Description Of Interventions

Once again, Jane confronts Andrew with his lateness to group. Andrew makes excuses and Jane gets angrier. This time, however, the therapist allows it to continue. After a time, Andrew starts to fight back.

ANDREW: "I'm not the only one who's ever late, you know. How come you always get mad at me?" JANE: "I don't know. There's just something about how you're always so apologetic but you never really take responsibility." ANDREW: "And you always look to blame first and understand later. Or never."

THERAPIST: "I know that you two have had this issue before, but this time it feels a little different."

The therapist can address the interchange with the principals and the rest of the group in many ways:

The here and now: "What are you each feeling right now?" "What was it like for you all to witness this?"

Family-of-origin or transference work: "Did this experience feel familiar to you?" "How did something like this play out in your own family?" "Jane, how you are feeling about Andrew right now sounds an awful lot like what you've told us your relationship with your mother was like."

Relationship work: "How did you participate in creating this conflict? In resolving it?" "Is there something you would want to do differently?" "Andrew, when you and your partner get into an argument, is this how it goes?"

Each of these interventions opens a door for further work for everyone in the group, turning a "negative" group event into something richly therapeutic.

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