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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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A study of group dropouts

Author(s): Yalom ID

Abstract

A SIGNIFICANT problem of outpatient group therapy is the typically high early attrition rate. Patients who prematurely terminate group therapy derive little, if any, benefit from their therapeutic experience and frequently hinder group progress. This article is based on an intensive study of all patients who dropped out of nine therapy groups in a university hospital outpatient clinic. Through this study we hoped to derive information pertinent both to the group selection procedure and to group therapeutic techniques. Specifically, we hoped to define personality characteristics predictive of failure in group therapy and to employ these data to find a better procedure for assignment to group therapy. Further, by studying the process of each group and the behavior of the therapist, we hoped to distinguish between therapy techniques which appear to foster premature termination and those which encourage remaining in the group.

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