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Goals Of Group Therapy Essay

1862 words - 7 pages

Group therapy can become a very vital part of the social worker’s intervention with pre-delinquents and delinquents. If we look at group therapy with the delinquent population in terms of its objectives, it becomes apparent that group therapy can serve a number of important functions. One of the most important functions is the resocialization of the delinquent adolescent through contact with his peers (as well as an authority figure) in a real social situation. The fact that the group -- with its membership composed of fellow delinquents -- may have a greater situational resemblance to the real-life situation of the adolescent than an encounter with an individual therapist should enhance the likelihood of the generalization of results from the group situation to the outside world. The critical insights of members of the group can help each other gain an insight into their own difficulties, as well as the difficulties of other group members. Through the process of structuring roles amongst its members, the therapy group can achieve the objective of revealing distortions in role perception than the delinquent carries around with him. The members of the group can be set free to evolve new roles in the context of the therapy group as a substitution for the institutionalized roles that usually evolve from the expectations of the society or the authority.
Very often the goals of group therapy with delinquent adolescents involve having the individual deal directly with the behavior that brought him to his present institutionalized condition. In describing one particular program at Pioneer House, Dr. Fritze Redl aptly expresses this idea in stating that his purpose was not “to press or lure the aggressive child into simple surrender of his bad behavior through premiums of special reward or special love, or through exhorting by an adult friend, or by severe punishment. The purpose was to help him reveal the real problems which disturbed him, and which he expressed in conflicts with adults with the world around him and with himself. Instead of trying to prevent the boy from acting out the symptomatic behavior for which he was sent to Pioneer House, the runaways, tantrums, stealing incidents and so forth, this actually furnished the very basis of the work with the child and served as the core of clinical policies.”1
In many ways the group situation is more suited to the therapeutic process with delinquents and pre-delinquents than is the individual therapy situation. This superiority results from the unique structure and process of the therapy group, which includes such factors as permissiveness, confidentiality, and freedom of interaction. As in individual therapy, standards are maintained in regard to freedom from authority, voluntary participation, and the safeguarding of the confidentiality of utterances and recordings. In addition, insight and understanding are gained in regard to the difficulties of other group members, and these...

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