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An Overview of Group Psychotherapy

JACK C. WESTMAN, M.D.
AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(3):271-277. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590090027006.
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The group as a psychotherapeutic agent is the object of growing interest. The unique effects of a group on its members have been long recognized in many fields. Political, religious, and educational leaders have dealt intuitively and effectively with group phenomena. As groups have been examined scientifically, professional workers have found it necessary to specify the precise nature of the group under consideration. For this reason, sociologists speak of action groups, problem-solving groups, educational groups, and, of a highly specialized nature, therapeutic groups. The last-enumerated class of groups, to which individuals are attracted or assigned because of their personal need for help, has been explored by psychiatrists in recent years.

The importance of studying groups has been a logical outgrowth of trends within our society. The earlier emphasis placed upon individuality and self-determination in Western civilization has almost imperceptibly blended into concern with group action and

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