This manual is developed for a closed psychoeducational group of young adults aged 20-25 years old with the symptoms of the depressive disorder. The document is aimed at the effective organization of group work for interpersonal communication, exchange of feelings and thoughts between the members of the group to teach them new behavioral patterns and ways of thinking (Corey, 2015).
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The manual addresses the theoretical background of the group members’ selection process, including the description of practical elements, announcement of the group, patients’ screening and interviewing. In subsequent sections, the document introduces specific functions of both, patients and the therapist, as well as the interventions for each stage of group development. The programs of interventions will be developed on the basis of reliable information retrieved from scholarly resources and therapeutic practices. The ultimate goal of the sessions lead according to this manual is to apply the advantages of group therapy to patients with depression to reduce symptoms and train new ways of positive thinking and behavior.
Tools for Group Effectiveness Evaluation
For a group therapist, it is vital to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the undertaken interventions. Therefore, there should be some tools applied to the patients at the beginning and at the end of therapy to detect the achievements and failures (Tuso, 2014). The first tool that could be used is a checklist of symptoms that the majority of patients with depression experience. The list of signs of the disorder might include:
- Constant tiredness, fatigue, or lack of energy;
- Sad mood or pessimism;
- Trouble concentrating attention;
- Difficulty remembering things;
- Persistent feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness;
- The lack of interest in hobbies;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Loss of appetite;
- Eating disorders;
- Thoughts of suicide (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).
The patients will choose the symptoms that they experience at the beginning of the therapy and then will undergo the same procedure upon the completion of the final stage of group work. The results will be compared, and the effectiveness will be evaluated according to the symptoms reduction rate.
The second tool is a questionnaire addressing patients’ goals and the outcomes they envision obtaining upon therapy completion. This questionnaire will include such questions as What are the reasons for your signing with the group therapy? What would you like to change in your current condition? How do you feel about sharing your feelings with other people who experience the same challenges as you do? On a scale from one to ten, how would you evaluate your ability to manage depression issues?
These and similar questions will be aimed at the retrieval of information that would provide insight into the patients’ reflection on their most relevant issues and the ability to overcome psychological obstacles. The questionnaires filled out by the members of a group will be kept until the end of the sessions. During the termination stage, a second set of the same questionnaires will be introduced for the patients to fill out and the two documents will be compared. The results will provide valid information about the changes that were achieved by the leader and the patients throughout the treatment process.
In summary, the manual is a guide for the therapist to work with a group of patients experiencing depression disorder. The guidelines and depiction of the steps needed to make for effective treatment are designed to enhance the process of new skills teaching. The sessions scheduled according to the developmental stages of the group enable coordinating patients in the process of recovery and amplify the therapeutic effect. Each phase addresses the essential functions of the leader and patients integrating the acute challenges to the interventions of the sessions. Thorough maintenance of techniques, tools, and activities for group meetings contributes to efficient recovery and positive outcomes of the therapy.
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Corey, G. (2015). Theory and practice of group counseling (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Depression Basics. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Health.
Tuso, P. (2014). Treatment Progress Indicator: Application of a new assessment tool to objectively monitor the therapeutic progress of patients with depression, anxiety, or behavioral health impairment. The Permanente Journal, 18(3), 55-59.