Group Therapy Homework Planner / Edition 1

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The Brief Group Therapy Homework Planner contains 79 field-tested exercises as well as instructions on when and how to use them. Focusing on clients in group therapy, this easy-to-use sourcebook provides an array of interactive assignments that are grouped by behavioral problem.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471418221
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: PracticePlanners Series , #90
  • Edition description: BOOK&DISK
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 549,018
  • Product dimensions: 8.46 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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Congratulations on deciding to purchase this book. This is probably one of the best investments that you can make, particularly in light of the ever-increasing need for treatment planning and documentation in your clinical practice.

Although all therapeutic modalities do not utilize homework assignments in the same way, the majority of them do find it necessary to recommend assignments as a means of following through with the facilitation of change. In fact, homework assignments are probably one of the main ingredients to solidifying change in the psychotherapeutic process. This is most likely due to the fact that a significant portion of change actually occurs once the clients leave the therapist's office.

Thus, homework assignments help the therapy gel because the majority of clients' time is spent outside of the therapeutic hour. This is true now more than ever in an age where increasing emphasis has been placed on short-term psychotherapy and the need for structured treatment and independent assignments. Homework that is specifically germane to the content of the therapy session is essential in assuring change. It is with this philosophy that I offer the contents of this homework planner for the contemporary group therapist.

The specific homework assignments in this text have been specially tailored to help the group therapist guide group members in achieving lasting change. They are closely keyed to the topics covered in the adjoining Group Psychotherapy Treatment Planner (Paleg and Jongsma, 2000) and have been designed to be user friendly with a number of contemporary modalities of group therapy.

Aconcerted effort has been made to be as comprehensive as possible in order to provide you with an abundance of exercises that you may implement in treatment regardless of your particular approach.


First and foremost, these homework assignments are grouped under presenting problems, which correspond to the Group Psychotherapy Treatment Planner (Paleg and Jongsma, 2000). These problems are typical of the types that individuals seek group therapy treatment for.

Each chapter begins with a note to the therapist on how to suggest the use of a particular exercise. It should be noted that this is not a self-help book, but rather is designed to be used by professionally trained therapists as therapeutic prescriptions for bolstering techniques and facilitating change with group members. It is, therefore, only to be used under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist.

Each homework assignment is easy to reproduce and may be distributed at the beginning or end of group therapy sessions. Professionals using the exercises should feel free to embellish or modify the homework assignment in order to fit the particular case with which they are working. Groups are not all alike, nor are the individual members. Therefore, alterations and modifications become necessary and may be most effective if made to fit each group/individual member.

It is also recommended that these homework assignments be used as a stepping stone to generate your own homework assignments by simply inserting the disk into your computer and altering it as you see fit, making substantial or minor changes.

Assignments are more likely to be followed if professionals work along with group members to develop them, collaboratively using their input as a key ingredient in the homework assignment. What is important is that the homework assignment becomes tailored and pertinent to the specific problems that the group is experiencing.

Above all, the group therapist should use his/her clinical judgment when implementing such homework assignments. Homework, obviously, is not for everyone, and it is only the clinical professional who can determine the right time and place to make suggestions for homework assignments.

It is very important that you read through the entire contents and familiarize yourself with each assignment before actually suggesting it to group members. This will be very important during your initial use of this book until you become familiar with the types of reactions and results that are obtained as a result of the assignments.


In implementing these assignments, you should keep a number of things in mind. First, it is important to think about how you wish to suggest the use of assignments during the course of therapy and at what point in the treatment process would be a good time to intervene. This, of course, varies and will be left up to your clinical judgment. Once you decide to utilize the assignments, then it is suggested that you use your own style in approaching your clients. Before ending the session, be sure to review the assignment with them so that they understand the reasoning for doing the assignment, as well as what specifically they are to do. To clarify and to increase the likelihood of your clients following through, have them repeat why they are agreeing to the assignment. Make sure they believe it to be a good idea and that they understand the benefits. When you encounter individuals who do not agree or refuse, you must use your clinical judgment to determine how much to push and confront. The more agreement that you have among group members about trying the assignment, the more likely the assignments are to be successful.

Follow-up on the results is obviously very important and might best be accomplished by making this a part of the group agenda or routine. By following up on the results of homeworks, the message conveyed is that these assignments are important. This also conveys a sense of accountability among group members. Often, when a group has achieved some cohesiveness, group members will expect that all members work together, including completing homework assignments. When individuals do not, it allows for the group process of the working stage to become activated.

Sometimes individuals do not complete assignments because they're not sure what to do or why. In addition, sometimes it is as simple as the terminology used. Some individuals have a negative view of homework due to bad experience during their school-age years. You might be able to avoid this problem by referring to the assignments as a task or experiment.

Whenever homework, tasks, or experiments are not completed, it is important to figure out why. In doing so, it is best to keep an open mind. Perhaps you were not clear in communicating the task or the reasons for doing it, as well as the benefits. Perhaps you assigned it during the last minute of the group time so there was not enough time to process it. One of the most significant factors to address is whether the task was decided on in a collaborative fashion. The more you are able to convey that the group members have a voice in what they do, the more cooperation you will tend to receive.

Last, the type and nature of the assignment may contribute to some reasons for resistance or failure. If this is the case, perhaps an alternative assignment may be in order. It is my hope that this book will prove to be an invaluable resource for you in your challenging work with groups. Above all, it is also my goal that the following exercises may help you to expand your repertoire in the same vein that it may help the individuals in your groups grow as well.


