The Importance of Comparison in Clients' Experiences of an Assessment Group for Group Psychotherapy: A Qualitative Study

Rachael Noble, Patricia Hall, Mike Lucock, Colm Crowley, Tony Ashton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using a grounded theory approach, this study explored the experiences of eight clients who attended a group assessment group (GAG) within a UK adult psychotherapy service. The aim of the GAG was to give clients a one off experience of group therapy to enable them to make a more informed decision about the suitability of analytic group therapy. The qualitative analysis revealed comparison to be a key theme for 7 of the 8 clients. Comparison with others was experienced in terms of similarity and dissimilarity of problems and issues and of the behaviour of the group members. These experiences related to issues such as deserving to be there and stigma and this influenced their decisions to opt for group work. Comparisons were also made between the GAG and subsequent group therapy. The issue of social comparison is discussed with reference to previous theory and research and the implications of the study for group therapy and group assessment groups are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-176
Number of pages16
JournalMental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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