Healing Aspects of Interpersonal Group Therapy – Irvine Yalom’s Research

  • Group Cohesiveness — strong positive connections and feelings between group members based on being a valued member of an emotionally close-knit group
  • Universality– awareness that “it’s not just me”, that many other good people struggle with similar issues
  • Venting Feelings — relief of tension & anxiety by expressing strong feelings in words to other safe, interested people
  • Giving Hope — seeing, saying and sharing possible paths to relief, improvement and happiness
  • Information — learning & re-learning facts about life problems: forgotten, or not yet known
  • Altruism — supporting and helping others feels Very good, & lasts a long time, similar to the “Volunteer Effect”
  • Learning Socializing Techniques –absorbing the repeated positive outcomes of experiencing more satisfying ways of presenting one’s self & of relating to others
  • Imitative Behavior — using behavior patterns “modeled” by the therapist and other group members
  • Existential Factors — learning to deal appropriately with the un-avoidable experiential themes of human life — for example: life, death, loss, freedom, and individual responsibility for one’s self.
  • Corrective Family Recapitulation — “growing-up again” emotionally , this time in the functional “family” experience of the Group.
  • Interpersonal Learning/Social Microcosm — experiencing the Group as a clear representation (in small) of the rest of “real, everyday life”, and recognizing one’s impact, influence on, and sometimes distorted perception of other people.

Adapted from I. Yalom – Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (1995)

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