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Clinical Application of Group Development Ideas

Clinical Application of Group Development Ideas

Abstract

The empirical literature supports the idea of groups developing structure over time in a predictable sequence. This is a clinically useful way of conceptualizing the whole group, especially closed time-limited groups. Two general types of development are discussed: one based on recurrent cyclical patterns and the other on progressive linear patterns. A basic 4-stage model is described consisting of 4 sequential stages: engagement, differentiation, interpersonal work, and termination. This model is compatible with findings from both cyclic and linear aspects of the literature. Clinical application is discussed with a particular focus on structural aspects of group organization and specific technical intervention strategies. These strategies are particularly useful when considering how to implement a variety of models of group psychotherapy.
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