This study examines the patient in group psychotherapy, describing factors that provide changes during the process and the particularities of this therapeutic mode. Based on the available literature and the authors' systematic experience throughout thirty years of group therapeutic work, the variables that determine the commitment of the group members in a productive and well-succeeded therapeutic relation are discussed. It is emphasized how the patients assimilate the psychotherapeutic process and the way in which they participate in achieving their own improvement.
Nowadays, group psychotherapy designates a broad range of procedures based on different theoretical frameworks, applied to several contexts. The purpose of this study is to understand the group therapist's role, delineating some strategies and necessary abilities for group psychotherapy practice. The authors emphasize the technical-scientific level in which the work with groups is developed and the influence of the therapist's personality on the participants. They conclude that, in order to preserve their role without loosing the specificity of his function due to his involvement in multiple patients' experiences, therapists must have a stable professional identity. Therefore, the therapists' preparation, based on a process of continuing formation, is a necessary condition to enable them to face peculiar situations that occur in the group context and also to assure the singular therapeutic potential of group psychotherapy.
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