Description Of Group And Client Population

The following paragraphs are based on the author's experience of fifteen years of facilitating groups with people with HIV/AIDS and ten years in facilitating groups of people with cancer. The interventions should be universal in any psychotherapeutic support group that assists people in dealing with potentially life-threatening illnesses.

These groups can be held in an outpatient therapy practice setting or in a medical facility. It is probably best, under most circumstances, to have patients together with other patients, or family members together with other families, and try not to mix patients and family members within the same group. While it is sometimes required by the setting to have mixed groups, this therapist has found that, oftentimes, both patients and families try to "protect" their loved ones; fully honest communication is not always possible within a mixed patient/family group.

This author prefers to have a mixture of newly diagnosed patients together with longer-term survivors, but this could be a variable left to each therapist. Some settings divide patients by specific disease, e.g., only breast cancer patients, while in other situations, there may be a more general grouping.

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