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Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,925 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
In this completely revised and updated fifth edition of group psychotherapy's standard text, Dr. Yalom and his collaborator present the most recent developments in the field, drawing on nearly a decade of new research as well as their broad clinical wisdom and expertise. Among the significant new topics: Online therapy Specialized groups Ethnocultural diversity Trauma Mana ...more
ebook, Fifth Edition, 689 pages
Published March 3rd 2008 by Basic Books (first published 1967)
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Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clinical-work
Yalom came into my life just as I started serving as the sole therapist for two groups of child sex offenders. To put it mildly, some sage advice on being a group therapist was sorely needed. This volume is a must-read (yes, all bajillion pages of it) for anyone doing group work, which is the majority of folks in doctoral psychology programs. Yalom's tone is approachable, his sense of humor much appreciated, and his clinical wisdom boundless. I tend to think of books this hefty as in need of goo ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Although Yalom is the guru of group therapy, I did not find the book to be particularly helpful. It comes from a very psychodynamic orientation, and although the author mentions other orientations or discusses how certain concepts are understood across the different orientations, readers should be aware that the book addresses how to conduct process group therapy. So if that is your aim, this is the book for you. However, I found it far less applicable for use in more structured groups (e.g., su ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE group therapy book. There is really nothing else to say but this laid the groundwork for the basics while support my clinical experience in the group setting. Yalom's stages of group development work with all sorts of groups, not just therapy groups. So after reading this book and applying it in a clinical setting I feel more equip to run therapy and report on group activity!
Sofia Wren
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
For school
Laurie Ouellet
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lecture intéressante mais plus laborieuse que "The Gift of Therapy", mais une référence sur la thérapie de groupe !
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap, I finished this.
Several things come to mind as I slowly digested this book.
First, how the heck did he get his patients to stay in groups long enough to deal with all these interpersonal issues? I think most clients would get fed up with "that annoying person in group" and just leave. Second, how the heck does he deal with all the members' issues with authority?
That being said, I did use a little bit of insight each time in my own work, so it was definitely worth the reading.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic. Before reading this book, the idea of group therapy was deeply unappealing to me. Now, I am intrigued by (if not completely sold on) the potential of groups to provide insights and healing that one-on-one therapy alone can't. Readers will also learn some basic things about group dynamics that can apply to all collective/communal experiences. Yalom is not only an insightful clinician, he is a wonderful writer.
Definitely a must have for any budding counselor. I can't argue with Yalom's ideas and thoughts on the subject. What I can't stand is Yalom's extreme narcissism that shines right through despite the fact that this is somewhat of a textbook. References to his other works come off as advertisements, and what warmth he created for group therapy (a wonderful thing in and of itself) he degrades with his own unintentional tone. But many people disagree.
I enjoy Yalom's writing style and the personal examples and stories he includes. This book is an essential resource to any therapist who wants to lead therapeutic groups. A therapeutic group acts as a social microcosm and can lead to individual change as group members relate and challenge one another. Yalom's book delves into the topic of groups as well as ways to structure, lead and troubleshoot these therapeutic communities.
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for school. I really liked Yalom's sense of humor. He's a good writer and a gifted clinician.
Heather Anne
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am still working on getting through this and am enjoying it immensely. Yet at times it is not clear who the audience is (a beginner psychotherapist or an intermediate psychotherapist or an advanced practitioner?). At times I believe it could have been simplified or perhaps changed into two separate books for separate audiences, one at a basic level and one at an advanced level.

At the same time it contains a wealth of information, research findings and practical guidance about how to run a psy
Anthony Cleveland
Required reading during graduate school. Didn't really care for it then and still don't but it does serve as an excellent source for facilitating my students' awareness of Dr. Yalom's existential approach to groups. Probably quite a bit longer than it needs to be to adequately address the topic.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually review my school/work-related books, but I was just reflecting on this one (read several years back) and thought I would make a note that it really is quite good, and is worth the read for anyone who's vocation requires some adroitness with interpersonal group dynamics.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super dense. Well written. I will likely need more read-throughs as my practice develops.

The first book in a long time where I had to look up the definition of new words.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irvin Yalom’s name is strong is psychiatric circles. Current emeritus professor of psychiatry at Standford University, Yalom has worked in the field for over fifty years. His 1995 text, Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, gives an overview of group therapy as a field before touching on specific psychological factors worth considering when studying group therapy. The text is beyond impressive and expansive, worth studying for any group process student or expert.
Yalom shines brightly in
Murray Irwin
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic text for anyone who does group work, especially if you are facilitating personal change. It has long been regarded as the standard text for group psychotherapy. But I should point out that I am neither a counsellor or psychotherapist and so was never looking to run group psychotherapy sessions. I was trying to understand how groups work and how they can support positive change. And in this book I found lots to think about for leading groups in recreational, education and advent ...more
The Badger
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the option of taking my Group Psychotherapy course either online, or in an actual group therapy setting with our professor as moderator. Both options used Yalom's text. I chose to take the actual group therapy course, and the text was invaluable. Not only did we experience group from the client perspective, but we took turns leading our own groups.

