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Wood, D. (1988). Therapeutic Factors in Group Psychotherapy, by Sidney Bloch and Eric Crouch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, 342 pages, £16. Free Associations, 1(12):134-137.

(1988). Free Associations, 1(12):134-137

Therapeutic Factors in Group Psychotherapy, by Sidney Bloch and Eric Crouch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, 342 pages, £16

Review by:
David Wood

Systematic research into psychotherapy is an occupation that is often viewed as something of questionable value, as if one should have the confidence of one's training to know that one is doing the right thing without needing to prove it — or at least, if that seems a bit arrogant, to acknowledge that psychotherapy is ‘an art not a science’ and therefore not amenable to scientific investigation. The authors of this book certainly do not subscribe to this view. In the course of research they conducted in the 1970s they were struck by how much more attention had been paid to elaborating different theoretical models than to the identification of discrete elements of the group process which seemed to account for clinical change. Although much of value has come of this, what is often ignored (except by psychotherapy's enemies) is how little this theory rests on sound empirical research. Well-trained therapists do, more often than not, constantly reappraise their work and continually look to increase their effectiveness in the light of their experience, even to the extent of making a study of what works best from a personal point of view as a patient in the training analysis.

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