Group therapy is a mode of intervention that helps individuals with a common problem enhance their social functioning though group exercises. Group members are given the opportunity to share their experiences, feelings and difficulties in a safe atmosphere under the auspices of a group facilitator. Using a combination of instruction, modelling, role-play, feedback and open discussion, members of the group are encouraged to discover more about the interaction process. In most cases 6-12 clients meet with their therapist at least once a week for about 2 hours. Usually groups are organised around one type of problem (such as coping) or type of client (such as psoriasis patients).
Through group interaction, ineffective and immature ways of coping are discouraged, positive attitudes are fostered and feelings, such as loneliness and isolation, that many patients experience, diminish. Moreover, group members can bolster one another's self-confidence and self-acceptance, as they come to trust and value one another, and develop group cohesiveness. Group therapy allows participants to try out new skills in a supportive environment and members learn from one another. Thus this offers features not found in individual treatment.
Various approaches, such as social skills training to group therapy have been tried with patients with skin disorders (Robinson et al., 1996). Patients with chronic skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema are known to benefit from group therapy and such therapy has increased their confidence in coping with the disease (Ehlers et al., 1995; Seng & Nee, 1997; Fortune et al., 2002).
Overall, research suggests that psychological treatments lead to improvements in clinical severity of skin condition and reductions in psychological distress. This idea corroborates reports that psychological interventions are useful adjuncts to dermatological treatment in such cutaneous disorders and, when combined, can be considered an effective way of managing patients with such conditions. Skin disease appears to be a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social factors, and treatment should exist within the context of this interplay.
Specifically, CBT is gaining credibility as a psychological treatment in the management of skin condition. Data from the studies reviewed are generally supportive of its efficacy as an approach, which can be used as an adjunct to medical care (Ehlers et al., 1995; Papadopoulos et al., 1999; Fortune et al., 2002, 2004). Findings have shown that cognitive techniques produced reductions in the frequency of cognitions concerning itching, catastrophizing cognitions (Ehlers et al., 1995), and in beliefs about the consequences and the emotional causes of disease, and were maintained at 6 month and at 1-year follow-up. Research has also shown that relaxation is an important component of CBT and it has proved most effective in decreasing anxiety levels among dermatology patients (Ehlers et al., 1995; Zacharie et al., 1996). These data suggest that high anxiety levels often observed in these patients can be reduced with treatment and that treatment effects can be maintained even after a 1-year follow-up.
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Do You Suffer From the Itching and Scaling of Psoriasis? Or the Chronic Agony of Psoriatic Arthritis? If so you are not ALONE! A whopping three percent of the world’s populations suffer from either condition! An incredible 56 million working hours are lost every year by psoriasis sufferers according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.