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Article   |    
Small-Group Psychotherapy With Patients on a Short-Stay Ward: An Opportunity for Innovation
Richard C. Erickson
Psychiatric Services 1981; doi:
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Veterans Administration Medical Center Portland, Oregon

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The principles of small-group psychotherapy have been developed largely from experience with groups of outpatients and long-term inpatients. Group therapy in short-stay settings is distinguished by a number of features—chiefly the transience of group membership—that make the application of the standard principles of group therapy problematic. The author suggests that these difficulties can be viewed as an opportunity for adapting group therapy to better serve the needs of short-stay patients. Therapists can allow groups to serve a variety of functions—administrative and humanitarian as well as the primary treatment function—while being specific about the goal or goals of each group. Therapists should be flexible about group format, keeping group membership open, departing from the standard group discussion format when necessary, and accommodating disruptive patients.

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