Conclusion And Contraindication

What started as an attempt to move one man (Guy) from a silent group participant to a verbally active one resulted in an unexpected outcome. The familiarity of the two involved men's histories prevented the session from turning into a "How could you?" salvo by Ben. At that point, the journey began on the long and bumpy road to understanding the respective psychologies reflected in these men's offenses.

It is strongly recommended, especially with this particular population, that having knowledge of clinical theories is necessary but insufficient to working with a felonious group—one that displays disregard for the personal boundaries of others. Personal contact via the seemingly mundane, e.g., the chats about sports and movies, is important as is the sense of timing, and the readiness to take a clinical risk; the insistence to connect often reflects care that this particular population appreciates. In this respect, these individuals are willing to try out recommendations made by the therapist.

In relation to contraindications with this particular population, a group therapist must be able to free herself or himself from judgment and outrage at the acts committed by these individuals, and keep moral opinions in abeyance. One must feel comfortable with her or his own oddities and, above all, believe that light can be found in darkness' depth.


Fehr, S.S. (1999). Introduction to Group Therapy: A Practical Guide. Binghamton,

NY: The Haworth Press. Fehr, S.S. (2003). Introduction to Group Therapy: A Practical Guide (Second edition). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.

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