WILL an explanatory session preparing prospective patients increase the efficacy of group therapy? This article describes a controlled research project designed to answer this question.
The query springs from many sources. Laboratory and clinical group research has demonstrated the crucial importance of early meetings in shaping the future course of a group.1 Group norms established early in the life of the group tend to persist, outliving even a complete turnover in the group population.2 Approximately one third of all patients beginning group therapy in a university outpatient clinic drop out unimproved during the first dozen meetings.3 Conversely, patients who in the first 12 meetings achieve high group popularity, or who show high satisfaction with the group, are more apt to show clinical improvement at the end of 50 meetings.4 These observations suggest the rationale of therapeutic intervention early in the life of the group. A recent
Yalom ID, Houts PS, Newell G, Rand KH. Preparation of Patients for Group TherapyA Controlled Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(4):416-427. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730280032003