Group settings can provide its members the reassurance that they are not alone with whatever problems they are facing, but most importantly they serve as platform of hope and socialization where it’s members can learn from one another. This essay will discuss the observation of two groups in the Tampa, Florida area that covered issues related to dealing with Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use Disorders. After observing both groups, this writer will share the insights gained from attending a process group surrounded on the subject of dealing with Depressive Disorders alone and an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) group meeting held in a home group. Throughout this essay, the writer will also incorporate the developmental issues that the young, middle, and older female and male adults in these groups presented themselves with and any abnormal behaviors that were noted for further discussion. It is with hope that this essay will provide the reader some new insight on how different therapeutic groups can vary within a humanistic and developmental outlook.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters
In the process of observing two groups appropriate to the field of Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorders, this writer attended two groups that consisted of about half an hour each. The first one this writer visited was located inside a local Baker Act Facility in Tampa open twenty-four hours seven days a week. Inside the facility, there is an inpatient unit with a West wing and an East wing, that keeps patients locked indoor with minimum rights temporality until a psychiatrist discharges them for no longer meeting inpatient criteria. On the West wing, at about 10:00 a.m., this writer observed the group therapist gathering the patients towards the common area for the initiation of the group titled “Dealing with Depression”. It is important to note, that on the West wing there is a total of about 30 patients, and out of the 30 patients that morning, only 12 of them decided to participate in the group therapy and sat in a circle, the rest were engaging in other activities by the hallways or in their rooms under supervision. The ages of those 12 participants of the group ranged from 20-57 years old, with the median of those ages being around 40 years old on average.
In in the initiation of the group, the group therapist informed the patients that she would be conducting what is known as a process group, a freer flowing type of therapy without a schedule of activities planned. The group therapist began the “Dealing with Depression” group by first introducing herself and reading a powerful quote on resilience that most patients agreed on. Soon after her introduction, the group therapist mentioned some basic rules to the group, such as no cursing or name calling, no speaking when someone else is sharing, and lastly, she gave the patients the freedom to walk in and out of the group when needed.
There was an icebreaker given to the patients in which the instructions were to provide their name and to say out loud what was bringing them down lately. It was interesting to observe the dynamics of this icebreaker because the patients all passed along a colorful beach ball which seemed to keep them engaged and focused as well. This icebreaker in essence, helped build universality, allowing the patients to build trust and communication by self-disclosure, a very important factor in group therapy (Corey & Corey, 2016). The therapist and the patients then engaged in back and forth conversations after being asked “What do you do to relax?”, which led to them narrowing together as a group some healthy and non-healthy coping mechanism. Every so often the group therapist would intervene, but it seemed like the patients were the ones to carry out the group through reflecting and sharing of their own insights with other patients in the group.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters
Towards the end of the group, there were only 10 patients still participating since two of them walked away due to their altered mental status at the time. At the end of the group’s half hour session, the patients were asked to write on a piece of paper one goal that they wanted to accomplish by the end of the year and then to place it inside a cardboard box in the middle of the room. The group therapist then handed the anonymous papers to different individuals and as a group read out loud the responses; some of those goals surrounded themselves on being more stable, getting back on the proper medication, fixing relationships, and improving their depression symptoms overall. By the end of observing this particular group, this writer could see a change in the demeanor of the patients who had participated-as if they had gained more hope and content feelings compared to when they had started the group session.