   Summary reports/graphs generated from the incidence of tags, links, etc Theoretical potential:   We would hope to see a shift from negative to more positive tags over time   Can we find patterns in tags or links congruent with theoretical predictions? (e.g. matching tags between patients = “mirroring”) © Simon Buckingham Shum