Therapeutic factors : a process study of small group psychotherapy
There is a need for structured research into the psychodynamic psychotherapies to strengthen evidence-based practice knowledge and communicate this knowledge to practitioners and funders. We know that group psychotherapy is effective, but many outcome assessment instruments fail to reflect process and individual experience. The current study used the Therapeutic Factors Questionnaire in an attempt to add to research knowledge of process. In this exploratory study, twenty-two participants in small group psychotherapy at a day attendance therapeutic community rated eleven factors for perceived helpfulness in a modified version of Yalom's Therapeutic Factors Questionnaire, at five time points in the year. Therapists completed an identical version for each member, conveying what they thought each member had found most helpful in that period. Members who had been in the group for a year participated in a semi-structured interview, which was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. TFQ data was collated into three six-month phases dependent on length of time in the group. Admission data on individual clinical problems was coded by the researcher into nine categories. Lower than expected numbers made the drawing of conclusions from the quantitative data impossible, though statistical analysis showed certain trends. However, interviews provided a particularly rich source of information, which also suggested that the TFQ trends were probably authentic. Two complete cases were explored in terms of the relationship between TFQ and interview results.