This descriptive and comparative study employed a Q-sort process to describe common factors of therapy in two group therapies for inpatients with chronic mental illness. While pharmacological treatments for chronic mental illness are prominent, there is growing evidence that cognitive therapy is also efficacious. Groups examined were part of a larger study comparing the added benefits of cognitive versus supportive group therapy to the treatment milieu. In general, items described the therapist's attitudes and behaviors, the participants' attitudes and behaviors, or the group interactions. Results present items that were most and least characteristic of each therapy and items that discriminate between the two modalities. Therapists in both groups demonstrated good therapy skills. However, the cognitive group was described as being more motivated and active than the supportive group, indicating that the groups differed in terms of common as well as specific factors of treatment.