DR. IRVIN D. YALOM’S CURATIVE FACTORS AND PRIMARY AGENTS OF CHANGE
  1. Instillation of Hope. Seeing others cope with problems similar to yours, overcome obstacles that may be overwhelming, and achieve goals of recovery can inspire new members of the group.

  1. Universality. Members of a group therapy setting find relief in the fact that they can feel understood and similar to others, rather than being an outsider among their peers.

  1. Information Giving. Increasing members’ knowledge and understanding about their shared illness or struggle can provide relief to individuals recovering from an addiction. Sharing ideas and information helps members understand what they are going through and allows them to help others suffering from a similar problem.

  1. Altruism. Recovering addicts may feel inadequate because they have had to seek so much help for themselves. By sharing their story and helping others on their path to recovery, members of group therapy can regain their self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

  1. Corrective Recapitulation of the Primary Family. Through building healthy relationships and relying on one another, members of group therapy view their peers as a second-family and this model can redefine negative connotations the idea of a family may hold for them. Members of this group can be heard, understood and accepted here.

  1. Development of Social Skills. Dr. Yalom states, “Social learning, or the development of basic social skills, is a therapeutic factor that occurs in all therapy groups.” Learning and practicing acceptable social skills in a group setting helps members prepare for their re-emergence in society and provides feedback about the positive and negative aspects of their behavior.

  1. Imitative Behavior. Therapists influence communication patterns of group members by modeling certain behaviors themselves. Research shows that over time, members begin to incorporate these positive behaviors into their own lives. Common behaviors include, empathy, nonjudgemental feedback, and positive reinforcement.

  1. Interpersonal Learning. We frequently characterize our lives by the relationships within them and this can aid in developing our self-esteem. Group therapy provides members with the chance to improve their ability at relating to others and gaining confidence through these healthy relationships.

  1. Group Cohesiveness. Group therapy provides belonging and acceptance for its members. Community and group settings fulfill basic human needs of working together with peers and creating something greater than a single unit.

  1. Catharsis. Releasing conscious and unconscious feelings provides therapeutic relief. With the support of its members, group therapy provides the chance to release pent-up emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

  1. Existential Factors. Members are able to work together at understanding life’s uncertainties, such as life, death, grief, loss and love.