Current Practices in General Hospital Group Psychotherapy
Farley, Patrick N.
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The purpose of this survey study was to evaluate the current practice of inpatient group therapy in general hospital psychiatric units in a southeastern state and to determine whether there was a need for a more systematic method of designing, implementing, and evaluating general hospital group therapy. A second major purpose was to test a model to determine if it could be used to evaluate current practices of general hospital psychiatric group therapy on a more global basis. The history of group therapy and current nationwide statistical data relating to general hospital psychiatric units were summarized. A survey which addressed unit operations, unit staffing patterns, types of patients, and general practices regarding psychiatric unit group therapy was administered to 35 general hospital psychiatric unit administrators in a southeastern state. A standard interview protocol was developed and administered on-site to six group therapy practitioners. These interviews gathered information relative to specific unit group therapy practices, evaluated whether Group Pentagon components were utilized in group therapy practices, and identified factors influencing unit group therapy practice. An analysis of the available literature indicated there was little information relative to the practice of group therapy on general hospital psychiatric units. The literature analysis also revealed no consistent model or procedures for the design, implementation, and evaluation of group therapy in general hospital psychiatric units. The survey and interviews demonstrated that group therapy programs appeared fragmented, varied across units, and did not appear to be designed, implemented, or evaluated in a consistent manner. During the interviews, the practitioners described the lack of many of the conditions necessary for the provision of effective group therapy on their general hospital psychiatric units. The literature review analysis, survey, and interviews indicated the components of the Group Pentagon were not utilized in general hospital group therapy programs. The Group Pentagon provided a useful model for evaluating overall group therapy programs, as well as reviewing specific group therapy procedures. Finally, this research established a protocol for evaluating general hospital and potentially other group therapy practices.
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