Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy: The Theoretical Basis and Practice Application of Group Intervention

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Slack, 2005 - Medical - 417 pages

To lead effective groups, occupational therapists must develop the skills of group facilitation, design group experiences using different frames of reference, and adapt group interventions to a broad range of client populations. A core text for over 12 years, this revised third edition of Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy incorporates the AOTA's Occupational Therapy Practice Framework and provides an updated perspective on the design and use of groups in emerging practice areas.

Marilyn B. Cole explains how group activities can serve the needs of clients with similar physical disabilities and mental health issues by working on shared goals and providing a context of cultural and social support for engagement in occupation.

Throughout Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy, Third Edition, both theory and application are updated with regard to the AOTA's Occupational Therapy Practice Framework and the WHO's International Classification of Functioning. New chapter topics include client-centered groups, groups as social contexts, and a laboratory experience for students in developing cultural competence.

Cole's 7-step format for group leadership has been adapted for use in six different frames of reference: psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive behavioral, cognitive disabilities, developmental, sensorimotor, and the model of human occupation. This helpful processing method teaches students and therapists how to maximize client participation, facilitate group interaction, reinforce learning, and individualize application of occupational principles. 

With a multitude of helpful features and practical advice, Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy, Third Edition is a valuable resource for everyone hoping to lead effective occupational therapy groups.


  • Links group facilitation with client-centered practice.
  • Reflects current holistic and systems oriented trends in both group dynamics and occupational therapy theory.
  • Laboratory experiences demonstrating the group protocol offer a choice of two series of six weekly sessions (professional growth or cultural competence) that can be applied in the classroom, professional, or community setting.
  • Discusses how social support within the group context helps clients overcome barriers to engagement in occupation and foster active participation.
  • Learning exercises and group activity examples for clients with similar disabilities.

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I used this book in my OTA classes and fieldwork experiences in senior care and mental health facilities. Now that I've graduated, I'm turning to this book to organize groups in my work at a mental health facility. I would recommend the book to anyone that will be leading groups and wants to be well-prepared and organized. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I have graduated from Occupational Therapy School and am preparing for my NBCOT exam. I missed several questions on my last exam about groups. I found this book and read several chapters. I must say this was much better than the group dynamics book we used in school. I especially enjoyed the appendix tables groups and the detail it went into on pschodynamic and developmental groups. It gives ideas on how to teach students about groups and they seemed feasible in a classroom and that they would be effective. Some chapters seemd a bit wordy and I had a bit of diffoculty seeing how they specifically applied to groups, but in the end I felt like it was a much better book than what we had in school.  

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About the author (2005)

Marilyn B. (Marli) Cole, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a tenured Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, and an Occupational Therapy Consultant. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Connecticut, a graduate certificate in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Bridgeport. She is licensed by the state of Connecticut to practice occupational therapy and is certified by the Center for Study of Sensory Integrative Dysfunction to administer the Southern California Sensory Integration Tests. The author's clinical experience includes 16 years in mental health, 3 years in pediatrics, and 5 years in geriatrics.

The author has more than 24 years of experience, including Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Philadelphia; Middlesex Memorial Hospital in Middletown, CT; Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London, CT; and Newington Children's Hospital in Connecticut. She has also served as consultant for the West Haven VA Medical Center, the Portland Public Schools, Fairfield Hills Hospital, the Institute of Living, and St. Joseph's Manor, all in Connecticut.

This is Marli's 21st year of full-time teaching. She has taught courses in psychiatric clinical media, group leadership, group dynamics, frames of reference, fieldwork I and II, psychopathology, sensorimotor integration, computer technology lab, research, and geriatrics.

Marli has published 10 professional journal articles and a chapter in Group Process and Structure. She has presented papers and workshops at professional conferences on many different topics.

Marli has also delivered professional presentations to Yale psychiatric residents, the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association, the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the World Federation of Occupational Therapy.

Currently, she is involved in research investigations of the relationship of group size with cohesiveness and meaningfulness, the status of the therapeutic relationship in occupational therapy, and the development of cultural competence. In recent years she has taken groups of students to England and Costa Rica.

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