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  • Submitted by,
  • Namitha.P.Thamby

  • A group is two or more people who have come
    together for the purpose of some designated
  • There are seven categories of groups, based on
    their different goals.
  • Therapy groups may be homogeneous or
    heterogeneous. Homogeneous groups, described
    above, have members with similar diagnostic
    backgrounds (for example, they may all suffer
    from depression). Heterogeneous groups contain a
    mix of individuals with different emotional
    problems. The number of group members typically
    ranges from five to 12.

  • Group counseling is a form of therapy, which
    posits that people benefit from shared
  • Usually group counseling is focused on a
    particular issue, eg. Anger management, drug
    addictions etc
  • While a therapist usually manages group
    counseling, contributions from other members in
    the group are considered valuable since all in a
    group share similar issues.

  • It attempts to counter this isolation by
    assembling people with similar issues to enforce
    that difficulties are not singular to one person.

  • Joseph Pratt, Alfred Adler, and Jacob Moreno,
    Cody Marsh and Trigant Burrow were the first to
    use group counseling.
  • Early group efforts were similar to the
    traditional group guidance or psychological
    educational groups we see today.
  • WWII The war and its effects ushered in a
    proliferation in the use of group therapy.

  • T-Groups This is a group experience whereby
    individuals come together to learn how to work in
    a group and to effect interpersonal change.
  • The Human Potential Movement Began in the 1960s
    and founded on the belief that most people only
    use a small percentage of their capabilities but
    that within a group experience, they can
    recognize their full potential.
  • Encounter Groups Designed to help normal
    individuals remove blocks that inhibited their
    functioning so that they could lead more
    fulfilling lives.

  • Marathon Groups An intensified encounter group
    that meets for a long period of time (e.g. 8
    hours or a whole weekend.)
  • Personal Growth Groups These are any groups that
    promote the personal growth of the individual
    (e.g. Gestalt groups, T-groups, encounter
  • Task Groups A group that comes together to
    perform a task that has a concrete goal (e.g.
    community organizations, committees, planning
    groups, task force).
  • Guidance/Psycho-educational Group Preventative
    and educational groups that help group members
    learn information about a particular topic or
    issue and might also help group members cope with
    that same issue (e.g. support group for a
    suicide, transition group to prepare students to
    enter high school etc.)

  • Counseling/Interpersonal Problem-Solving Groups
    These groups help participants resolve problems
    of living through interpersonal support and
    problem solving.
  • Psychotherapy Groups These groups focus on
    personality reconstruction or remediation of
    deep-seated psychological problems.
  • Support Groups These deal with special
    populations and deal with specific issues and
    offer support, comfort, and connectedness to
  • Self-help Groups These have no formal or
    trained group leader. (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous
    or Gamblers Anonymous

Potential Group Problems
  • Skip from topic to topic
  • Try to dominate the discussion
  • Be chit-chatty rather than personal and focused
  • Attend sporadically
  • Be shy and withdrawn
  • Dislike other members
  • Try to force others to speak

  • Get angry at the leader
  • Get angry at each other
  • Try to preach morals and religion to the group
  • Be resistant because of forced attendance
  • Stop attending the group

  • As with other groups, leaders of effective
    counseling groups need to employ a variety of
    interpersonal skills (Corey Corey, 1992). Among
    the most important of these are
  • a) active listening, where leaders are sensitive
    to the language, tone, and nonverbal gestures
    surrounding members' messages
  • b) linking, where leaders help members recognize
    their similarities
  • c) blocking, where leaders keep unfocused members
    from disrupting the group by either redirecting
    them or preventing them from monopolizing
    conversations and
  • d) summarizing, where leaders help members become
    aware of what has occurred and how the group and
    its members have changed.
  • Empathy, personal warmth, courage, flexibility,
    inquiry, encouragement, and the ability to
    confront are vital skills too. Counseling group
    leaders must wear many hats in helping their
    groups make progress. The more skills within the
    counselors' repertoires the more effective they
    will ultimately become.

12 therapeutic principles
  • 1.Universality
  • The recognition of shared experiences and
    feelings among group members and that these may
    be widespread or universal human concerns, serves
    to remove a group member's sense of isolation,
    validate their experiences, and raise self-esteem
  • 2.Altruism
  • The group is a place where members can help each
    other, and the experience of being able to give
    something to another person can lift the member's
    self esteem and help develop more adaptive coping
    styles and interpersonal skills.

  • 3.Instillation of hope
  • In a mixed group that has members at various
    stages of development or recovery, a member can
    be inspired and encouraged by another member who
    has overcome the problems with which they are
    still struggling
  • 4.Imparting information
  • While this is not strictly speaking a
    psychotherapeutic process, members often report
    that it has been very helpful to learn factual
    information from other members in the group. For
    example, about their treatment or about access to

  • 5.Corrective recapitulation of the primary family
  • Members often unconsciously identify the group
    therapist and other group members with their own
    parents and siblings in a process that is a form
    of transference specific to group psychotherapy.
    The therapist's interpretations can help group
    members gain understanding of the impact of
    childhood experiences on their personality, and
    they may learn to avoid unconsciously repeating
    unhelpful past interactive patterns in
    present-day relationships.
  • 6.Development of socializing techniques
  • The group setting provides a safe and supportive
    environment for members to take risks by
    extending their repertoire of interpersonal
    behaviour and improving their social skills

  • 7. Imitative behaviour
  • One way in which group members can develop social
    skills is through a modeling process, observing
    and imitating the therapist and other group
    members. For example, sharing personal feelings,
    showing concern, and supporting others.
  • 8. Cohesiveness
  • It has been suggested10 that this is the
    primary therapeutic factor from which all others
    flow. Humans are herd animals with an instinctive
    need to belong to groups, and personal
    development can only take place in an
    interpersonal context. A cohesive group is one in
    which all members feel a sense of belonging,
    acceptance, and validation.

