Emotional stability is of vital importance to diabetic patients for the maintenance of their metabolic equilibrium and consequently for the preservation of their well-being. In a pilot study to investigate whether group discussions with diabetic patients could contribute to improving their understanding and management of the disease, the authors established, in 1974, 3 concurrent discussion groups comprising altogether 40 participants: 25 females and 15 males. Two groups were guided by an internist and held weekly sessions; the third group convened once a fortnight and was guided by 2 psychologists, acting as co-therapists. Details of the composition and the development of the groups are described. One of the groups attempted a quantitative approach to estimate the participants’ group activity from their attendance rates and discussion activity scores, from which several observations could be made. The groups continued their discussions for the duration of one year. The subjects of the spontaneous discussion in the 3 groups were remarkably similar, suggesting that many diabetic patients are facing the same problems. All participants reached the conclusion that the group discussions had been a valuable experience and should be made available to all diabetic patients. About 20 participants decided to train, together with a number of general practitioners and students in medicine and psychology, in order to become either a group leader or an observer at new discussion groups for diabetic patients. As a result of this training course 10 diabetic and 10 non-diabetic trainees were qualified and subsequently started new discussion groups with diabetic patients.

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