4 Tutorials that teach Therapeutic Context
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Therapeutic Context

Therapeutic Context

Author: Erick Taggart

This lesson will introduce the range of therapeutic contexts including individual, couples, family therapy, group therapy, self-help group.  

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Introduction to Psychology

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Video Transcription

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Hello class. So now that we've looked at some of the different theoretical approaches to psychotherapy, let's take a look at some of the therapeutic contexts. In other words, the way that people interact within therapy. And there are several of these. The first and probably most recognizable for you is individual therapy. And that's where it's a one on one session where a client talks with a professional of some sort, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, some sort of psychotherapist.

Individual therapy is the most recognizable. It's one of the more widely used types. Generally because it's a bit more private and people feel more comfortable when they're talking to somebody one on one when other people can't necessarily hear. And in a individual therapy setting, there are different types of theories used, but they're also different methods. Some of them might seem a little bit more usual.

For example, a discussion or a conversation between the professional and the client. But there could be other ways that they can interact as well. They might use artistic therapy where the client is asked to draw or sculpt or to show in some kind of visual way what they're feeling, or they might use role playing as well. The important thing with individual therapy is because there are different types of theories and methods to go along with the individual therapy, it's important to find a therapist that suits you specifically, one that has methods and theories that coincide with what you believe and what you feel is best for yourself.

The next type of therapeutic context to look at is group therapy, where there's more than one person involved in the therapy session. Now, most of the theories that we've looked at and the therapies can be adapted to a group setting. Some people tend to gravitate towards group therapy type sessions, because there's a bit more social support. And they're not necessarily on their own. Others can offer advice or possibly share experiences that are similar to there's making people feel like they're less alone and they're more supported in what they're saying.

A lot of times group therapy sessions focus on working with relationships. And it can offer different sorts of role playing techniques as well, where people can interact in different roles and switch between each other and also to watch and see how other people interact. One type of group therapy session that may be familiar to you is family there, where all the family members participate together. The idea is they can work individually or they can meet with the therapist in a group. But the idea is to work with specific problems that the family might be having with relationships and communication issues between members of the family.

The sort of rationale behind family therapy is what's a problem for one member of the family can be a problem for everybody. So they need to work as a unit and work together to solve individual problems for the better of the whole. Now, going along with family therapy is also couples therapy, where it's only two people and the relationship between them, a husband and a wife or significant others that are working together. Like family, it's focused on improving the relationship and the communication between them.

They can sort of help to reshape distorted perceptions that they might be and interactions directly with each other as opposed to going and talking about their individual problems and having it solved indirectly. So that's one of the benefits of working through therapy context like this. Now, going along with the group therapy context, we've got some other types of therapies to take a look at. For example, there's work or school therapy, which is designed to help people in a particular setting or context.

One example of this is sensitivity training. Sensitivity training is designed to help raise people's self awareness and their sensitivity towards others. The goal is generally to make people aware of their own prejudices, particularly in regards to certain groups of people. For example, there might be a sexual discrimination sensitivity training within a certain workplace, which is designed to help people realize and avoid or deal with issues of sexual discrimination within the workplace or sexual harassment.

Now, there are also group settings where they're specialized, they're geared towards a particular problem or a group of people that are having a sort of type of problem. And these are what we call self help or support groups. And these are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous, which are designed to help provide support and a social network for people that are having particular problems dealing with an issue.

A lot of times in these groups, these people can help each other by sharing relevant information in regards to whatever their issue they're dealing with might be. For example, in Alcoholics Anonymous they might talk about current research in addiction or in alcohol abuse. And they can also relate personal experiences that they might have had dealing with their own issues. And that can be really helpful for people who need that kind of added support or guidance.

Now, these support groups can be either professionally led, that is to say led by a mental health professional like a psychologist or a psychiatrist who might not have any dealings personally with the issue that the constituents in the group are dealing with. Or it might be peer led, which is to say it's only led by the people within the group who are dealing with a certain issue. Now, there are other types of group therapies with a little bit more dubious results that might still fit under the category of psychotherapy. And one of those is what's called large group awareness training.

This is when you have a large group of people coming together generally in a commercially designed program that's designed to help increase self awareness, like with sensitivity training, but also that facilitate personal change. And these are sort of personal help or empowerment seminars that people might have where they employ certain types of techniques that are used in other therapies like psychological exercises or small group help exercises, things like that. However, the actual psychological benefits of large group awareness training and things like this are a bit suspect. So definitely take those with a grain of salt when you're considering their efficacy as a psychotherapy.

  • Family Therapy

    Therapy involving entire family - each has opportunity to present their views. Family is viewed as a unit, not individuals.

  • Group Therapy

    Therapy for several clients; particularly effective for clients who work on personal relationships or similar skills.