Family And Consumer Science: Group Counseling Creative Writings Example
This book provides many strategies for group counselling and a discussion of group dynamics for professionals engaged in group dynamics. The focus of this textbook, however, is upon therapeutic strategies to group conflicts and/or group problems. This book makes an important discussion into the different kinds of groups and various strategies used to counsel groups. The counsellor must be able to maintain control of the group dynamics and discussion and to establish a productive and professional relationship with the client in order to have productive time with the patient. Some groups are very difficult, such as those mandated by courts or those where a difficult family or romantic relationship is at stake. A counselor must actively lead difficult groups to maintain control and lead productive therapy sessions. Non-voluntary groups are more difficult groups to lead than those where the participants have voluntarily committed themselves. The therapist must act as a facilitator, leading groups through strategy and time-management techniques. Professional counselors must always strive to maintain close attention and control over their therapy sessions. Maintaining control can mean monitoring one’s tone of voice and body language as well as facilitating the conversation and leading the discussion (Jacobs, 2011, p. 136-45). The counselor must take care to avoid being abused or dominated by aggressive members of a group. In this example, a non-voluntary group would be much more challenging to control and lead than a group of dedicated therapy-goers. For long-term groups, the counsellor must demonstrate his/her leadership in order to keep the group focused and productive (Jacobs, 2011, p. 278-282). There are also many approaches to counselling through adopting or focusing on a particular ideological approach to healing and therapy. Special considerations should be reserved for special groups, such as a non-voluntary group. Such considerations help to facilitate the therapy session, maximize time and healing and to keep the therapist safe from harm and verbal threat.
The initial stages of forming a group consist of interviews, placements and introductions and then move on to more permanent groups. Many therapy groups can last years or even decades. It is common for the members of a group to continue to use the group method for their therapy and counselling. Groups such as AA sometimes meet for several decades faithfully, thus, showing the importance of the group therapy model. The therapist should consider many kinds of data when forming a group. The setting should be planned as well because setting plays an important role in the therapy session; the environment should be relaxing and comfortable (Corey, 2006, p. 66-67). Data such as diagnosis, substance abuse history, age, race, cultural background, religious preference among others should be used to guide the process of forming the final therapy group (Corey, 2006, p. 47-48). Typically, members of the group are most likely to share and receive the therapeutic effects of the counselling when placed into a group with others who share common interests and life experiences. Therefore, a counsellor should almost always seek to place those who share common interests and preferences into the same group. Once a group has been formed, the group must meet and feel-out the group dynamics. The second major obstacle to group-formation is in determining the purpose of a group. Many groups are open-ended and begin with an unstated purpose. The group, with the help of a therapist, determines the purpose of the group. Some therapists are very open-ended about their group therapy sessions and allow the participants to determine the rules as well. Once a group has been formed, the therapist must determine the proper ways to lead and control it. Another strategy the therapist might use to gain control of a group is to institute a specific approach to counselling through adopting or focusing on a particular ideological viewpoint. Any technique the therapist can use to regain control and redirect the focus of the group is a tool in the group counsellor’s tool kit. One of the best traits a therapist can have is being an effective and polite leader and director.
One of the greatest difficulties associated with group counselling is conflict. Almost all groups have conflicts and their conflict is often associated with the reasons for their group therapy sessions. Conflicts can constitute disagreements between family members, friends or associates, disagreements aimed at the therapist, or disagreements between strangers. One cannot anticipate fully the kinds of things that will spark a controversy or disagreement at a therapy session (Forsyth, 1990, p. 388). The counselor is not legally or morally bound by the actions his/her client undertakes in their private time, but the therapist is legally and ethically responsible for the conduct of his/her clients while in the therapy session. The therapist can mitigate conflict in the therapy session by employing techniques to ease the process of introduction and to earn participant’s respect and trust (Corey, 2006, p. 68-76). Thus, rules and guidelines are established by the counsellor and participants must follow the rules in order to continue to participate in the therapy sessions. Despite the fact that rules are in place and all participants are required to follow those rules, many disagreements can lead to fights, verbal assaults and heated contentions. The therapy encounter should be intimate and confidential not antagonistic. The counsellor is obligated to provide a nourishing and stimulating environment where participants can share and benefit from the therapeutic effects of therapy. The counselor must observe their patients and avoid personal attachment or domination from aggressive members of the group. The counsellor must demonstrate his/her leadership in order to keep the group focused and productive (Jacobs, 2011, p. 278-282). Knowing and using group techniques can prepare the therapist to lead the group most effectively. Therefore, the most important task for the therapist is to know, understand and implement strategies and techniques to maximize time and benefits received from the therapist. A well-prepared therapist eliminates most conflicts through easing the environment, group dynamics and group focus before conflicts ever occur.
In a hypothetical situation, a group counsellor is counselling school children who have recently been the victims of an earthquake that shook their school building and left parts of their community in disrepair. The group counsellor in this hypothetical situation has several groups of 20 – 30 students that he/she leads twice a week for eight weeks since the earthquake. The students are noisy and unruly most of the time; they are between the ages of 11 – 14. The counsellor decides to incorporate rounds and dyads in the group therapy session in order to facilitate and improve the therapy session. Allowing the children to share their thoughts about the experience and to heal as a group enhances the therapeutic qualities of the sessions. Techniques aimed at strengthening the quality or quantity of the discussion or improving communication can be implemented by the therapist in order to capture a certain therapeutic quality or benefit (Corey, 2006, p. 12). Rounds describe the group therapy technique where the group takes turns answering the counselor’s prompt in a circular fashion. Thus, the group shares individual responses within the context of a survey or larger behavioral context. In comparison, dyads consist of smaller group dynamics that help to strengthen the quality or quantity of the group discussion (Jacobs, 2011, p. 199). In this hypothetical, the counsellor institutes a dyad structure where the class is divided into groups of two. Thus, a class of 30 students becomes 15 students. The smaller group size allows the students a chance to explore the full-benefits of therapy (Forsyth, 1990, p. 147). A similar dyad structure can be created by dividing the class in half—into two groups of 15 students. And yet a third structure can be created by dividing the class into several small groups that oppose each other on a certain issue. For instance, the class could divide itself into groups based on whether the event was perceived as traumatic or not by the students. Group dynamics are among one of the most useful strategies a counsellor can implement. Group dynamics often refresh group participants and maximize the benefit of the therapy session.
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., Haynes, R., Walters, T., Hansen, A., Brooks/Cole Publishing Company., & Thomson Learning (Firm). (2006). Groups in action: Evolution and challenges. Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole.
Forsyth, D. R., & Forsyth, D. R. (1990). Group dynamics. Pacific Grove, Calif: Brooks/Cole Pub. Co.
Jacobs, E. E., Harvill, R. L., & Masson, R. L. (2011). Group counseling: Strategies and skills. 7th Ed. Pacific Grove, Calif: Brooks/Cole Pub. Co.
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