Working with patients, students, or anyone struggling with anger, stress, self-esteem, and/or sobriety where one can often beget the other, counselors and therapists many times use support group play therapy, while other times preferring a one-on-one therapy approach.
There have been competing views during the last centuries as to which produces the better results in therapy, individual or group therapy. According to Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (1) “Nineteenth-century ideas about the primacy of the individual, taken up by psychoanalysis, continue to dominate Western culture. Mrs Thatcher’s famous remark “I don’t believe in society. There is no such thing, only individual people, and there are families” (Women’s Own, 31 October 1987) typifies the extreme view in which the self and the individual’s needs are paramount and are set above those of the group. However, Foulkes in the 1950s had put forward the opposite position, arguing that there is no such thing as an individual that exists apart from and outside the society (Foulkes, 1948; Foulkes & Anthony, 1957).
Since then modern psychotherapy has embraced group play therapy as a rich and beneficial experience for the patient, and it has become a common practice among therapy counselors.
Dr. Bart Rossi PhD, a career clinical psychologist and current on-air political psychologist noted said “I have a strong positive view of play therapy. Play therapy helps kids change or develop their own thinking in a positive way. It can have very good long lasting results.”
According to one patient of Sager House, in group play therapy “I was treated with respect, listened to, not judged. I was able to say in “public” what my symptoms were and how I felt. I met other people who had what I had which relieved the feeling of isolation. I learned from the other members of the group what worked for them and copied the skills that worked for me. I got encouragement from the others when I wanted to die. I got compliments when I did well or said something they liked. I had a chance to give and get feedback. I got to hear myself think out loud as I vocally processed what I was dealing with, thus getting it clearer in my own mind.”
100 Interactive Activities for Health and Substance Abuse Recovery (By Carol A. Butler, MS Ed, RN, C) is a resource provided by Courage To Change.com that can assist in such group therapy efforts. The 292 page book comes with a CD included, and provides innovative techniques that target different groups and ages, using worksheets, art, games, feedback, visualization, poetry, and more. It can be used for patients ages 8 – 80,
The individual and group activities focus on problem-solving, and teaching self-sufficient survival skills to treat individuals struggling with Anger Management, Assertion, Stress, Self-Esteem, and Sobriety.
The set contains a Spiral bound for easy reproduction. There are 100 Interactive Question Cards for ages 13-80 to help participants think, communicate, and interact on important, relevant topics. A succinct therapeutic concept from the book with a related question is contained on each card. Each card also has an optional interactive component in a box at the bottom, to be used at the leader’s discretion.
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