Counselor Intentions in Individual and Group Treatment

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Abstract

Despite equivalent outcomes, group and individual treatments appear to differ in the therapeutic processes, specifically therapist activity and client impacts. Building on this literature, the authors examined differences in therapist-identified intentions in group and individual treatments. On the basis of I. D. Yalom's (1995) writings, individual therapists were hypothesized to use intention dimensions that involved direct work with their clients (Therapeutic Work and Structure intention dimensions), whereas group therapists were hypothesized to use intentions that reflected a more indirect focus of work (Interpersonal and Safe Atmosphere intentions). Twenty therapists audiotaped sessions of individual and group therapy and then reported their intentions for each of their speaking turns in these 2 treatments. In partial support of the hypotheses, in individual treatment, therapists were more likely to endorse Therapeutic Work intentions, whereas in group therapy these same therapists were more likely to endorse Interpersonal and Safe Atmosphere intentions.

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