Groups - Brad Benziger Counseling .com

Why have a class on groups?
 Why do you think I added a section on group
 Because group counseling in general, as opposed to
any particular type of group counseling, is a very
powerful approach to counseling.
The ideal is usually for a client to receive both
individual and group counseling.
This ideal is often not practiced because of
reluctance on the client’s part &/or expense.
There is a lot of theory which applies expressly to
group counseling as a general approach.
You will learn some of it today.
Group Types
 Task groups -- each of you who does a presentation
will be participating in a hybrid of a task group and a
psychoeducational group.
 Psychoeducational groups
 Counseling groups
 Therapy groups
 What do you think a client might get from group
counseling that they would not get from individual
 They might get some of the therapeutic factors and
the Rogerian conditions which are underlined on the
next two slides:
Yalom’s Therapeutic Factors
Instillation of hope
Imparting information
The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group
Development of socializing techniques
Imitative behavior
Interpersonal learning
Group cohesiveness
Existential factors
Some add
 Love
Process groups and the here-and-now.
 Yalom’s groups tended to be process groups which
specialized in the here-and-now.
 Who knows what process is -- as opposed to content?
Six assumptions of process focused groups:
Most problems are interpersonal in nature;
Family experiences are the primary source of
interpersonal process;
A group will reactivate people’s interpersonal
Here-and-now relationships within a group can bring
about change and healing of past and present
psychological damage;
In order to endure, interpersonal learning must be
Sustained change can happen within a short time.
(Chen and Rybak, 2004)
Rogers and Groups
 Rogers found that if he treated group members with
the six necessary and sufficient conditions for
positive change, they came to treat themselves and
others in the group in those six ways.
 Rogers thought that group therapy was probably the
most potent social invention of the 20th century
(Rogers, 1970).
Rogers continued:
 Rogers thought it important that the leader, now
generally called the facilitator, facilitate the
expression of both thoughts and feelings, which
meant that the facilitator must be comfortable with
both and ready to attempt to understand and re-state
the cognitive and emotional content of members’
Group Roles
 Group Building and Maintenance Roles, Positive
Social Emotional Roles.
 Group Task Roles (Instrumental Roles).
 Individualistic Roles (Negative Social-Emotional
Group Dynamics:
 During my year at PSU, the psychology department has
offered a class in group dynamics, but not in group
The Graduate School of Education, in its Master’s in
Counseling programs, offers classes and experience in
group counseling.
Does anyone know if group counseling classes are offered
anywhere else at PSU?
I have a book entitled “Group Dynamics,” but I have not
read it.
Can anyone tell me what a class in “group dynamics”
might cover?
Group Dynamics, continued:
 One aspect of group dynamics is that if you get a group of
people together to do a task, some will do most of the
work; some will coast; and some will do very little work
at all.
 Last term, some students/members dropped out of their
presentation and some showed up but did little work.
 Do not be too quick to resent this.
 I have seen the same people do most of work on one
group project, and turn around and do the least the next
time, and vice versa – for reasons that may be beyond
their ability to diagnosis or control.
Group Leadership and Co-Leadership.
 It is generally thought that for all purposes,
co-facilitators are better than a lone facilitator.
 For some purposes, co-facilitators are required. For
example, Oregon requires one male and one female
facilitator for each domestic violence offender group.
Qualities of a Good Group Leader:
 Real.
 Present.
 Gives feedback and encourages others to give
Able to self-disclose appropriately.
Encourages each member to be a co-leader.
Leadership Functions:
 Caring,
 Energizing,
 Meaning attribution,
 Organization & executive skills.
 Caring and meaning attribution have a linear
relationship with leadership ability: the more of the
skill the leader demonstrates, the better s/he is likely
to be. Energizing and organization have a
curvilinear relationship: more is better to a point,
then more is worse. For example, too little
organization might result in chaos, but too much
might result in members losing initiative and a sense
of responsibility.
Facilitator’s roles:
 Organize the group.
 Get the group going.
 Get it re-started when it lags.
 Bring individual meetings to a close.
 Termination: bring and the entire group to a close.
 For probationary groups, e.g. domestic violence
groups, one role is reporting to the probation officer
and the court.
 Groups provide an opportunity to practice equality
and dialogue. In Group Leadership Skills (2004),
Chen and Rybak take the position that the ideal role
for a group leader is the role of facilitatorparticipant, giving as much power to the members as
 Closest Rogers got to a true I-thou relationship.
The Quality of the Therapeutic Relationship
 Yalom found that (as is true for individual therapy)
the quality of the relationship between the members
and the group facilitator was the principal
determinate of client satisfaction and progress – not
the theoretical approach.
Stages in Group Development
 Forming
 Storming
 Norming
 Performing
 Adjourning
What do you think each of these terms means?
 Intellectualization.
 Questioning.
 Passive resistance.
 Absence: missing group meetings or arriving late.
 Advise giving.
 Band-Aiding.
 Dependence and co-dependency behaviors.
 “Help-rejecting complainers” (Yalom, 1995).
 Monopolizing.
 Attacking the group leader.
Conflict in Groups
 Inevitable
 But if well handled
 It leads to individual and group growth.
Special groups
 DBT.
 AA.
 Domestic violence.
 Anger management.
Native American Groups
 Many Native American cultures value cooperation
over individualism, therefore,
 Group counseling may work better with Native
Americans if the group respects their culture and is
open to learning about it.
Open vs. Closed Groups
 What is the difference?
Dangers of Groups
 Group think.
 What is group think and how would you avoid it?
 Encourage each member to become a co-facilitator
as well as a member.

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