Traditional psychiatric rehabilitation programs focus on 'problems' and 'negatives' of individuals and tend to ignore strengths and assets (Hagedorn, 1992). Unlike the traditional approach, this program uses a holistic and client-centered approach (Rogers, 1984) which helps individuals establish future directions in home and work resettlement. The Goal Attainment Program focused on the participants' future expected life roles and social functioning in relation to the environmental context (i.e. their 'participation level', according to the International Classification of Impairment, Disability and Handicap (ICIDH-2) of the World Health Organization). The program emphasized the needs and positive aspects of individuals (Rogers, 1984), as well as the attainment of self-esteem in the self-actualization hierarchy (Maslow, 1970). The program is based on the belief that each individual has the potential to control his/her life and to choose what he/she wishes to become. With this belief, change can only take place when the individual finds the meaning in himself/herself. Positive change can occur throughout life. The role of therapist is to facilitate the willingness to change (Hagedorn, 1992). This study also used Frankl's (1946/1992) belief that the most basic human motivation is the will to meaning. (Ng & Tsang, 2002, p. 59)
Self-control and self-esteem cannot be learned in a vacuum, as individuals have little if any comparison models, which given them hope for their own future, if they are isolated from society. Group therapy settings can allow the individual to create a reasonable set of hopes that can build social health and help the individual learn how to develop coping skills for their positive, rather than negative future in the community where they live. Group therapy is an essential tool for this attainment, as the intense interaction within groups helps individuals see and feel what it might be like to confront the steps and stages of social growth while commiserating with others who have the same or similar obstacles, i.e. mental illness management, as they themselves have.
Managing Mental Illness: Variations of Group Therapies in the Literature