The Practical Handbook Of Group Counseling

The Practical Handbook Of Group Counseling

by M. Ed. M.D. Sheldon D. Glass

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Overview

The Practical Handbook of Group Counseling is written mainly as a primer to be used in group work with children, adolescents, and parents. The first edition was used by over three hundred colleges and universities in the
United States. Its unique design allows the reader to use it as a ready reference for practical information. It is presented as a text that can challenge the individual's ideas and upon which the counselor can develop techniques that will fit his/her personality and meet the needs of the group.

The text was the first comprehensive practical book in this field. It is a synthesis of the various problems and successes that the counselor may encounter and offers one model that may be useful in resolving and/or enhancing some of these issues. The author utilizes the public school setting as the vehicle for presenting his material. Since the school is a cross section of the population, the model proposed here can be adapted to other social agencies that utilize group counseling techniques.

The author, Dr. Sheldon D.
Glass, has a significant background in group work and in child and adolescent development. He is uniquely qualified in this area because he has completed formal training in education, adult psychiatry, child psychiatry, and pediatrics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426920714
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Pages: 389
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Sheldon D. Glass, M.Ed., M.D. is an assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine. He developed the first system-wide training program in Group Counseling for all
Public School Counselors in the State of Maryland,
including the Baltimore Public School System.

Read an Excerpt

The Practical Handbook of Group Counseling

Group work with Children, Adolescents, and Parents
By Sheldon D. Glass

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Sheldon D. Glass, M.Ed., M.D..
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4269-2071-4


Chapter One

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this book is to present the practical techniques of group counseling in the school setting. It has been written to emphasize the skills necessary to know how to use group counseling, when to use it, where to use it, and when not to use it. The book has not been designed to review the theoretical concepts of group dynamics. Theory will be discussed in terms of group dynamics only when it is practical and applicable. The book is not meant to be a scientific document. It is based primarily upon the impressions and experiences of the author. The material presented has been obtained through extensive work at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, and in the Baltimore City school system and throughout the Maryland region (MD, DE, and VA) where large group counseling programs have been initiated at every level of the school organization: that is, elementary, junior and senior high schools, as well as specialty schools - i.e., the vocational schools and the schools for adolescent pregnant girls.

Group counseling can be a very useful technique in the school program. It has been used in different school settings for various purposes. We have used it with above-average children with leadership skills, average children, potential dropouts, underachievers, disruptive children, developmentally disabled children, adolescent pregnant girls between the ages of eleven and eighteen, and specialty groups such as peer counselors, fashion design students, and students with specific somatic problems. It has been used specifically for college orientations and vocational guidance.

One important fact that group counseling has shown is that it is not a substitute for the classical one-to-one or counselor-to-pupil relationship. The one-to-one classical approach is the basic foundation upon which the counselor works. Group counseling, however, can facilitate this one-to-one relationship and offer both the counselor and the student opportunities which individual counseling cannot. Sometimes the best way for the counselor or teacher to "reach" the individual is through a group. In other situations a counselor who has been working on a one-to-one basis may not have time to continue, but feels that the youngster still needs some type of counseling support and may elect to continue working with the student in a group.

GROUP IDENTITY

In working with students educators are concerned with many goals, one of which is giving the youngster an opportunity to develop their own identity. Usually when the counselor considers the problem of identity, the counselor means self-identity, self-concept, or self-worth. The counselor should review, however, the entire concept of identity.

