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Partial Hospitalization Group Observation

Identify the group characteristics: name, meeting location and time, etc.

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For this observation, I chose a Partial Hospitalization group that meets five days a week for four hours. There is no particular name for this meeting, hence it is recorded as Partial Hospitalization Support. They meet Monday through Friday from 9 am until 1:00 pm at Phoenix counseling center Gastonia, 2505 Court Drive, Gastonia NC 28054. The group is short-term and usually lasts from four to six weeks.

List membership demographics of age, gender, ethnicity, etc. Is attendance open or closed?

This is an open-ended type of gathering, which means clients’ new clients can be brought in. However, the group can have no more than six clients at a time. This time, there were five group members including three women, one white nineteen two African Americans ages twenty-two and thirty-six. The twenty-two-year-old has a child. Two males ages twenty-seven and twenty-nine, the twenty-seven-year-old is biracial and the twenty-nine is African American.

What type is the group and its core purpose.

The purpose of the Partial Hospitalization group is to help with active mental health diagnosis and support while they stabilize their symptoms. Criteria is 1 of 3, either at risk for hospitalization or just discharged from psychiatric hospitalization and needing further stabilization for medicine to get therapeutic level or at risk for relapse if some sobriety time exist. The support gathering offers both group and individual therapy and weekly medication management. There are various methods and techniques applied to help members, such as CBT, some DBT, MI, MAtrix, Seeking Safety, Resiliency model (CREM), and a few MH-related skills.

If possible, interview a group participant and/or the group leader to better understand the group precepts and processes.

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Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to interview one of the members or the therapist, hence, I will describe the leader of the group. The therapist is a licensed qualified person who has worked in the field for over twenty-five years, Cathy White. Throughout the observed meeting, she remained engaged, enthusiastic, and compassionate, creating a safe environment for group members to openly discuss their issues with each other. Her feedback was delivered precisely and promptly, so nobody felt interrupted or lacking attention.

Relate key group concepts and processes to the course material in the text.

The group was a working group. I observed two different times. One group was in person. The other was virtual. One client has gotten COVID so the others were waiting on their results. The one with COVID was the twenty-nine-year-old African American male. Both times, I observed rapport with the group. It was upbeat and they were all familiar with each other. They would support and hold each other accountable. The first day I was in person the topic was a CBT model about irrational thinking. They talked more than the therapist did. Calling each other on their irrational thinking. They knew a lot about each other and often spoke to each other about personal matters. Asking each other questions about what was happening in their lives. The second time when I observed when they were virtual the topic was a defense mechanism. The roles played different defenses people used and identified the ones they used most.

The group was in the performing stage of groups from what I observed. I also noticed action-oriented group concepts, such as correcting self-destructive thought patterns, examining action consequence patterns, and skill-building. From humanist theory, concepts I observed were the relationship between the members and the leader, cohesion, authenticity (Hutchinson, 2016). Cathy was organized and stated she plans her lessons out in weeks. She possessed kindness and genuine concern for her group members. She has an optimistic personality and used humor throughout both groups. She spoke to them not at them and they seemed to have a very good rapport and respect for her. Once in the first time, I observed a group she had them tell me the group rules and they did. Cathy the leader has this thing where she will throw you a “P” for progress when you have improved on something and the group members will even give each other “P” when they notice improvement with each other. Another unique rule they have is when someone goes off-topic they all say squirrel and laugh and get back on topic.

Conclude with a personal reflection of the group experience.

My reflection is that I enjoyed seeing this group in action. I learned a lot from Cathy about planning, building rapport, and using humor. Her clients genuinely appeared to like the group and each other. I also noticed her group room was very comfy. There were lamps to give it low light. I thought the relationships between the group members were amazing, they spoke about trauma and other personal feelings and they seemed comfortable to be vulnerable. I believe Cathy’s leadership skills of being consistent, enforcing the rules and her humor made the group so enjoyable.


Hutchinson, D. R. (2016). Great groups: Creating and leading effective groups. SAGE Publications.

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