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Group Therapy

Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group. The term can legitimately refer to any form of psychotherapy when delivered in a group format, including cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy, but it is usually applied to psychodynamic group therapy where the group context and group process is explicitly utilised as a mechanism of change by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group. The broader concept of group therapy can be taken to include any helping process that takes place in a group, including support groups, skills training groups (such as anger management, mindfulness, relaxation training or social skills training), and psychoeducation groups. The differences between psychodynamic groups, activity groups, support groups, problem-solving and psycoeducational groups have been discussed by psychiatrist Charles Montgomery. Other, more specialised forms of group therapy would include non-verbal expressive therapies such as art therapy, dance therapy, or music therapy.

Group therapy can form part of the therapeutic milieu of a psychiatric in-patient unit or ambulatory psychiatric partial hospitalization (also known as day hospital treatment). In addition to classical "talking" therapy, group therapy in an institutional setting can also include group-based expressive therapies such as drama therapy, psychodrama, art therapy, and non-verbal types of therapy such as music therapy and dance/movement therapy. Group psychotherapy is a key component of milieu therapy in a therapeutic community. The total environment or milieu is regarded as the medium of therapy, all interactions and activities regarded as potentially therapeutic and are subject to exploration and interpretation, and are explored in daily or weekly community meetings.[9] However, interactions between the culture of group psychotherapeutic settings and the more managerial norms of external authorities may create 'organizational turbulence' which can critically undermine a group's ability to maintain a safe yet challenging 'formative space'.[10] Academics at the University of Oxford studied the inter-organizational dynamics of a national democratic therapeutic community over a period of four years; they found external steering by authorities eroded the community's therapeutic model, produced a crisis, and led to an intractable conflict which resulted in the community's closure.

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