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The world of the Counselor An introduction to the counseling profession 5e chapter 7

Group Work

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Can be viewed from systemic and cybernetics perspective
Dynamic interaction of its members
 Communication patterns
 Power dynamics
 Hierarchies
 Homeostasis

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Groups have become much more popular



But, why choose a group over individual counseling?
 See advantages and disadvantages, Table 7.1, p. 227

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Prior to 1900:
 Functional and pragmatic groups (e.g., daily living skills)
▪ Often moralistic in nature
 Jane Addams and Mary Richmond--community groups to make
systemic change



Turn of century:
 Vocational and moral guidance in schools
 Dr. Henry Pratt: Physician--groups with tuberculosis patients
▪ Started with a lecture
▪ Then had patients tell personal stories about their illness

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Around 1900: Psychoanalytic principles explained
groups behavior

▪ Primal urges, instincts, parental influences
▪ Herb instincts
▪ Mob instincts
▪ Recapitulation of family issues



1914: Moreno started “psychodrama” and coined the
phrase “group psychotherapy”

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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1920s and 1930s:
▪ Adler’s influence: birth order and social connectedness
▪ First non psychoanalytically oriented groups
▪ More group guidance in the schools



Emergence of Modern-Day Groups
 1947, Kurt Lewin and others: NTL
 1940s: Rogers worked with returning GIs from WWII– led to
first encounter groups

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1960s: Groups reflect freedom and love
Esalen, Michael Murphy, and encounter Groups emerge
 Encounter Group Leaders: Rogers, Maslow, Perls, Schutz
 Read quote, bottom of p. 230
Soon, other groups arise: marathon groups, confrontational
groups, gestalt groups.
APA publishes “Guidelines for Psychologists Conducting Growth
Groups” (1973)
1960s and 1970s: books on group counseling flourish
1973: ASGW

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Groups become alternative to individual counseling
Decline of more “outrageous” groups
Common-theme, task groups, and time-limited (brief groups)
become popular
Rise in self-help groups
ASGW:
 Best Practice Guidelines
 Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers
CACREP requires group work
Almost all programs now include group work

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Five Categories of Groups:
 1. Self-help groups
 2. Task groups
 3. Psychoeducational groups
 4. Counseling groups
 5. Psychotherapy groups



Group dynamics and group process occur in all groups
 Group dynamics: internal dynamics
 Group process: how group unravels over time

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Around for more than 50 years
Particularly popular for last 30 years
Purpose: education, affirmation, and enhancement of
strengths
No paid leader, usually
Sometimes, no leader
Leader is not trained in group process, usually
Leader does help “organize” group
Nominal fee
Focus on specific issues, usually (AA, eating disorders)
See Box 7.1, p. 233

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Focus on conscious behaviors and group dynamics
National Training Laboratory (NTL) first group to do this
Task group specialists usually enter a system and help to
analyze and diagnose problems
Task group leaders help facilitate changes in system
Often focuses on differences among people in a system and
how to help people get a long
See Box 7.2, p. 234

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Formerly: “Guidance Groups”
Focus: Disseminate mental health education to promote
personal group and empowerment
Found in many settings
Designated, well-trained group leader
 Focuses on preventive education
Often begins with didactic presentation and then leaders to
discussion that may included limited self-disclosure
See Box 7.3, p. 235

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Usually, focused on prevention and wellness, selfenhancement, increased insight, self-actualization
Focus more on conscious than unconscious
Usually, not dealing with severe pathology
Often, focuses on issues related tonormal human
development
Usually, 4-12 members
Well trained leader
See Box 7.3, p. 235

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Focus on deep-seated, long-term issues
Focus on remediation of severe pathology and personality
reconstruction
Well-trained leader
Usually 4-12 members
Usually, meets for a minimum of 8 sessions
Usually, meet at least once a week for 1-3 hours
Leader facilitates deep expression of feelings and helps
clients work on change
See Box 7.4

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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See Figure 7.1, p. 237

Comparison of Psychoeducational,
Counseling, and Therapy Groups

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Theory in reference to group work allows one to
1. Can show efficacy
2. Have a comprehensive approach
3. Help us understand client
4. Help us decide on techniques
5. Help us predict course of treatment
6. Is researchable—we can see its efficacy

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Most theories can be applied to group work. Use their basic
tenets along with a systems framework
Theories that have been successfully applied include:
 Psychoanalytic
 Cognitive-Behavioral
 Person-Centered
 Solution Focused
 Other

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Getting Members
Group Composition
Closed or Open Group
Size Of Group
Duration Of Meetings
Frequency Of Meetings
Securing Appropriate Space
Group Leadership Style

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Pregroup Stage (Forming a Group)
 Pregroup meeting?
 Interview with potential member?
 Identifying expectations
 Challenge myths
 Screen out (or in) members

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Initial Stage (Forming)
 Members anxious, apprehensive, and want to get started
 Focus on others, not self
 There and then conversation, not “here and now”
 Resistance exhibited
 Leader task: define ground rules and build trust
 Structure, empathy, and positive regard important
 Leaders: genuine and only slightly self-disclosing
 Leaders: watch for scapegoating

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Transition Stage (Storming than Norming)
 Beginning to feel comfortable with technical issues and ground
rules– but still some anxiety initially
 Members positioning themselves in groups
 May project onto leader and have transference to leader
 As stage continues, attacking and scapegoating may occur
 Leader must deal with attacks and scapegoating
 Slowly, trust builds and resistance diminishes
 Ownership of feelings occurs
 Here and now focus begins
 Identification of problems and goals happens
 Systemically: Goal is to build a highly functioning system

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Work Stage (Performing)
 Trust occurs, conflict lessens, cohesion occurs
 Can give and hear feedback
 Work on identified behavioral change
 Gain in self-esteem from positive feedback and sense of
accomplishment
 Use of advanced counseling skills by leader
 Systemically: A system has been developed– but make
sure the system continues to encourage change and
forward movement

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Closure (Adjourning)
 Increased sense of accomplishment
 Saying good-bye
 Share what has been learned
 Express feelings about one another
 Summarize with use of empathy
 Consider who might want follow-up in counseling
 Evaluation of group?

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers (ASGW)
Social Justice in Group Work:
 Can help “privileged” clients see their privilege
Prejudice and the Group as Microcosm of Society
 Groups can mimic what happens in society
Cultural Differences between a Group Member and the Group
Leader
 If group leader of different culture than members, members may
project feelings about leader’s culture onto the leader
 Offers leader opportunity to have client’s understand their biases

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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Ethical Issues
 Ethical code of ACA and Best Practices Statement of
ASGW
 Informed Consent and Confidentiality (see p. 249)
▪ Can you ensure confidentiality?
Professional Associations: A number exist. ASGW is division
of ACA
Group vs. Individual Counseling (see top of p. 251)
Legal Issues
 Confidentiality and the Third Party Rule

© 2007 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

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