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Table of Contents

Series Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction xix
Section I Adult Children of Alcoholics 1
Exercise I.A What's My Role? 3
Exercise I.B What Can I Control? What Do I Need? 6
Exercise I.C We're Not Supposed to Talk about That! 9
Section II Agoraphobia/Panic 10
Exercise II.A When Is This Going to Happen? 12
Exercise II.B Breaking My Panic Cycle 14
Exercise II.C Facing Fears 17
Exercise II.D Facing Fears--Part Two 20
Section III Anger Control Problems 22
Exercise III.A Anger Log 24
Exercise III.B Is It Anger or Aggression? 27
Exercise III.C Go Blow Out Some Candles 31
Exercise III.D My Safe Place 33
Section IV Anxiety 34
Exercise IV.A What Happens When I Feel Anxious? 36
Exercise IV.B What Else Can I Say or Do? 39
Exercise IV.C Beating Self-Defeating Beliefs 42
Section V Assertiveness Deficit 44
Exercise V.A Is It Passive, Aggressive, or Assertive? 46
Exercise V.B It's Okay to Be Assertive 51
Section VI Bulimia 53
Exercise VI.A Am I Hungry? 55
Exercise VI.B I Need to Get Control 59
Exercise VI.C What Am I Thinking? 62
Exercise VI.D Is It Good Food or Bad Food? Should It Matter That Much? 65
Section VII Caregiver Burnout 67
Exercise VII.A Being a Caregiver Makes Me Feel... 69
Exercise VII.B This Is for Me and That's Okay 71
Exercise VII.C What Drawer Does This Belong In? 74
Section VIII Chemical Dependence 76
Exercise VIII.A I Use Because... 78
Exercise VIII.B What to Do Instead of Using 82
Exercise VIII.C My Road Map to Recovery 86
Section IX Child Sexual Molestation 91
Exercise IX.A This Is What Happened 93
Exercise IX.B This Is What I Did 96
Exercise IX.C I'm Changing the Way I Think 100
Exercise IX.D Stop! Rewind! And Start Again 103
Section X Chronic Pain 105
Exercise X.A Aah! Relief, Written and Directed by (Write in Your Name) 107
Exercise X.B I Can Get through This 110
Section XI Codependence 112
Exercise XI.A I'm Not in Kansas Anymore 114
Exercise XI.B I Feel... 117
Section XII Depression 119
Exercise XII.A What Do Others Value about Me? 121
Exercise XII.B My Feelings Journal 123
Exercise XII.C Taking Charge of Your Thoughts 126
Exercise XII.D There's Always a Sunrise 130
Section XIII Domestic Violence Offenders 131
Exercise XIII.A When Do I Need a Break? 133
Exercise XIII.B Now Is When I Need a Break 136
Exercise XIII.C I Can Have Feelings, Too 138
Section XIV Domestic Violence Survivors 140
Exercise XIV.A What I Give and What I Get 142
Exercise XIV.B What If ...? 144
Exercise XIV.C Thoughts about This Relationship 147
Section XV Grief/Loss Unresolved 148
Exercise XV.A Farewell, until We Meet Again 150
Exercise XV.B Moving On 153
Section XVI HIV/AIDS 156
Exercise XVI.A How Am I Doing? 158
Exercise XVI.B Why Me? 161
Section XVII Incest Offenders--Adult 164
Exercise XVII.A Through the Eyes of a Child 166
Exercise XVII.B Stress and Trigger Journal 170
Exercise XVII.C My Letter of Apology 172
Section XVIII Incest Survivors--Adult 173
Exercise XVIII.A My Story 175
Exercise XVIII.B What I Need to Tell You 179
Section XIX Infertility 180
Exercise XIX.A Being a Parent Means... 182
Exercise XIX.B What If We Have a Child Some Other Way? 185
Section XX Parenting Problems 188
Exercise XX.A Working from the Same Page 190
Exercise XX.B What's the Message I Am Giving? What's the Message I Mean? 194
Exercise XX.C Compliments Jar 198
Exercise XX.D What Are My Choices? 202
Section XXI Phobias--Specific/Social 205
Exercise XXI.A I Can Picture It 207
Exercise XXI.B How Does This Happen? 209
Exercise XXI.C Let's Float with It 212
Exercise XXI.D I Can Do This 215
Section XXII Rape Survivors 217
Exercise XXII.A Sharing My Story 219
Exercise XXII.B Changing My Faulty Thinking 222
Exercise XXII.C What I Feel and What I Think 225
Section XXIII Separation and Divorce 226
Exercise XXIII.A Talking to the Children 228
Exercise XXIII.B We Need to Agree 231
Exercise XXIII.C Saying Good-bye and Saying Hello 235
Section XXIV Shyness 238
Exercise XXIV.A Three Key Ingredients to Positive Social Interactions 240
Exercise XXIV.B What Comes after "Hi"? 242
Section XXV Single Parents 246
Exercise XXV.A Single Parenting--Pro or Con? 248
Exercise XXV.B What Do I Do Now? 250
Section XXVI Toxic Parent Survivors 253
Exercise XXVI.A I Am Getting Rid of These Old Tapes 255
Exercise XXVI.B I Am Getting Rid of These Old Tapes--Part Two 258
Section XXVII Type-A Stress 261
Exercise XXVII.A Where's My Tension? 263
Exercise XXVII.B When I Feel Tension/Stress I Can... 266
Section XXVIII Vocational Stress 269
Exercise XXVIII.A What Else Can I Do to Make Things Better? 271
Exercise XXVIII.B How I Will Get What I Want 275
About the Author 277
About the Disk 279
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