A leadership intervention perspective on the creation, monitoring and maintenance of the group therapeutic relationship: a modified systematic literature review with clinical illustrations
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A 1991 Gallup Institute survey revealed that 40 per cent of all Americans eighteen years of age and over are involved in small groups that meet regularly and provide care and support for those who participate. The majority of the participants attended the group at least once weekly and had been participating for at least three years. The types of groups being researched in this dissertation I am simply calling ‘therapeutic groups’. Therapeutic process groups’ act as training cultures expressly organised to examine the interpersonal field of the group in search of psychosocial insights and reparative relational experiences for their members. They are defined in terms of three factors: 1) that the group relies on verbal communication, 2) that the individual member is the object of the treatment and 3) that the group itself is the main therapeutic agency. The group exists for the benefit of its individual members and for no other reason. This dissertation is an investigation into what the therapeutic group literature has to contribute to small group leadership. A review of the existing literature has been done on the evaluation of therapeutic group leadership and the effectiveness of their interventions. It is hoped that these findings will give some clear guidelines that can inform the training of group facilitators inside and outside of the professional community. This work investigates what type of group leader interventions the literature suggests make a constructive difference to the group and its individual members. The study examines the research on therapeutic group leadership from a wide variety of literature and gives an overview of the history, evolutionary themes, theory building and ultimately the leadership interventions seen as fundamentally therapeutic for these groups. There is a gap in the literature in regards to models that link group developmental stages, therapeutic factors and leader interventions. The findings of this paper present group leaders with a synthesis and intervention framework of these three critical areas. This contribution demonstrates how the stages of group development are crucial in making maximum therapeutic use of the leader variables, therapeutic factors and in making decisions about appropriate interventions. The framework also allows for greater clarity and utility of these factors and variables. While research in the field of psychotherapy is normally qualitative, this research includes both qualitative and quantitative information.