From speaking to other students in the MS program who took the class online, it doesn't seem that the text was as effective without the hands-o
John G.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used this book when I was a graduate student in the counseling psychology program back in the day, I have the third edition. Bar none, the best text book/ case book about group therapy ever written. I would read this book, out of personal interest and pleasure, regardless of whether it was part of a curriculum. Yalom is a humble and incredibly articulate man, he doesn't act omnipotent and writes in plain and understandable language. Do believe he's a Professor Emeritus from Stanford. He is ope ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: counseling students and as reference for professionals
I read ths book as part of a graduate level group counseling course. Although Yalom's writing can get a bit overindulgent, I really learned a lot from this book. It is not a book to read from cover-to-cover. Like learning a new language, it needs to be part of an immersion in understanding group counseling. Without putting some of his theories into practice, it would be more difficult to understand exactly what he is talking about. Yalom is still the standard for understanding group counseling.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was assigned reading for my group therapy class during my stint in psychological counseling. It was clear from the outset that all of my professors loved Yalom and now I can better appreciate why. This was a giant book but each chapter is extremely informative and helpful. I was able to use this more during my practical classes, but I think it's still helpful if you're curious about the subject matter or if you tend to find yourself with groups of friends who all seem to have issues and nee ...more
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
There's a reason why this is the definitive book of group therapy. Yalom integrates an impressive amount of research into a book that is extremely easy to read. His illustrations of the usefulness in switching between process and content in a group context have me eagerly awaiting the opportunity to lead my first group session. This is easily one of the most clearly written and useful books that I have read in grad school. I'm definitely a fan.
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is/will be running a therapy group
while this book was part of the assigned readings for my last class in grad school (GO ME!!!), it turned out to be quite informative and helpful in adding to the base of my knowledge in psych. yalom is skilled in group therapy and writes in an eloquent and understandable manner. while i do not necessarily fully subscribe to the psychodynamic school of therapy, there are some insightful and resonating points that yalom highlights and addresses. overall, a pretty good read for a school book :)
Kim Winters
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceedingly comprehensive (and 572 page long) handbook on everything you ever wanted to know about group therapy. Yalom shares his expertise in this area and does a great job communicating in a way that is memorable when not overwhelming in terms of amount of content. This book helped to inform and improve my group therapy skills in profound ways. Only four stars because I felt it could have been more concise.
If you are planning on starting a group or continuing a group you must read this book. It breaks down group therapy from how to select members to focusing on the here-and-now to interpersonal work. It is a great resource to master before starting a group. All you need to know is in this book, of course you should do outside research on what behaviors and characters you type of patients will have. Yalom does go into foreshadowing behaviors in a group setting.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book to any type of group facilitator/participant. Whether you're a licensed psychologist, self-help group facilitator or anyone else who participates in groups for children, adolescents or adults, this books provides a wealth of useful information and tips. Some chapters are rather dry, but for the most part it's interesting and informative. Not just your typical research in action book.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every counselor and psychotherapist
Maybe the most useful book on psychotherapy I've ever read. Group therapy is often the most effective kind, for many reasons. This book is a comprehensive, well-organized, clearly written, and highly practical guide to the art and practice of setting up and facilitating therapy groups. No therapist who is even thinking about doing group work should do so without reading this first and then keeping it handy.
David Lawrence
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gives a huge amount of technique on small group dynamics and practical applied psychology. Good for someone that really wants to make small groups work. If someone can make a group of mentally ill persons get along and grow in self knowledge and actively help each other , they can make any group thrive

Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written (although, I found it somewhat dense at times. We get it, you're SMART.)

This book provides a good balance of theoretical suggestions and practical applications. I would recommend it for anyone leading or developing a group.

I give this book 3.5 stars. Pros-It was helpful, informative, and credible. Cons-lengthy and tedious.
Mirjam Visscher
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, trainen
I picked this book for fun and enjoyed it from the first to the last page. Yalom helps his reader through all ins and outs of group psychotherapy. His examples are clear and human and support his theory.
The title suggests a dry and boring overview of all the literature and research on the subject, but it's not. This book is the rich result of Yaloms's personal learning process.
Feb 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
I read so little of this book, I'm ashamed to admit how little actually! It was assigned for my group therapy class my final semester of school and I was so all done at that point that I really couln't force myself to read much. I have gone back to look at it now and it is a good resource to have.
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Irvin David Yalom, M.D., is an author of fiction and nonfiction, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, an existentialist, and accomplished psychotherapist.
More about Irvin D. Yalom...

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“A sense of life meaning ensues but cannot be deliberately pursued: life meaning is always a derivative phenomenon that materializes when we have transcended ourselves, when we have forgotten ourselves and become absorbed in someone (or something) outside ourselves” 40 likes
“Client-therapist disagreement about the goals and tasks of therapy may impair the therapeutic alliance.† This issue is not restricted to group therapy. Client-therapist discrepancies on therapeutic factors also occur in individual psychotherapy. A large study of psychoanalytically oriented therapy found that clients attributed their successful therapy to relationship factors, whereas their therapists gave precedence to technical skills and techniques.84 In general, analytic therapists value the coming to consciousness of unconscious factors and the subsequent linkage between childhood experiences and present symptoms far more than do their clients, who deny the importance or even the existence of these elements in therapy; instead they emphasize the personal elements of the relationship and the encounter with a new, accepting type of authority figure.” 1 likes
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