The secured atmosphere of an institution, clinic, or agency encourages the organization of groups that can participate in a full fledged social activities. At the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, in New York City, a program has been in operation for years which offers the individual who is or has been in psychotherapy expressive opportunities for emotional growth and development.
What to expect?
An environment is created and provided that is favorable for the overcoming of detachment, aggression, and social isolation. While patients who might have gained insight through psychotherapy into their characterologic distortions, may be unable to overcome these psychological distress in their usual environment that customarily imposes harsh penalties for even minor deviations.
How does it work?
A therapeutic social club help by fostering real life experiences through interaction with other persons, directly or by means of creative activities like arts, crafts, games, reading, dramatics, dancing, and music. Parties, visits to museums, and attendance at plays and outings provide further possibilities of enriched experiences. The influence of group dynamics here shouldn’t be discounted, many deviant patterns altering themselves in the relatively tolerant setting of the club. Group psychotherapy and vocational rehabilitation are frequently coordinately employed.
When the immediate environment does not offer good opportunities for rehabilitation, the patient may be referred to resources that will promote the therapist’s efforts, such as day-and-night hospitals, halfway houses, sheltered workshops, rehabilitation centers, and social therapy clubs. Tolerating an individual’s reactions allows the individual to restructure defenses at his or her own pace without resorting to violence or rejecting responses on the part of supervisors and employers. A reconditioning process that prepares the patient for a regular occupation in the community is sometimes initiated in this way. Some Rehabilitation centers, provide a variety of benefits that are made available to patients and that permit them to achieve the best adjustment within the limitations of their handicaps.
When is it used?
Social therapy is extremely valuable in normal familial relationships, social activities, and work situations which results in upsetting and self-defeating reactions in a patient in spite of exposure to psychotherapy. The organization and variety of activities are limited only by the inventiveness of the staff and the creative planning of the director. A screening of members is necessary to eliminate hallucinating and delusional psychotics, chronic alcoholics, drug addicts, violent and assaultive persons, and criminal psychopaths. While the intention is supportive, social therapy may become reconstructive in its effect as it enhances self-understanding and furnishes rewards for socially constructive behavior. Changed attitudes and emotions results in to greater self-realization and capacities for less ambivalent relationships.
Role of therapist:
Therapist usually work in an Rehabilitation centers and offer the following assistance depending upon the need of a client.
1. Handling the patient’s lack of motivation and resistance to work.
2. Helping patients in their efforts at reality testing.
3. Educating patients in methods of coping with daily problems as well as in developing working skills.
4. Aiding patients in recognizing early signs of emotional upset and suggesting means of removing themselves from sources that upset them before they go to extremes.
5. Working with the patient’s family to secure their cooperation and manage problems within the family structure.
6. Providing aftercare services to prevent relapses (Benney et al, 1962; Fisher & Beard, 1962). Social therapy clubs provide an extraordinary medium for a variety of experiences, either in themselves or as part of a therapeutic community.