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Group psychotherapy 

Group psychotherapy
Group psychotherapy

Shama Chaiken

and Brittany Brizendine

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date: 26 January 2021

Group psychotherapy has become a standard practice in community settings, prisons, and to a lesser degree in jails. While simple process groups may still play a limited role in some settings, the field of group therapy has evolved substantially, with some significant work adapting evidence-based therapies for use in correctional settings, or designing them de novo. Logistics and support of group therapy are critical core elements for successful implementation in jails or prisons. These elements include appropriate training and supervision of group facilitators, a structured approach to patient selection and pre-group interviewing, and appropriate support for cultural and language diversity. The specifics of group member confidentiality and development of groups for patients with severe mental illness, intellectual, or learning disabilities are particularly important in this context. Some of the unique challenges of correctional settings include the need for design of treatment modalities for those in maximum security and restricted housing environments. Gender-specific and trauma-informed care are important treatment options still in evolution for the incarcerated population. Implementation of evidence-based, manual-guided treatment in corrections is challenging but achievable with adequate planning and support. Integration of the recovery model, reentry planning groups, and other special purpose groups are becoming more common. This chapter presents the range of evidence based practices and best practices in use, and discusses issues of appropriate patient selection, therapist training required, sustainability, and outcomes.

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