Introduction to Group Work, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Group Work, theory and practice can be used in many settings but has specific applicability in the areas of psychotherapy.  Here the theory is used in order to treat a range of psychological problems.  This approach is widely used in the treatment of those suffering with addiction problems like that of alcohol or substance abuse.  The ability to freely discuss individual problems within a group setting assists in breaking down inhibitions and gaining recognition of the problem / illness that needs to be addressed.   (Corey, M. 2010)

The Process of Group Therapy

The group therapeutic approach has a number of distinct advantages for the patients receiving this form of treatment.  Very often patients have a sense of denial but need the trust and acceptance of a peer group that appreciate and understand their problems.  It is the fear of being judged and condemned by others as opposed to that of acceptance and understanding.  This is the first step towards remediation and treatment of the illness.  (Fehr, S.2003).

The evidence pointing towards alcoholism as a disease has resulted in a number of prescribed treatment options. The behavioural conditions of alcoholism has added some doubt in the disease theory i.e. the ability of alcoholics to abstain, revert to moderate drinking and then excessive drinking creating a vicious cycle of events. This pointing towards the concept of addiction like drugs. Psychologists and Sociologists both consider that far too great an emphasis is placed upon the plight of the committed alcoholic (individual) as opposed to having a national policy geared more towards the vast majority of people suffering with drinking problems.

Psychological Theories  – in Group Work Setting

The Social Learning Theory – SLT is a general theory of behaviour in psychology and examines principles of learning within the context of cognitive psychology. In particular how an individual’s personality will develop from social context and learning. The theory looks at positive and negative reinforcement or reward and punishment in the withdrawal of alcoholism. The example below illustrates two different consequences that may result from drinking in different settings, despite behaviour being relatively consistent

Expectancy Theory – This approach has surfaced in order to address a wide range of alcohol problems. This theory is based upon the beliefs that a person holds on the views of life. For example: If I go into a pub I will almost certainly drink beer. Hence looking at certain behavioural patterns you can make course corrections, e.g. don’t go into the Pub! Hence as opposed to making drink the focal point an alternate approach would be to address the object of that desire i.e. stays away from Pubs!  This focuses the brain more on root cause as opposed to the certainty of an event that would take place following a pre-defined course of action.

Cognitive Theory – This theory relates to health communication i.e. the cognitive, emotional aspects and aspects of behaviour for understanding behavioural change.

References

Corey, M. C. (2010). Groups: Process and Practice (8th ed). In M. C. Corey, Groups: Process and Practice (8th ed) (pp. 4-8). Belmont CA: Cengage Learning.

Fehr, S. S. (2003). Introduction to group therapy a practical guide. In S. S. Fehr, Introduction to group therapy a practical guide (pp. 31-40). New York: Haworth Press.

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