group psychotherapy

Origins of Group Therapy

The technique of formally organized group therapy is said to have been devised by J. H. Pratt in 1905. Pratt was holding general-care instruction classes for recently discharged tuberculosis patients when he noticed the impact of this experience on their emotional states. In 1925 psychoanalyst Trigant Burrow became dissatisfied with individual psychoanalysis, and began experimenting with group techniques. Burrow hoped to decrease the authoritarian position of the therapist, and to more thoroughly examine interpersonal interactions. The application of group therapy methods to prison inmates and discharged mental hospital patients was pioneered by Paul Schilder and Louis Wender in the 1930s. At that time group therapy was found to be particularly useful in the treatment of children and adolescents. The development of group therapy was given impetus during World War II, as a result of the large number of soldiers requiring treatment.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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