Abstract

This study compares the efficacy of a verbal group with that of an activity group in an occupational therapy clinic during the treatment of interpersonal communication deficits at a psychiatric day treatment center. Outpatients were randomly assigned to the following groups: (a) an experimental group, which received activity therapy (n = 7), (b) an experimental group, which received verbal therapy (n = 6), and (c) a control group, which was involved exclusively in the normal milieu therapy at the center (n = 6). The two experimental groups received one hour of treatment per week for eight weeks. The pretesting and posttesting of interpersonal communication skills were done with the Interpersonal Communication Inventory. The activity group used collages, problem-solving tasks, role-playing sessions, games, and drawing exercises. The verbal group used discussion exclusively. Both the activity and verbal groups were based on whether participants had the following: (a) an adequate self-concept, (b) the ability to be a good listener, (c) the skill of expressing his or her thoughts and ideas clearly, (d) the ability to cope with his or her emotions (particularly with angry feelings) and express them in a constructive way, and (e) a willingness to disclose him- or herself to others freely and truthfully. A significantly higher level of interpersonal communication skills was attained by the activity group. Comparisons between both groups and the control group showed no significant differences.

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