Number of Sessions
You need to decide how many group sessions to conduct during your Group AR program. There are substantial benefits to conducting multiple (8-10) sessions. However, participants can derive some benefit from programs with fewer (2-3) sessions.
Change Takes Time
Holding multiple sessions provides participants with the time, practice and feedback needed to make lasting behavior changes. Practicing new behaviors and experiencing attitude and emotional changes in a safe, group setting is necessary for many people before they are able to apply what they are learning in the "real" world.
People who have hearing loss and their communication partners need to learn and practice many different communication tactics and strategies to prevent or reduce communication problems. Accomplishing these changes requires time. Nobody can change everything all at once.
People can only take in and consider the deeply, personal effects of hearing loss a little at a time. For many people, it takes many sessions before they feel safe and comfortable enough to open up and discuss personal issues, especially those involving intimate relationships and/or their major work-related problems.
In early sessions, communication partners usually feel comfortable discussing issues such as having to repeat “oo” frequently, having to act as an interpreter in social situations, or not knowing when the person with hearing loss understands what has been said. It usually requires more experience in the group for a person to report issues such as loneliness induced depression due to restricted social engagement, effects of hearing loss on intimacy in the relationship, or their concern about the hard of hearing partner’s social/personal deterioration.
It costs less in terms of time, money and resources to limit the number of group sessions to a small number. The group members will derive some benefit from even a limited opportunity to meet with peers and discuss salient issues. Participants will learn new ways of coping with the hearing loss, and communication partners will have the opportunity to express their concerns.
Clark, J. G. and Trychin, S. How Audiologists Use the Ida Institute Tools. In Changing Processes and Motivation: Facts and Methods. International Medical Textbook, World Health Organization.
Trychin, S. Factors to consider when providing audiologic services to people who have hearing loss and their communication partners. Seminars in Hearing: Ida Institute: Redefining Audiologic Rehabilitation
Trychin, S. (May/June 2011) Making Changes: Tools from the Ida Institute. Hearing Loss Magazine, Hearing Loss Association of America, Bethesda, MD