ABPRA is a practical synthesis of (a) Japanese Morita therapy and (b) group dynamics in Social Psychology. The following Wikipedia article introduces many principles of group dynamics incorporated in ABPRA. It shows scientific bases of why ABPRA process is so effective in fostering change, as it incorporates these principles.
Group dynamics is a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behavior, tracking the spread of diseases in society, creating effective therapy techniques, and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas and technologies. Group dynamics are at the core of understanding racism, sexism, and other forms of social prejudice and discrimination. These applications of the field are studied in psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, education, social work, business, and communication studies.
Intragroup dynamics (also referred to as ingroup-, within-group, or commonly just ‘group dynamics’) are the underlying processes that give rise to a set of norms, roles, relations, and common goals that characterize a particular social group. Examples of groups include religious, political, military, and environmental groups, sports teams, work groups, and therapy groups. Amongst the members of a group, there is a state of interdependence, through which the behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and experiences of each member are collectively influenced by the other group members. In many fields of research, there is an interest in understanding how group dynamics influence individual behavior, attitudes, and opinions.
Intergroup dynamics refers to the behavioral and psychological relationship between two or more groups. This includes perceptions, attitudes, opinions, and behaviors towards one’s own group, as well as those towards another group. In some cases, intergroup dynamics is prosocial, positive, and beneficial (for example, when multiple research teams work together to accomplish a task or goal). In other cases, intergroup dynamics can create conflict. For example, Fischer & Ferlie found initially positive dynamics between a clinical institution and its external authorities dramatically changed to a ‘hot’ and intractable conflict when authorities interfered with its embedded clinical model. Similarly, underlying the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, United States, intergroup dynamics played a significant role in Eric Harris’ and Dylan Klebold’s decision to kill a teacher and 14 students (including themselves).
Contact hypothesis (intergroup contact theory)
In 1954, Gordon Allport suggested that by promoting contact between groups, prejudice can be reduced. Further, he suggested four optimal conditions for contact: equal status between the groups in the situation; common goals; intergroup cooperation; and the support of authorities, law, or customs. Since then, over 500 studies have been done on prejudice reduction under variations of the contact hypothesis, and a meta-analytic review suggests overall support for its efficacy. In some cases, even without the four optimal conditions outlined by Allport, prejudice between groups can be reduced.