Conclusion And Contraindication

Anger and conflict in the group can threaten therapeutic outcomes and even the existence of the group itself. If well handled by the therapist, however, these emotions can also be openings of great therapeutic power and effectiveness. Knowing how, and when, to intervene is part of the art of group therapy.

The contraindication of this intervention often lies with the therapist's lack of skill and experience. It too depends on the therapist's ability to comfortably experience anger in his or her groups, and the therapist's psychological sophistication. It is important to know where your group is in its development. Early on in the life of the group, and at times later on, interventions in conflictual situations must protect the integrity and safety of the group first, with the goal being the establishment of cohesion and therapeutic group norms. After the group has become more established the therapist has a much greater range of possible interventions, including the most powerful intervention of all: sitting back and allowing the group to work it out for themselves.


Fehr, S.S. (2003). Introduction to group therapy: A practical guide (Second edition). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press. Rutan, J. S. & Stone, W. N. (2001). Psychodynamic group psychotherapy (Third edition). New York: Guilford. Rutan, J. S., Stone, W. N., & Shay, J. J. (2007). Psychodynamic group psychotherapy (Fourth edition). New York: Guilford. Tuchman, B.W. (1965) Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.

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