Leadership style for therapists

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The concept of shared leadership also comes when the therapists operate in groups. Dies who made study of 230 studies of leadership of therapeutic groups, found this concept, when he found about 45% of the groups were co-led. Following this Roller and Nelson identified a number of advantages of co-therapy for both leadership and practitioners. It is observed that in clinical setting two therapists may lead a group, while in private practice this is not a common scenario.

Dies however was skeptical about any advantages arising out of co-leadership, even though he observed this trend in his studies. According to him, co-leadership tends to complicate the groups’ process since therapists must now deal with power issues, negotiate of interpretation of group events and work towards sustaining their trust in each other. Dugo and Beck take it a step further by claiming that the therapists must at times seek counseling themselves to take deal with their relationship difficulties (Hogg, Tindale, 2001, p. 637).

Two major types of leadership styles, as has been discussed in the earlier session, is the task oriented and relationship oriented. Since therapists deal with people very closely, such studies have also analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of each style in therapeutic groups. Researchers such as Liberman, Yalom, and Miles, in their study of therapeutic groups note that while some therapists stress at the task at hand, others are supportive and warm. Tinsley, Roth and Lease surveyed therapists to assess self-reported variations in leadership style.

They developed a large set of items measuring a variety of qualities including modeling: cognizing, command stimulation, managing and limit setting and personal. The first factor was cognitive directive, which was used by task oriented leaders, had components such as charisma and command. Liberman, Yalom, and Miles studied the relationship between therapy leaders’ orientation and their effectiveness as change agents. The studies pointed out that not one type of leadership theory was completely effective.

For instance when dealing with some trauma, which is a situation may times faced by clinical social workers, a more active style of leadership is necessary because the patient would have more confidence on the therapist in this case, as he would feel safe being under the protection of someone trustworthy. In addition, it is also found that the leadership style used by a therapist is dependent on his peer group history. The peer group dynamics comes into picture here, which defines the way in which a therapist views his client or client groups (Hogg, Tindale, 2001, p. 637).

Different styles of leaderships are important in therapy, especially when group therapy is used. Group therapy can occur in both in patient and out pateitn community settings; brief inpatient stays and managed care directive provide a financial incentive for using group methods of treatment. Lewin, Lippit and White conducted a study in which investigated the efforts of the three styles of leadership in group therapy (Dalton, 1983, p. 138). Authoritarian leaders produced more in less time but evoked competitiveness, aggression and hostility.

Originality becomes inhibited and the dependence on therapist increases. To fulfill the role of an authoritarian leader, the therapist assumes all responsibility of monitoring and structuring activities, and does not allow the group as such to function. While much may be achieved in the earlier stages, later the group may be weaned off the reinforcing effect of the therapist. Democratically led groups are initially less productive but this improved once the relationships between the members and leaders have been cemented.

Members show satisfaction with their achievement and use their resources well. In case of laissez-faire leadership, the group members are on their own to find solutions among themselves to their problems (Issacs, 2005, p. 237). At one glance this may not seem to be such a good idea, but with a bit of structuring people can learn quite a lot from other people’s experiences without the intervention of a therapist directly. However, such a system might lead to apathy, cause disorganization and many cause patients to be lost without direction (Dalton, 1983, p. 139).

In case of a group therapy the quality of the therapist-patient relationship is more important to the group process than the outcome of the therapeutic outcome. It is generally assumed that the therapist is the most influential individual within a group. However, the relation between different members of the group is equally powerful. Lieberman has found that any group’s curative factors is dependent on the interpersonal processes unique to group treatments and do not always involve the patient-therapist relationship. Yalom also agrees to this and say that the group is the agent of change in case of group therapy.

However, the success of the group therapy is also dependent on the type of therapist. It is generally observed that the group members generally feel more tension and negative towards the therapists who are viewed as aloof, distant and judgmental. Thus, the greatest danger to the group’s health comes from the leaders who are viewed as intrusive and overtly challenging. This is one of the general leadership traits, which is good for organizational leadership, but fails to produce the desired effect here. It is important for the group leader to present a positive style of intervention and positive involvement with the group.

Hence, the group leaders should maintain a balanced demeanor. They should not remain aloof and detached, nor should they typically engage in highly challenging interventions in their relationships with group members. In case of group therapy there might be cause of conflict aside from having difficult patient or intervening factors. This is due to the fact that the conducting groups may be two or more therapists. These therapists might have different approaches to the difficulties they treat, stylistic differences or different instincts about what is the best intervention for a particular type of problem.

The styles of these co-leaders may not be a good fit, which might cause undue friction between the two groups. While the origins of family and marriage therapy can be traced back to developments in the 1930s and 1940s, it took decades to build this into a legitimate subfield within clinical psychology and psychiatry. During 1960s and 1970s family counseling started becoming a fairly successful business with practitioners developing steady client lists. During this period, particular schools of thoughts developed with different strategies on how to treat marital and family problems.

The role of a therapist in the process of treating troubled marriages and families is to help the family become family centered rather than individual centric, which is considered to be the root cause of family and marriage problems (Ward, 2002, p. 178). Some theorists describe marriage therapists, as leaders in the therapy session, while others consider them as something like a foster parent to those being helped. From this perspective, therapists are not merely technicians who know and can teach specific skills.

In addition to providing the techniques of relationship skills, the therapists also provide corrective emotional experiences for the couples under therapy. However, in all the situations, it is considered important that the therapists offer several ways of coping up with issues and encourage the couple to make choices about what is best for them in heir own situations (Hunt, Hof, DeMaria, 1998, p. 76). Hence, the therapist here has a leader-educator role. He is not the architect of change but is a facilitator of change.

It is also important to not in this case that mere training in clinical psychology is not sufficient to qualify people as successful marriage therapists. For having a successful therapy, the therapist and family must be equal partnership in the therapeutic process. The therapist shares his leadership and expertise on the various problems with the family. The family members on the other hand shares their experiences and explanations about the uniqueness of their family (Hunt, Hof, DeMaria, 1998, p. 94).

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