Identity can be separated into two related but separate parts. One is self-identity or self-concept, which is the way an individual looks at himself. The other is group identity, which is the way an individual conceptualizes himself as a member of a group. Although group counseling helps to reinforce and develop the self identity of the individual, it is the technique of choice for helping to reinforce and develop one's group identity. It is the interaction among peers and the development of the social processes within the individual that are stimulated by the process of group counseling. With many students the group approach accomplishes what the classical, individual approach cannot. For example, within a group of youngsters in the inner city there may be a youngster whose self-identity and self-worth are well developed. The student may have a desire to go on to college or higher learning, but the group pressure may be one of anti-college or anti-higher learning. In order to identify with his peers, the student must assume the same attitude as these peers. A one-to-one classical approach may or may not help, because it may be appealing primarily to the way the student views himself as an individual rather than as a member of a group. When the educator utilizes a group approach he is reinforcing the group identity of the youngster. The group approach may help the student to overcome problems that his peer group may be presenting. It is the substitution of a positive group identity (that is facilitated by group counseling) that may offset the negative group problems that a student may have with his peers, neighborhood, or family. By participating in group counseling, there is group support for the formation of a constructive attitude. The complement may also be true in suburban or perimeter areas where the group pressure may be to go not only to college, but to go to "big-league" colleges like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Radcliffe, or Wellesley. The youngster who is just average and who may have trouble gaining acceptance into a junior college may have difficulty in handling this particular problem with his college-oriented peers. In this situation, group counseling would give the student the opportunity to share ideas with others, obtain the support of his peers in a group setting, and develop a more positive group identity. This will not offset the attitudes of the peer group, but will give the youngster a concept of group support and affiliation with others with similar problems with which the student can identify. The development of a more positive group identity is often more difficult to achieve in a classical one-to-one, counselor-student relationship.

Group counseling reinforces the youngster's estimation of himself by giving him an opportunity to see that he is not different, but shares the same problems as others in his own peer group, and that his reservations about himself and his expectations are not unusual. When the youngster is unusual, it gives him an opportunity to develop ideas that may help him, with the group support, to "work through" whatever difficulties he may think exist. Group counseling gives the student an opportunity to develop, present, and test original ideas (necessary for spontaneity and perhaps creativity) that many of our classical classrooms do not.

One of the single most important contributions of the group approach to counseling is that in a given period of time the counselor can work with a greater number of students. In an era when the counseling staff in most school systems is understaffed, counselors must utilize any technique that will effectively increase their capability of working with a greater number of students. The modern counselor can no longer rely on the basic one-to-one approach to accomplish all of their many obligations. The counselor should be able to utilize the group approach, whether it be with the entire school, grade, classroom, or small group.

One of the interesting phenomena that have occurred with counselors who have started to conduct group work is that many children who were previously hesitant to talk to the counselor on a one-to-one basis have been presenting themselves to the counselor in groups. One rather dramatic example of this happened in a junior high school, where the teacher had notified the administration that if something could not be done to improve his particular classroom he was going to submit his resignation, because he no longer could cope with the situation. The children, not knowing about this ultimatum, had spontaneously approached the counselor, asking if he could work with them so that they might be able to resolve the problems that they were having in the classroom. The counselor did in fact work with the children, and worked independently with the teacher. The teacher remained and the children became productive students.

Another phenomenon that occurs when the counselor starts working with groups is that the teacher is more likely to present and discuss his classroom problems with the counselor, hoping to obtain concepts of group work to apply to the classroom. Chapter VIII is devoted to the basic relationship of the counselor to the teacher and the practical application of a group approach in the classroom.

During the last twenty years, group work in the schools and other organizational settings has received a great burst of sustained enthusiasm and activity. But the enthusiasm in a few schools was short-lived. Group counseling in these schools had a gradual demise. During the subsequent decade there were an increasing number of reports of group counseling being conducted in various school systems throughout the nation, but this work was not as active nor widespread as the reports would indicate. It is important to reflect on why in some schools the popularity of group counseling subsided so quickly. One apparent reason is that without specific guidelines and rules of procedure, group counseling can "get out of hand" because it facilitates spontaneity on the part of the child. Some types of spontaneity within the school setting should be encouraged, for it is helpful in facilitating the process of teaching and learning. Other types of spontaneity can be destructive to the school program. It is this latter type of spontaneity that the counselors were not expecting, and consequently they did not take the basic precautions that were necessary in order to avoid difficulty.

The second reason that group counseling has "sputtered" more than it should was that the orientation was to group therapy, not group counseling. The emphasis in this book is on group counseling. This is not group therapy.

There has been much written about the similarities and the differences between group counseling and group therapy. There have been many definitions of group counseling that have been presented in the various counseling texts. Most of these have been reasonable definitions but have not emphasized the difference between the two techniques. The basic difference between group counseling and group therapy can primarily be emphasized by understanding the dynamics of groups themselves. Group processes work at basically two different levels: one is a goal-oriented, task-oriented, or conscious level in which all the participants are aware of the events that are going on. The conscious level can be said to reflect the content of the material being discussed. The second level is a less obvious, often emotionally influenced level which reflects the processes of the group that are functioning at an unconscious level. The unconscious level can be said to reflect the thoughts of the group members about the material being discussed and the dynamics of the group process. It is probably influenced by biological and psychological factors of group processes that we do not completely understand yet.

