The complexity of the modern world often leads to the development of various emotional and psychological issues in people. Group psychotherapy is becoming a popular practice aimed at addressing these problems and concerns (Corey, 2015). Group work is often associated with the focus on empathy, trust, respect, and the development of social skills. One of the major problems is people’s alienation and inability to interact with each other.
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Psychotherapeutic groups help people to develop the skills necessary for proper functioning in their communities. Some populations may need specific attention to benefit from the participation in such groups (Steenkamp, Litz, Hoge, & Marmar, 2015). This group manual is written for a brief psychotherapeutic intervention developed for combat veterans with PTSD. The paper includes a description of the intervention, its major phases, instruments to be used, and other meaningful details. The document can be utilized in various settings and can be adjusted to the peculiarities of groups of different sizes.
Tools for the Initial Stage
At the beginning of the intervention, it is often difficult for the participants to take an active part in the discussion and even identify the desired outcomes of the therapy. Therefore, letter writing can be employed to assist group members in sharing ideas and communicating with the leader of the group. Keenan, Lumley, and Schneider (2014) note that this technique has proved to be effective with combat veterans with PTSD symptoms.
It is possible to adjust this tool to make it more appropriate for the current group. Participants can be asked to write letters (or emails) about the start of their therapy. In these letters, they will reveal the reasons for entering the program, some expectations, and desired results, as well as their ideas regarding the concept of psychotherapy.
Another tool that can be used during the initial stage of the intervention is the game of truths and lies. Group members are instructed to think of (and write down) two facts from their lives and one lie. It is possible to identify certain topics such as music, family, favorite films, travel, and the like. This activity will help the participants to get to know each other, which is critical for the development of trust and empathy.
Tools for Termination
During the termination stage, group members can be asked to develop a scale of their states or achievements. The leader provides an example of a scale that can be related to the level of openness with such prompts as unwilling to share anything, willing to share with close people, and ability to share certain things with peers. All veterans will receive pencils of different colors to draw their scales and their place on the scale. They will pass their scales to other group members, and at the end of the session, the leader will glue together the scales, and participants’ progress will be displayed. Another activity can be the discussion of the way participants influence each other. Each veteran will address other group members to say thank you or reveal certain concerns and provide feedback.
This therapeutic group manual is developed for a nursing professional who will serve as a therapeutic group leader. The intervention addresses the needs of combat veterans with PTSD and focuses on their ability to reintegrate into their communities effectively. The manual includes all the details that will assist in leading the group. One of the most important things to remember when using this manual is the need to create an appropriate working atmosphere for the participants. These people often lose their ability to empathize and even interact with others in their civilian life. The leader should help them to develop the necessary skills and become prepared and willing to help those having similar issues.
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Corey, G. (2015). Theory and practice of group counseling (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Keenan, M. J., Lumley, V. A., Schneider, R. B. (2014). A group therapy approach to treating combat posttraumatic stress disorder: Interpersonal reconnection through letter writing. Psychotherapy, 51(4), 546-554.
Steenkamp, M. M., Litz, B. T., Hoge, C. W., Marmar, C. R. (2015). Psychotherapy for military-related PTSD A review of randomized clinical trials. JAMA, 314(5), 489-500.