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Support Group for Partners of Those With Pornography Addiction, Term Paper Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1811

Term Paper

Session One: Orientation & Welcome: In this first session, the participants will be introduced to each other and to the group format. It is very important for the group leader to explain the rules and ethics of the group to all members: in particular, the imperative for everyone to be supportive, friendly and polite towards everyone else (Corey, 2008, p. 140). Members should be encouraged to tell their stories if they want to. It should be made clear to all members that they can share as much or as little as they want to at the pace they are comfortable with; however, they must show respect to others and not attempt to cajole them into sharing before they are ready. It is also important that the group leader start the session by explaining something more of their own perspective to the members of the group: why they are leading a support group for breast cancer is a particularly important thing for them to share (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2010, p. 482).

Session Two: Self-Esteem: In this session, participants will engage with self-esteem: led by the group leader, they will be encouraged to share their own perceptions of themselves, and their levels of self-esteem. The group leader will encourage participants to offer further explanation: members will be encouraged to share the ways in which they feel low self-esteem. After analyzing the ways in which members feel low self-esteem, the group leader will lead members in ascertaining strategies for positive change (Jacobs, Masson, Harvill, & Schimmel, 2012, pp. 285-286). A key aspect of this will be helping members to identify the self-talk in which they engage that tends to encourage feelings of low self-esteem. In particular, members will be encouraged to think about ways in which they can improve their negative self-talk, by replacing it with positive self-talk for example (p. 286). By the end of the session, all members should express understanding of the ways in which they give in to feelings of low self-esteem, and the ways in which they can improve it.

Session Three: Body Image: In this session, the group leader will begin by asking the participants how they feel about their bodies and their attractiveness. The emphasis will be, first, on helping them to ascertain how they feel about themselves, and the ramifications of this: how much does it affect their lives, including and in particular their love lives? (Bakewell & Volker, 2005, p. 698; Schover, 1991, p. 118). From there, participants will be encouraged to examine resources in their lives, including other people (partners, family members, friends) and their own capabilities and strengths: how can they change the way that they feel about their physical appearances? (Schover, 1991, p. 118). Strategies will be formulated and shared, and plans of action developed for all members of the group to follow. For example, participants can take the lessons on self-talk from session two and apply them again, by formulating positive self-talk about their body image.

Session Four: Quality of Life: In this session, participants will be asked to share the ways in which their diagnosis and (where applicable) treatment have changed their lives. In particular, participants will be encouraged to share things that they used to enjoy doing, but that they can no longer do. Participants will also be asked to share things that they enjoyed doing before their diagnosis that they can still do. Both categories of activities should be listed on a whiteboard. Next, the group leader will ask the participants to articulate what it was that they enjoyed about the activities that they can no longer do. The purpose of this is to identify, as much as possible, the psychological needs that the activities filled for the participants: what did they get out of that activity? Then, the group leader will help the participants to ascertain how they might go about fulfilling those needs in a different way: in other words, what kinds of activities might they be able to do in place of their former pastimes. By so doing, the participants should make very real progress towards improving their quality of life.

Session Five: Particulars of Being in a Relationship: The theme of this session will be relationship satisfaction. Participants will discuss the ways in which they are and are not satisfied with their relationships with their significant others (Schover, 1991, p. 118). Of course, some participants may not be in romantic relationships, in which case they will be encouraged to share their struggles: in particular, whether the diagnosis has affected their thinking about this aspect of life, and if so, in what ways. Participants can also discuss non-romantic close friendships, of course, but the cardinal focus should be on romantic relationships. Communication, of course, is very important, and is often an issue between breast cancer patients and their significant others: here, participants will be encouraged to articulate their needs and their frustrations, as well as strategies and tips for securing better communication with their significant others (Ming, 2002, pp. 37-38).

Session Six: Concerning Personal Needs: Building on session five, this session will encourage participants to discuss how they communicate personal needs to significant others and to other people in their lives (Ming, 2002, pp. 37-38). The group leader should use discretion with regard to whether or not to focus more on romantic relationships or family relationships more generally, since the needs of different participants will vary.