A basic difference between group counseling and group therapy is that group counseling is conducted at a conscious level. The group tries to handle the obvious events that occur within the group session, events that have been clearly delineated and of which all members are aware. Group therapy, however, is usually led by a person trained to recognize and interpret not only events that are being elicited at a conscious level but also the processes that are occurring at unconscious or less obvious level. One of the difficulties that people have had is that when they try to run a group therapy program without having been trained in techniques that allow them to technically and professionally reflect on the unconscious level of performance of the individual and the group, they are very apt to get into difficulty that they neither understand nor can handle. One of the reasons that educators have done such an excellent job with group counseling within the schools is that they orient themselves to the problems they are aware of and know a great deal about. Consequently, they become excellent group counselors. They often do not understand nor do they necessarily try to reflect on the unconscious levels of the group.

Most people, unless well trained, are not capable of working with the so-called unconscious factors in group work. The school counselor providing group counseling is usually more efficient when he works with and discusses those factors that are readily available to both him and the students involved. When the counselor works within an educational model, he is usually aware of all the events that occur. When the counselor is not successful in using an educational model, he quickly recognizes it and should know when to refer to an outside provider of services. When the educator attempts to use a psychological or psychiatric model for group work and has difficulty, he often does not know whether that difficulty should or should not be present. The educator may not be sure when to refer and when not to refer for treatment.

Although the counselor may understand the group dynamics that are occurring at an unconscious level, it does not mean that he has to interpret that performance with the student members. Many effective therapists who reflect on the unconscious level of performance often do not share this with the youngsters. Group members continue to function and develop psychologically at both levels, that is, conscious and unconscious, whether the events are interpreted or not.

Counselors should not attempt to act as trained psychiatrists. This is not the role of the school. If the youngster needs more extensive counseling, or does need psychotherapy, then this should be provided in special programs under the direction of trained mental health professionals. Although the general school and counseling programs often do alter the personalities of our students, this is the result of the educational process. The primary responsibility of the educational institution is to facilitate the process of teaching and learning. It is to this end that this book, oriented to group counseling, will direct itself.

The third reason for the apparent lack of success in some group counseling programs is that counselors often initiate group programs with students drawn from their "problem" case load. They start their "initial" groups with their most difficult youngsters instead of working with average and above-average students. The students selected often are not candidates for group work in the school setting. What is even more important is that the counselors may not be prepared to work with difficult groups. They may become frustrated and unfortunately drop the group technique prematurely. (See Page 18, "Selection Of Group Members.")

The basic difficulties that can be encountered in group counseling can be prevented by proper planning. Techniques that can be utilized will be discussed in subsequent chapters. Enough information has been obtained to be able to start group counseling programs with many different "type" groups (including disruptive students) with little technical or administrative difficulty. Although large group counseling programs have been initiated with little difficulty, it is important to note that one of the reasons for the success of the programs was the strict adherence to established precautions. Precautions reflect the seriousness by which group counseling should be undertaken. For example, all the large programs were initiated by a training seminar.

This text is written in an elementary way and may at times oversimplify a complex phenomenon. However, one of the reservations that educators have had about group work had been built out of the myth that group work is more complicated than it is. If the counselor works within the educational model, there is no reason why group work should not be initiated within the school program, provided the proper precautions and training are established.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Practical Handbook of Group Counseling by Sheldon D. Glass Copyright © 2010 by Sheldon D. Glass, M.Ed., M.D... Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

