Respond by recommending strategies for improving the effectiveness of their group therapy sessions. Support your recommendations with evidence-based literature and your own experiences with clients.
NOTE: Positive comment
Group Therapy with Older Adults
Group therapy for older adults can be beneficial due to the isolation and loneliness associated with the aging population. Aging is often viewed as a time characterized by multiple social and emotional losses and a decline in physical well-being (Bonhote et al., 1999). The decline can increase the risk of depression and suicide in older adults. With the use of group therapy and social interaction, the emotional state and overall wellbeing of the individual can increase.
Description of Group
The description of my independent group therapy included older adults, all of who were above 60 years of age. There are five members in the group, many of whom have a diagnosis of depression with symptoms of depressed mood, isolation, and decreased ADL’s. The group session meets once a week for approximately one hour. The members seem to enjoy social contact with others, share age-related concerns an issue, along with experiences. In all group therapy sessions, clients are encouraged to share their experiences while remaining supportive of one another while offering feedback. Improvement in physical function, behavioral competence and symptoms associated with depression has been reported with group therapy (Sharif et al., 2010).
Stages of the Group
The stages of group formation are based on the relationship of each group member. Forming of the group can occur when new members enter the group and get to know each other. The members of the group are welcoming to new members but are also reluctant to share new experiences during their initial encounter. Storming can be identified within this group as conflict among group members usually due to differences of opinions or beliefs. The members of this group can discuss their feelings as well as disagreements. Norming then occurs when group members have attended group sessions for a lengthy period. The last stage is performing; members of the group are benefiting from therapy. Group members have formed a bond with one another while remaining open to new group members.
Resistance or Issues Presented
The members remain active participants of group therapy, but one specific client tends to interrupt other members. As the group facilitator, he is often reminded to allow others the time to participate. Also, during group activities, he refuses to comply with scheduled activity or has been known to suggest a different activity. It is not possible to tailor a treatment plan to each group member, but the wishes of each member are considered. As far as resistance, the only noticeable resistance in the group is when new members join group therapy. Members have shared intimate feelings and experiences when new members join; it is challenging to continue with open communication. Motivational interviewing is often used when resistance or issues are presented.
Challenges exist in group therapy. Intragroup conflicts occur due to different beliefs. Once a conflict is acknowledged, steps can be taken to overcome it. If a conflict is ignored, it will continue as a conflict or be exaggerated. To ensure the psychotherapeutic process, one must understand what attributes might affect adult psychotherapy and this requires an understanding of individual, family, collective, and systemic issues within older adults (Wheeler, 2014).
Bonhote, K., Romano-Egan, J., & Cornwell, C. (1999). Altruism and creative expressions in a
long-term older adult psychotherapy group. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 20(6), 603–
Sharif, F., Mansouri, A., Jahanbin, I., & Zare, N. (2010). Effect of group reminiscence therapy
on depression in older adults attending a day centre in Shiraz, southern Islamic Republic
of Iran. East Mediterr Health, 16: 765 – 770.
Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to
guide for evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Springer.