Group therapy is one of the most effective therapeutic practiced methods in psychology that help people to improve self-awareness and overcome their issues not with in an area of concurrent addiction and mental health problems. Siddhartha Gautama (Lord Buddha) in his career used group therapy in many incidents, for example in one incident, Buddha had offered advice to a group of princes named “Baddavaggiya” who were in search of a woman who had committed a lot of sins.
Yalom (2005) states that group process consists of eleven Therapeutic Factors; Instillation of hope, Universality, Imparting information, Altruism, The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, Development of socializing techniques, Imitative behavior, Interpersonal learning, Group cohesiveness, Catharsis and Existential factors (Yalom 2005 p 9).
Different types of tensions have always occurred in the group process at different levels and in different ways. It is very important that the therapist have a clear picture of this tension level with its different degrees. In some cases, group tension can be fueling and can be hidden in the group and interaction in silence maybe going on for a while.
Group tension can also occur when conflict between greed and selflessness in helping others and choices between the desire to see others improve and the fear of being left behind. When group tension appears, there can be choices between the desire to immerse oneself in the comforting waters of the group and the fear of losing one’s precious individuality.
The primary task of the patient is based on his or her goals that achieve to attend group process and the level of stress, the level of relationship that they are comfortable with both the participant and comfort zone. However the view of the primary task changes noticeably as one progresses in therapy, I found from my group therapy experience that sometimes patients and therapists attend group therapy with very different goals and views of the primary task.
Some patients wished that through group process they would become so well that they would be even more superior to their adversaries by ”Out mental-healthing” them; but another patient planned to learn how to manipulate other participants even more effectively.
When group process running for a few weeks, a majority of patients initially has some clear conception of a primary task most of the time and relief from pain. The patients original goals may be unconscious or, even if conscious, sometimes are well hidden from other participants; they do not form part of the patient initial contract (Yalom 2005).
Resistance is one of the major struggles within the context of the group process that can occur at any stage of the group process, which can impede the group process and can be projected in a different way. Even our coping mechanism is different with different situations and in some cases patients rebuild their interpersonal world in the social microcosm of the group process.
Group therapy is different than individual therapy in the sense that it offers an abundance of secondary gratification because the therapeutic work in a group is derailed because patients may find they are unwilling to relinquish gratification. When patients engaging in their attitudes, habitual patterns or behavior are examined by the other patient or the group, the social microcosm concept occur within the group process.
(More info Fonseka 2012)
Fonseka. N (2012) Dealing with resistance in group therapy, doctoral research paper, CA
Yalom, D. I. 2005. “Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy”. Basic Books (Harper/Collins) New York, USA
Upananda, Rev. R. 2010 “Bauddha Mano Cikittsa Partikara” (Buddhist psychotherapy): S. Godage, Colombo, SL
Schachter. R, 2009. (Group therapy presentation note), GHC, Toronto