J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2001 Sep;40(5):751-766.

Group Psychotherapy with Adolescents

  • 1Lee Hoo-Kyeong's Psychiatric Clinic, Hanam.
  • 2Uijongbu Medical Center, Uijongbu.


Group psychotherapy is more economic than individual psychotherapy and effective to adolescents especially. Group psychotherapy with adolescents will be used widely when adolescents problems are becoming more important so that government focuses on them. This article aims for the readers to understand group psychotherapy easily.
This article is based on reviewing lots of articles related to adolescent group psychotherapy published at home and abroad and our researches and practical experiences in regard with inpatient and outpatient group with adolescents for a long time. This article is described in order of history, theory, model, development stage, and therapeutic factor.
Theories of group psychotherapy have been affected by about 200 psychotherapy theories. Among a lot of theories, psychoanalytic theory and cognitive-behavioral theory have been accepted as a perennial effective therapeutic modality. In Korea, structuralized cognitive-behavioral group therapy is currently pervaded in Youth Counselling Center or General Social Welfare Center. But because that is generally consist of skill training and problem solving centered approach, it is difficult to achieve therapeutic goal of ultimate behavioral change in basis of genetic insight. On the contrary, it is known that psychoanalytic group therapy has more benefit to raise adolescent universal value, group norms, group rules, confidentiality, and community consciousness for adolescents. and that group therapy provides adolescents with more secure and caring conditions. Here and now, adolescent group therapists apply wide theories and various techniques with flexible attitudes to go together with unapproachable adolescents. Models of group psychotherapy have various mode related to age, disorders, functional level, developmental level, clinical environment, structural modalities, and intervention goal. Developmental stages of the group psychotherapy consist of formal stage, conflictual stage, normal stage, and performing stage. And then those are divided with the first stage, middle stage, and the last stage in an adolescent group. Therapeutic factors of an adolescent group are as follows. Interpersonal learning, catharsis, existential factor, and group cohesiveness are highly evaluated in an encounter group and a long-term group for personality change. And catharsis, universality, identification, and group cohesiveness are highly evaluated in a short-term group. To handle the adolescent group, therapist capability is very critical. Special knowledge, technique, and endurance are needed for the group therapist to lead an adolescent group. Even though some therapist lead the adult group for a long time, they have to get special training and supervision to lead the adolescent group.
Group psychotherapy has been formally accepted as one of therapeutic modalities that must be as equally effective as individual psychotherapy even if it derives from individual psychotherapy. Adolescent group psychotherapy is currently accepted as one of the most important therapeutic modalities although it is not highlighted as same as adult group psychotherapy. Group therapy is the most desirable therapeutic method for adolescents because they go through a transitional critical time for change and they are especially affected by peer group.


Group psychotherapy; Adolescent

MeSH Terms

Organization and Administration
Peer Group
Problem Solving
Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychotherapy, Group*
Sensitivity Training Groups
Social Welfare
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