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Group Therapy for Schizophrenic Patients

Nick Kanas, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-172-4
  • Item #8172


Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that disrupts thought, mood, and behavior and afflicts 1% of the population worldwide. In the United States alone, some three million people will experience the pain and anguish of this severe, chronic illness, and millions more of their family and friends will be affected indirectly. Although antipsychotic medications generally are considered to be the primary treatment intervention for this condition, these drugs are not cures. Symptoms in many patients fail to respond adequately to drug treatment, and even patients continue to experience psychosocial problems. There is a critical need for new treatment approaches that are safe and that will help these patients deal effectively with their inner and outer worlds.

In controlled studies, group therapy has been found to be a useful adjunct to medication to help schizophrenic patients cope with their illness and relate better to others. Group Therapy for Schizophrenic Patients acquaints mental health practitioners with a safe, helpful, and cost-effective method of treatment that has resulted from more than 20 years of clinical practice and research. Practical guidelines and clinical vignettes help the reader in leading such groups in inpatient, and outpatient, and short-term settings. The book considers important theoretical and clinical issues, such as treatment goals, patient selection, relevant discussion topics, and therapeutic process. Although this book is basically a “how-to” treatment manual, it does include chapters about history, theory, and research involving group therapy with schizophrenic patients.

Health care workers and trainees who provide services to schizophrenic patients and their families will find Group Therapy for Schizophrenic Patients of particular interest. The book is beneficial for students as well as experienced practitioners, for staff in state and federal hospitals as well as in managed care settings and private offices, for researchers as well as clinicians, and for experienced group therapists as well as novices in this therapeutic modality.


  • Nature of schizophrenia. Historical issues. Theoretical issues. Clinical issues: group format. Clinical issues: treatment strategies. Clinical issues: group process. Research issues. Conclusions. Index.

About the Authors

Nick Kanas, M.D., is Professor and Director of the Group Therapy Training Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the Assistant Chief of the Psychiatry Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California. Dr. Kanas is a Fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He currently directs a NASA-funded study involving crew member interactions in space. Dr. Kanas has written more than 70 papers, books, and book chapters on group therapy and small-group behavior.

This brief book is a timely, valuable synopsis from which any group therapist can profit. It is surprisingly comprehensive, given its brevity. It is not a manualized 'cookbook' but it is a highly readable, instructive 'how-to' book that is practical for the busy clinician engaged in long- to short-term work with schizophrenia.—Psychiatric Times

Given the characteristics of schizophrenia, group therapy would seem to be an especially valuable treatment modality. Its interpersonal nature presents a forum for these patients to share ways of coping with their symptoms, to gain support and test reality in the here and now of the sessions, and to improve their ability to relate with other people. . . . Group Therapy for Schizophrenic Patients is an excellent monograph of creativity, significance, and stimulation.—Takashi Yamaguchi, M.D., C.G.P., CEO, Japan Association of Group Psychotherapy, International Association of Group Psychotherapy (Hiroshima, 1996), Tokyo, Japan

This is an admirably thoroughgoing and comprehensive study of group therapy for schizophrenics. It comes from the author’s 20 years of utilization of such groups, and by its chapters on the nature of schizophrenics and by its lucid exposition of the historical, theoretical, clinical and research issues in employing group methods with these patients, furnishes the reader with a definitive grasp of the values and limitations of this medium with schizophrenics.—GROUP: Journal of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society

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