I. INTRODUCTION....................1
Group Identity....................2
II. HOW TO ORGANIZE A GROUP....................13
Group Goals....................13
Group Size....................17
Selection Of Group Members....................18
The Neighborhood Effect....................23
Physical Setting....................24
Length Of Time For Sessions....................26
Frequency Of Meetings....................27
III. THE ROLE OF THE GROUP LEADER....................33
The Organization Of Group Leadership....................34
Counselor's Personality....................35
The Leader's Influence....................36
The Counselor And Group Discussion....................39
The Counselor Can Make Mistakes....................43
Control Of The Group By The Leader....................45
Testing The Leadership....................49
Student Exclusion From A Group....................52
Questions Asked The Counselor....................53
Relationship Between The Counselor And The Group Members....................56
Transference....................57
Optimum Performance By The Leader....................58
Task-Oriented Leader Versus Relationship-Oriented Leader....................59
When In Doubt....................61
The Dropout Counselor....................62
Transfer Of Leadership....................65
How To Reprove A Group....................66
The Leader's Silence....................68
The Leader Can Enjoy The Group....................70
The Counselor's Role....................70
The Female Counselor And Male Youngsters....................72
Comfort Of The Inexperienced Counselor....................73
When The Leader Threatens To Withdraw....................73
Co-Leadership Of A Group....................74
When The Leader Comes Late....................75
IV. THE MECHANICS OF GROUP COUNSELING....................79
Group Spontaneity....................79
Spontaneity Accentuated By Anger....................82
The Isolated Member....................83
Student Members Who Are Absent....................85
Increased Group Anxiety....................88
How To Handle Silent Periods....................90
Group Dropouts....................95
The Member Who Reveals Too Much....................99
When Student Members Argue With Each Other....................100
Physical Threat To One Of The Student Members Of The Group....................102
The Late Question....................103
Questions Asked After The Group Terminates....................105
A Question The Group Expects To Discuss....................106
The Tape Recorder....................107
What Constitutes A Poor Session....................108
Phases In Group Work....................110
The Third Meeting....................112
How A Group Complains....................114
Visitors To The Group....................115
How To Evaluate Group Counseling....................116
The Admission Of New Members....................117
V. TECHNIQUES TO STIMULATE GROUP INTERACTION....................121
Reinforcement or reward technique....................122
Summarization technique....................123
Pick-up technique....................124
Comparison technique....................125
Probing technique....................125
Direct question technique....................126
Didactic technique....................127
Interpretation technique....................128
Confrontation technique....................129
Problem oriented technique....................131
VI. THE IMPORTANT GROUP SESSIONS....................139
The First Session....................139
Confidentiality....................140
The Establishment Of Rules....................142
Setting Limits....................143
Group Identity....................144
How To Start The First Session....................145
The Last Session....................148
VII. GROUP COUNSELING IN THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS....................153
The Elementary School....................154
The Immature Child....................159
The Passive Child....................161
The Hyperactive Child....................163
The Secondary School....................165
VIII. GROUP COUNSELING AS AN ADJUNCT TO THE TEACHER....................177
The Learning Process....................181
The Novelty Effect....................181
The Expectancy Effect....................182
The Socialization Effect....................183
Working With Inexperienced Teachers....................185
The Teacher Working With Aides....................190
IX. GROUP COUNSELING AS AN ADJUNCT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR....................197
Group Work With Teachers....................198
Practical Group Techniques....................199
The Chicken Stories....................203
X. THE PROFILE OF SPECIALTY GROUPS....................209
The Leadership Group....................209
The Under-Achiever....................212
The Potential Dropout....................219
Special Education Students....................227
The Adolescent Pregnant Female....................228
The Behavior Problem....................235
Warning Signs Of Youth Violence....................242
Career Planning....................243
Student Teachers....................247
Charm Groups....................250
Anonymous (Students Who Approach The Counselor)....................252
Psycho-Drama And Role Playing....................254
Foster Children....................257
Audio-Visual Aids....................259
Interracial Group Counseling....................260
Clubs And Student Councils....................264
Classroom Counseling....................269
Substance Abuse....................273
Community/National Disasters....................275
XI. PLANNED GROUP COUNSELING MODULES....................291
Anger Management....................292
Study Skills....................297
Art Counseling Techniques....................303
XII. GROUP THEORIES....................315
Behavior Modification And Group Counseling....................315
Adlerian Theory And Group Counseling....................316
Existential Theory And Group Counseling....................318
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy And Group Counseling (REBT)....................318
Gestalt Theory And Group Counseling....................319
Person-Centered Therapy And Group Counseling....................320
Psychoanalysis And Group Counseling....................321
Choice Theory And Group Counseling....................322
XIII. GROUP COUNSELING WITH PARENTS....................327
How To Get Parents Into The Schools....................332
Group Interaction....................337
Conflict Between Parents....................340
Parent Profiles....................341
Summary....................348
XIV. GROUP SUPERVISION....................351
A Supervisory Session....................353
XV. Glossary....................381
XVI. Index....................383

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