Client-Centered group therapy as presented by Irvin Yalom is really just a discovery of church. Church, community, the trinity's relating in love is part of the image of God in man. When Yalom does group therapy (check it out on utube) we see the "church" at work. However, if it is only discovered with access to the power of the "image" in us it is incomplete. When Christ enters the potential for the fullness of the power and love of the church is present. John Nordstrom, pastor in Ottawa Il., who worked ten years in a Psychiatric hospital doing group therapy, has showed us the power of this dynamic over the las ten years.
Dr. Irvin Yalom says, "Many people who enter group therapy had troubled family lives during their formative years. The group becomes a substitute family that resembles—and improves upon—the family of origin in significant ways. Like a family, a therapy group consists of a leader (or coleaders), an authority figure that evokes feelings similar to those felt toward parents. Other group members substitute for siblings, vying for attention and affection from the leader/parent, and forming subgroups and coalitions with other members. This recasting of the family of origin gives members a chance to correct dysfunctional interpersonal relationships in a way that can have a powerful therapeutic impact."
According to Yalom, social learning, or the development of basic social skills, is a therapeutic factor that occurs in all therapy groups. Some groups place considerable emphasis on improving social skills, for example, with adolescents preparing to leave a psychiatric hospital, or among bereaved or divorced members seeking to date again. Group members offer feedback to one another about the appropriateness of the others' behavior. While this may be painful, the directness and honesty with which it is offered can provide much-needed behavioral correction and thus improve relationships both within and outside the group.