  • 9. Existential factors
  • Learning that one has to take responsibility for
    one's own life and the consequences of one's
  • 10. Catharsis
  • Catharsis is the experience of relief from
    emotional distress through the free and
    uninhibited expression of emotion. When members
    tell their story to a supportive audience, they
    can obtain relief from chronic feelings of shame
    and guilt.
  • 11. Interpersonal learning
  • Group members achieve a greater level
    of self-awareness through the process of
    interacting with others in the group, who give
    feedback on the member's behaviour and impact on

  • 12. Self-understanding
  • This factor overlaps with interpersonal learning
    but refers to the achievement of greater levels
    of insight into the genesis of one's problems and
    the unconscious motivations that underlie one's

Stages of Groups
  • Stage One (Orientation/Forming) Group members
    become oriented to the group and to each other.
  • Stage Two (Transition/Storming) Anxiety and
    ambiguity become prevalent as group members
    struggle to define themselves and group norms.
    This stage is often characterized by conflict.
  • Stage Three (Cohesiveness/Norming) A therapeutic
    alliance forms between group members. Trust
    between members has been established.
  • Stage Four (Working/Performing) Group members
    experiment with new ideas, behaviors or ways of
    thinking. Egalitarianism develops.
  • Stage Five (Adjourning/Terminating) This is the
    time when the group disbands.

The Beginning Stage
  • The beginning stage is the time period used for
    introductions and for discussions of such topics
    as the purpose of the group, what may happen,
    fears, ground rules, comfort levels, and the
    content of the group.
  • The beginning stage may last part of the first
    session, the entire first session, or the first
    couple of sessions.

The Working Stage
  • The middle or working stage is the stage of the
    group when members focus on the purpose.
  • In this stage, members learn new material,
    thoroughly discuss various topics, complete
    tasks, or engage in personal sharing and
    therapeutic work.

The Closing Stage
  • The closing or ending stage is devoted to ending
    the group.
  • During this period, members share what they have
    learned, how they have changed, and how they plan
    to use what they have learned.
  • Members say goodbye and deal with the ending of
    the group.

There are 16 therapeutic forces a group leader
should attend to
  • Clarity of purpose for both the leader and the
  • Relevance of purpose for the members
  • Size of the group
  • Length of each session
  • Frequency of meetings
  • Adequacy of the setting
  • Time of day for both the leader and the members
  • The leaders attitude
  • Closed or open group
  • Voluntary or involuntary membership
  • Members level of goodwill
  • Members level of commitment
  • Level of trust among members
  • Members attitudes towards the leader
  • The leaders attitudes towards the members
  • The leaders experience and readiness to deal
    with groups

Leadership Styles
  • Authoritarian Leader centered.
  • Democratic Participant centered.
  • Laissez-Faire No designated leadership

Leadership Functions
  • Emotional Stimulation Challenging, confronting,
    modeling self-disclosure etc.
  • Caring Showing support, praise, warmth,
    acceptance etc.
  • Meaning Attribution Explaining, clarifying,
    interpreting etc.
  • Executive Function Setting limits, providing
    rules, managing time etc.

Group Leadership Techniques
  • Facilitating communication Giving constructive
    feedback, preventing members from engaging in
    negative behaviors (gossiping, storytelling etc.)
  • Group Processing Making comments on group
    process to keep the group therapeutic and
    attending to group dynamics.
  • Directing the Focus on the Here and Now Keeping
    the focus on right now and not going back to
    dwell on the past.

  • Experimentation Helping members try out new
    attitudes and behaviors.
  • Universalizing Helping members realize they are
    not alone in their problem(s).
  • Linking Connecting various feelings and
    concerns expressed by group members to present a
    common theme or universalizing aspect.

Concerns in Group Work
  • Group Size Varies from 3-4 members to several
    hundred depending upon the group (e.g.
    psychotherapeutic or task group). Group
    counseling and psychotherapy generally work best
    with 6-8 members.
  • Participant Selection Screening is needed with
    counseling and psychotherapy groups. Some people
    are not well suited for group work.
  • Length and Duration of Sessions Individual
    sessions are usually 50 minutes, group sessions
    range from 1-2 hours. Session duration can be
    only once or in some cases might last for years
    (e.g. open-ended psychotherapy group).
  • Ethics Confidentiality is hard to guarantee due
    to the number of participants.
  • Group Evaluation Outcome measurements are
    difficult to obtain.

Advantages of Groups
  • It provides a social atmosphere that is similar
    to the real world.
  • Members can test out and practice new behaviors.
  • Members can practice new interpersonal skills.
  • They are cost effective.
  • Groups help members see that they are not the
    only one who has that particular problem or
  • Groups provide members with support.

Disadvantages of Groups
  • Less individualized attention from the counselor.
  • Confidentiality is more difficult to maintain.
  • There are concerns with conformity and peer
  • Not everyone can be in a group (e.g. those with
    issues too severe or those with poor
    interpersonal skills.)
  • Scapegoating may occur.
  • Group leaders are not always properly trained

Thank you.
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