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ERIC Number: ED302778
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Order Out of Chaos: A Structural Analysis of Group Therapy.
Lichtenberg, James W.; Knox-Harbour, Pamela L.
Within the literature on group counseling and psychotherapy, the structure of therapeutic group processes is frequently described in terms of stages of the group process. Numerous group stages have been proposed to describe the social interaction and change in social interaction that is characteristic of group therapy. This study examined the structure and organization of the social interaction within four therapy groups. Structure and organization were defined for purposes of the study as a function of both the simple unconditional responding of the group participants and the interactive or conditional responding of the participants to each other. Drawing on Shannon and Weaver's (1949) mathematical theory of communication, the interactive structure of the groups was measured in terms of the entropy (or randomness) of the groups' interactions and the redundancy (or patterning) of the interaction. No consistent pattern of organization/disorganization was found to characterize the groups. For the most part, all four groups remained fairly unstructured across their group sessions. No developmental patterns or stages of group development or organization were apparent. Investigation of attempted and achieved dominance within the groups suggested that the frequency with which group members spoke was inversely related to their actual dominance in the groups and the achieved dominance of the group leaders and the group members was fairly equal across groups and across sessions. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (96th, Atlanta, GA, August 12-16, 1988).