Participants should be encouraged to express their needs, both those that are being met and especially those that are not. All kinds of needs should be considered, including attention, understanding, empathy, etc.: in short, any need a participant wants to bring up is pertinent. Participants will then be encouraged to discuss ways in which they might go about expressing these needs to their significant others and/or family members, etc.: how might they go about establishing better channels of communication? Importantly, participants need to realize that it is perfectly acceptable for them to express themselves and their needs.

Session Seven: Perspective-Taking: This session will be devoted to one very specific skill, a skill which is very pertinent to increasing and bettering communication between intimate partners, and even between people in general: perspective-taking (Ming, 2002, p. 38). Perspective-taking is an empathetic skill, a skill which entails seeing the world through another’s perspective (p. 38). To begin with, participants will be asked to use the skills that they have been developing over the course of the support group to formulate how they themselves see their condition. They will then be asked to articulate the degree to which their partners or others in their lives understand this. The therapist will lead the participants through analyses of their partners’ behavior: why they might act in particular ways, etc. With this improved understanding, the participants can attempt to construct a picture of how their partners view their condition, and thereby effectively take the perspective of another.

Session Eight: Matters Sexual: Concerning matters sexual, the participants will be invited to share some of the ways in which their experience with breast cancer has affected their experiences of sexual congress. Social and relationship support appear to be the most important predictors of women’s adjustment to the exigencies of sexual intimacy under conditions of breast cancer (Bakewell & Volker, 2005, pp. 699-700). Accordingly, participants will be asked to identify barriers to their enjoyment of sexual intimacy, and to categorize these into factors endogenous to themselves and factors exogenous: things pertaining to their treatment and their health, as well as their perceptions and attitudes on the one hand, and those of their partners on the other. Then, participants can formulate a list of things that they want to change: what do they want to do differently, and how? And, importantly, how will they apply the skills that they have been developing to affect these outcomes? By so doing, the participants can ascertain what, exactly, stands in their way of enjoying themselves with their partners, and how to fix it.

Session Nine: The Search for Meaning: A crucial and important need for many cancer patients is the search for meaning in life as a result of their diagnosis and struggles with treatment (Ganz, 2007, p. 19). Spirituality can greatly improve quality of life, particularly by helping patients to acquire “a sense of connection to self, others, and/or a higher power” (p. 19). In this session, group members will be encouraged to talk about their spiritual values, and the ways in which these have been tried and tested over the course of their battle with cancer. Participants will be asked to share spiritual insights as well as struggles, and the ways in which they might have found opportunities for spiritual growth as well as struggles and difficulties. In this session, too, participants will have opportunities to express spiritual needs: the ways in which they are struggling to make sense of their lives with cancer.

Session Ten: Cast All Your Cares: In 1 Peter 5:6-7, believers are exhorted to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (NKJV). The purpose of this last session will be to build upon session nine by seeking peace and hope through faith in God. The participants will be asked to share more of their spiritual journeys: when did they first become believers? What are some of the major lessons that God has taught them in the course of their lives as believers? Building off of the discussion in session nine, the participants will be encouraged to discuss ways in which they can increase their receptivity to God’s voice. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). Participants can share inspiring scriptures, stories, and spiritual insights, and discuss how to better understand their experiences in terms of the will of God. This is the ultimate exercise in perspective-taking: seeing their experiences through the eyes of eternity.

References

Bakewell, R. T., & Volker, D. L. (2005). Sexual dysfunction related to the treatment of young women with breast cancer. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 9(60, pp. 697-702. DOI: 10.1188/05.CJON.697-702

Corey, G. (2008). Theory & Practice of Group Counseling. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2010). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Ganz, P. A. (Ed.). (2007). Cancer survivorship: Today and tomorrow. New York: Springer.

Jacobs, E. E., Masson, R. L., Harvill, R. L., & Schimmel, C. J. (2012). Group counseling: Strategies and skills. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Ming, V. M. W. (2002). Psychological predictors of marital adjustment in breast cancer patients. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 7(1), pp. 37-51. DOI: 10.1080/13548500120101540

Schover, L. R. (1991). The impact of breast cancer on sexuality, body image, and intimate relationships. CA-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, pp. 112-120.

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