It's really wonderfull to find out that somebody have done this work to put in words all these groupphenomenons. And its easy to learn to see what is happening in groups, when you have readen this book.
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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
The Group Therapy "Bible"11 Jun. 2000
- Published on Amazon.com
No lengthy explanation needed here. I am a graduate counseling psychology student with a particular interest and experience in groups. We refer to this particular Yalom book as the group therapy "bible," since it pretty much contains everything you could ever need to know about the basics of running therapy (and even support) groups. This is one of very few books I've had to read for school that I actually couldn't STOP reading--it's that good. My professor for this course has been doing groups for over 20 years and says she still refers back to this book for insight when leading her groups. Also check out Yalom's book on existential therapy! There is some case study overlap with the group book, but it's another favorite. And don't let the size of this book intimidate you. You won't be able to put it down! Yalom is the man . . . Happy reading!
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Timeless19 Jan. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Yalom's techniques are timeless, as long as human nature and how it plays out in social interactions transcends time and place. Thus, decades after publication, this book of group therapy lives on, whereas others, more faddish, are either narrowly focused on sufferers of the "disease of the year", or, in the case of "pragmatic", short-term "manual-based" groups which insurance companies favor, assume that all one has to do is give the patient the right recipe and 8 weeks to practice it, and they'll be cured of life-long ingrained pathological behaviors. Anyone who thinks this book is "out of touch" or demonstrates a lack of empathy by Yalom, probably has a pet style of group therapy, and an axe to grind. Often, seemingly more empathic therapists, run groups in which everyone takes turns getting sympathy, distress is "validated", whereas the patient's contribution to it is ignored, and the premise is that sufferers are misunderstood victims of a neglected disease who are finally in the hands of someone who "gets it". Usually therapists who lead such groups, don't only wish to empathize, but are driven by a wish to feed their own vision of their specialness as the champions of the underdogs. One of Yalom's greatest contributions is the effectiveness with which he used the group approach to exactly show patients how they cause their own distress--by creating a group atmosphere in which members play out their poor social skills, and get the powerful impact of peer feedback on this. He did so in a way which demonstrated genuine empathy in action: by steering members to identify (and empathize) not only with each others' misery, but with each others' strengths. Sympathy without a kick in the [...], is patronizing, and implies inequality. Sympathy with a kick in the [...] (always best given by peers), is sympathy with belief in your power--this shows respect for all of you, your strengths and your miseries. THIS is empathy. THIS is what empowers group members to overcome their problems. And this truth, will never go out of date.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy11 July 2001
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is one that every graduate student in psychology or beginning therapist should read and have on their shelf. Yalom covers and discusses many important aspects of group therapy such as interpersonal learning, basic thearpist tasks, the idea of working in the here-and-now, therapist transference and transparency, selection of patients, creating a group, problem patients and training the group therapist. Yalom addresses this book to new therapists just starting out, as well as therapists who have been in the field for some time. Yalom presents the new therapist with the many considerations that need to be looked at when forming a group and actually leading a group and he assists the therapists who have been in the field for some time with ways in which to sharpen or improve their skills. Yalom's book appears to be based on highly functioning upper middle class individuals who seem to have good jobs and relationships with their family, friends and spouses. One may gather this assumption from the clinical vignettes and cases that Yalom presents throughout the entire book. Yalom incorporates much of his own practical experience with individuals in the groups that he has led himself, which makes his book feel like you are reading a novel and not a textbook per se. Although Yalom based his book on highly functioning upper middle class individuals, he never addressed the idea of group therapy with children or individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, which seem to be two important areas in today's society, especially within the realm of therapy. Yalom incorporates a rigorous research base within his text, such as discussing some of the current treatment modes and the diagnostic criteria for managed care, which other authors tend to maybe leave out or not touch upon, in essence leading the reader to believe that what Yalom speaks about is true, factual and practical when referring to group therapy. Although Yalom conducted an extensive amount of research on the area of managed care, I do not think it is possible for an individual to be covered by a managed health care or insurance company for a group that is conducted over a one to two year period, as Yalom presents in some of his clinical vignettes. One thing that I think Yalom has done that other authors have not is present the reader with twelve variables that he refers to as "therapeutic factors," (i.e. instillation of hope, universality, altruism, and group cohesiveness) which in essence are the driving tools and elements that assist therapy groups with rectifying individual character distortions. Yalom's book assisted our graduate psychology class in gaining an immense amount of insight and depth into the area of group therapy in such a short amount of time. Yalom's book is one that should be included in all graduate programs in psychology!
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A Veritable Masterpiece!11 Feb. 2002
Rocco B. Rubino
- Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Yalom's book is not only a veritable masterpiece, but a tour de force that deals with everything you ever wanted to know about group psychotherapy. Comprehensive without being pedantic, thorough without being dense, Dr. Yalom puts the group process under a magnifying glass and, in straightforward easy-to-understand language and conceptualization, gently guides the student through all of the subtlties and nuances of group work. I had to purchase this book for use as the main text in a group process course, but this book will remain on my shelf long after I have taken the course. Dr. Yalom's keen insight into not just how/why groups behave and function the way they do, but also his insight into basic human nature, has made this book very enjoyable as well as educational.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The Master of Group Psychotherapy16 Mar. 2000
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Yalom's revolutionary book is essential reading for the graduate student in counseling. It provides a comprehenive guide to the group experience, form the beginning to the end, and everywhere in between. It includes how one would create a group, problems to expect and practical solutions to these problems. The book does not read as a typical textbook, but as a novel.The authors style is informative but not laden with jargon. The high readability is also due to the fact that Yalom includes real-life examples throughout the entire book. This helps the reader to apply theory to situations that will be encountered in the course of conducting group therapy. Each chapter is outlined explicitly, which helps with future referencing. The most practical knowledge gained from reading this book is the emphasis on the here and now process of group therapy. This is an aspect often overlooked by new group therapist. The explanation of group process demystifies the group experience and explains how groups are beneficial to the members participating in them. This book is also practical in that it gives an explanation of all possible pitfalls encountered in the group setting, including problem patients and attrition in the group. The author helps the reader to know what to expect and how to handle problems when they arise. While this book was an extraordinary guide to the group experience, there were a few shortcomings. First of all, the book was based on outpatient groups that Yalom led and supervised at Stanford University, which might not be applicable to all of the population. The reader is advised to take this into account when reading the book. Also, the groups were all long-term, sometimes lasting several years. In reality, this may not be a practical occurrence, as therapist may have trouble finding members that will commit themselves to such a long term group. There were two major aspects of group therapy that needed more attention in the book. First, cross cultural issues were not discussed. This is an extremely iimportant aspect of all therapy, and it was not addressed here. It is questionable that all the results presented in this book would apply to multi-cultural situations. In addition, brief therapy groups were rarely mentioned in this book. in reality, therapists will probably conduct homogeneous brief therapy groups much more often in the course of their careers. The author included a chapter on the encounter group that was popular in previous decades but is rarely used anymore. It would have been more fruitful to address the brief therapy group and omit the encoounter group. Despite these shortcomings, this book is of extreme value to the new therapist. It includes all aspects of group behaviior and answers the readers' questions before the are even asked. It should be mandatory reading material for all graduate students before they lead their first groups.