Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 53 Issue 2 (June 1980), Pages 95-192

Correlates of patient participation in the large group meetings of a therapeutic community (pages 109-116)

In view of the importance of verbal communication in community meetings, an attempt was made to identify the characteristics of patients with differing average levels of communication. Paper‐and‐pencil recordings of 117 consecutive community meetings in a psychiatric unit run along therapeutic community lines yielded average communication scores on 237 patients. Scores were unrelated to sex, age, social class, length of stay, in‐patient or day‐patient status and questionnaire measures of total hostility and attitude towards psychiatric treatment. Patients who talked much were characterized by manic and personality disorder diagnoses and were hysteroid and extrapunitive on questionnaire measures. They attended a high proportion of meetings held during their admission and contributed verbally to almost all meetings they attended. They frequently became the subject of discussion in meetings, and they tended to be high on objective and consensual measures of rule‐breaking. Patients with low level of verbal communication were likely to have anorexic, organic or psychotic depressive disorders. The results are discussed in terms of Berne's distinction between ‘performers’ and ‘audience’ and the presumed functions of community meetings.

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