Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 77 Issue 4 (December 2004), Pages 413-547

A psycho‐educational intervention for depressed women: A qualitative analysis of the process (pages 429-447)

Yalom (1995) has stated that psycho‐educational interventions could be made more effective by incorporating a focus on the interpersonal process. A qualitative analysis is proposed to investigate the degree of fidelity with which a psycho‐educational intervention for women with depressive symptoms was delivered and to identify Yalom's significant therapeutic mechanisms operating in group therapy. The intervention consisted of six 2 two‐hour weekly sessions organized around educational material. Eight groups were conducted with 5 − 19 participants each. A qualitative analysis was undertaken based on Kvale's (1996) technique of ‘categorization of meanings’ for the transcribed registers of audiotaped recordings. The analysis led to the definition of five major group process categories: establishment of rules, educational exchange, experiential exchange, reflexive work designed to achieve cognitive and behavioural change, and limitations on the exchange process. It showed that the facilitators largely adhered to the goals of the intervention, its strategies and model, and that the main limitations concerned facilitators' and participants'speaking for over‐long periods of time and facilitators' failure to cover all the material due to lack of time. The subsequent analysis identified four of Yalom's categories: installation of hope, didactic instruction, catharsis, and universality. In support of Yalom's assertion, we concluded that this exercise was useful in that it highlighted important therapeutic factors that could be more purposefully manipulated in the future.

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