Group Therapy: Moderate Effectiveness

Moderate effectiveness: 0.66

What is Group Therapy?

1. Therapists treat a small group of clients together as a

2. Usually applied to psychodynamic group therapy where the group context and group process utilized

3. Mechanism of change is by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group.

4. Examples: anger management, mindfulness, relaxation training or social skills training

Therapeutic principles: 

6. Recognition of shared experiences among group members so they know they’re not group-2351896_960_720alone

7. Altruism of helping another in therapy

8. Instillation of hope

9. Factual information and resources

Example. Access to services and treatments

10. Transference with the therapist representing the client’s primary family experience

11. Socializing techniques

12. Modeling therapist

Example. Sharing feelings, showing concern and support

13. Cohesiveness in group, existentialdownload (14)

Example. Learning one has to take responsibility for their own life and natural consequences

14. Catharsis (relief from emotional distress through expression of emotion)

15. Interpersonal learning through self-awareness and feedback from group members

16. Self-understanding, insight into one’s problems and unconscious motivations



1.03 large effect: improvement immediately after therapy (Gong & Hsu, 2017)

1.09 large effect: improvement at follow-up (Gong & Hsu, 2017)

0.61 moderate effect: improvement in junior high school students (Gong & Hsu, 2017)

1.06 large effect: improvement in internalized behavior problems (Gong & Hsu, 2017)

0.94 large effect: improvement in family and relationships problems (Gong & Hsu, 2017)

0.40 small to moderate effect: improvement immediately after therapy (Feng, Chu, Chen, Chang, Chen, Chou, & … Chou, 2012)

0.38 small effect: improvement at 6 month follow-up (Feng, Chu, Chen, Chang, Chen, Chou, & … Chou, 2012)

0.06 no effect: improvement after 6 months (Feng, Chu, Chen, Chang, Chen, Chou, & … Chou, 2012)

0.62 moderate effect: improvement in forgiveness after 6 or more hours of therapy (Rainey, Readdick, & Thyer, 2012)

0.25 small effect: increased group cohesion (Burlingame, McClendon, & Alonso, 2011)

0.68 moderate effect: decreased depression symptoms (Liu, Y., Lan, Liu, C., & Chou, 2008)

0.81 large effect: decreased OCD symptoms (Fenger, Mortensen, Rasmussen, & Lau, 2007)



Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Alonso, J. (2011). Cohesion in group therapy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 34-42. doi:10.1037/a0022063

Feng, C., Chu, H., Chen, C., Chang, Y., Chen, T., Chou, Y., & … Chou, K. (2012). The effect of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression: A meta‐analysis 2000–2010. Worldviews On Evidence-Based Nursing, 9(1), 2-17. doi:10.1111/j.1741-6787.2011.00229.x

Fenger, M. M., Mortensen, E. L., Rasmussen, J., & Lau, M. (2007). Group therapy with OCD: Development and outcome of diagnosis specific treatment of patients with OCD in groups. Nordic Psychology, 59(4), 332-346. doi:10.1027/1901-2276.59.4.332

Gong, H., & Hsu, W. (2017). The effectiveness of solution-focused group therapy in ethnic Chinese school settings: A meta-analysis. International Journal Of Group Psychotherapy, 67(3), 383-409. doi:10.1080/00207284.2016.1240588

Liu, Y., Lan, Y., Liu, C., & Chou, Y. (2008). The 10-year meta-analysis of cognitive-behavioral group therapy for depressive symptoms. Chinese Journal Of Psychology, 50(4), 383-402.

Rainey, C. A., Readdick, C. A., & Thyer, B. A. (2012). Forgiveness-based group therapy: A meta-analysis of outcome studies published from 1993-2006. Best Practices In Mental Health: An International Journal, 8(1), 29-51.

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