Group counseling is usually held in small groups of 7-10 people. Included in this group of people, sharing their thoughts, feelings and behavior problems, they provide a topic for discussion. It is assumed that each team member is involved in the process by responding to other members through feedback, support, and providing solutions to problems.
The leader, or team leader, usually has special training in methods of group counseling and strives to create an atmosphere of trust, openness, responsibility and interdependence. Facilitator demonstrates the typical behavior patterns and guides the process of understanding, caring about others, and resolve conflicts.
Differences between group counseling and group psychotherapy are mainly related mainly to the group, the expected depths of personal changes of its members and the nature of the preparation of its head. Methods and procedures used in the group counseling and groups therapy are very similar.
In fact, members of the advisory group may be people of any origin, and any profession, usually falling in the normal range of adaptability and ability to cope with life situations. They join the group to achieve a deeper understanding of themselves as individuals and develop their individual potency. Members of the therapeutic group bring to the discussion of more serious personal problems and may have neurotic symptoms or neurotic to be chronic with limited ability to cope with life’s problems. Normally, more intensive individual work is needed for them in order to change the basic structures of the individual.
The leaders of consulting and treatment groups should have special training in leadership groups. Consultants tend to focus on issues of normal development throughout life. In preparation psychotherapists, usually, more time is devoted to mastering the methods of working with abnormal populations and to study psychopathology.
Groups are natural phenomena in human history. Organized groups were preceded by various religious movements, drama and miracle. Some historians refer to the work of Mesmer as the predecessor of group treatment.
There are many people who recognize the work of John G. Pratt and its essential connection with “class method” which was the beginning of scientific group treatment in the United States. Physician Pratt used the method of training policy, telling patients with tuberculosis, which he had treated about hygiene. His ideas were based on the need to raise the morality of patients, habituating them to maintain cleanliness. His method was more like what we call the “leadership”. Soon, it became clear that his patients benefit more removed from the supportive atmosphere of the group than from the reported information in the classroom.
In Europe, group methods have started to apply Alfred Adler and Jacob Levy Moreno. Adler advised the children in the presence of the group, the reason was to train other professionals to individual counseling. And again, it was noted that a group or audience had a positive impact on the outcome of counseling if people included in it ask questions and interact. This methodological procedure used and present-day Adler’s followers with a dual purpose of training and consulting.
Moreno worked with homeless people in Vienna. He has worked with street children, displaced persons, and prostitutes. Moreno introduced psychodrama in the United States and coined the term “group therapy” and “group psychotherapy”.
Among those who had a great influence on the group therapy in the U.S., is Samuel R Slavson promoting methods, known as active group therapy. His methods were created in the course of working with socially maladjusted children. In Chicago, Rudolph Dreykurs, working with family groups and children used the Adler’s principles. Carl Rogers and client-centered or phenomenological approach helped to popularize group work. Lack of adequately trained staff and a great need for rehabilitation and maintenance therapy accelerated adaptation Roger’s principles to group work with veterans.
Although, the practitioners tried to clarify the content of the terms “leadership” and “group counseling”, the controversy on this issue escalated to the limit, as the authors continued to insist that counseling – highly personal process and should be done individually. The professionalism of school counselors, consultants working in public organizations and private practice, increased confidence in the group counseling
Recognition of the variability of group counseling also helped the activists of the Movement for the human potential and such professional organization’s advisers, as the American Association of Personnel Management and the American Psychology Association. Each of these large organizations has ethical codes related to the domain group work names.
Gazda, Duncan, and Sisson explain the distinctive features of diverse group methods:
Guidelines Group and individual groups of human species potential are characterized as predominantly prevention for business purposes, group counseling, T-groups, groups of sensory, group meetings as a part of preventive and remedial causes an increase in the right place; group psychotherapy as therapeutic for other purposes. The range of clients, their psychological and physical health, working environment, the value of the group, the length of sessions and duration of the course are also reflected in a special meaning or purpose of each of these three clearly distinct groupings.
Corey and Corey proposed treatment, group counseling, adopted in the present-day practice: group counseling which is focused on the problem of some kind educational, professional, social or personal and often performed in public institutions such as schools, institutions for the mentally sick. Health and various agencies which provide services to the public group counseling are usually different from the group therapy that has to deal with the problems which are conscious and aimed not at a serious change of personality and the resolution of specific current difficulties and are not associated with the treatment of neurotic or psychotic disorders.
Yalom examines healing factors (as he calls them), working in group therapy of any type. In these diverse factors, it is easy to see real effects associated with the management teams and group dynamics and psychotherapy.
Supply of information. This function covers the consultant carried out didactic instruction, as well as tips, tricks, or direct instruction offered by a consultant or other members of the team for solving the problems of life.
Engendering of hope. Proved that the expressed expectations of success and belief in this method, potential members of the group associated with a positive sharp group working in groups.
Versatility. Participation in the group often helps people to understand that they are not alone in their experiences, their problems, which seem to be unique, are not so rare. This knowledge often brings a sense of relief.
Altruism. The group members assist each other in substantial help by offering support and comfort, giving advice and giving insights, sharing with each other similar problems. It is important for group members to realize that they are capable of mutual aid.
Corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, according to Crothers, Ch. (1996), has similarities with the families of several important respects. Many of the team members have very bad experience in their primary families, and the group provides an opportunity to study and restructure of important family relationships, creating an atmosphere of support.
Development of ways of socialization. Although used in different kinds of groups, methods can vary greatly (from the immediate, practical mastering of skills to master them indirectly), social learning takes place in all groups. The development of basic social skills or interpersonal skill the result of group counceling, to achieve which helps feedback between group members.
Initiation of behavior. One member of the group often watches the other team member works with a similar problem. Thanks to the replacement therapy observer can include in your repertoire, or try out new patterns of behavior for themselves, proposed or simulated by group leader or other team members.
The goal of therapy is to help team members learn more rational philosophy of life, to behave more intelligently and, therefore, to live a fuller life. This kinds of therapy made a furor in the world of psychology and brought a new understanding of the human being.
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Crothers, Ch. (1996). Social Structure, London: Routledge
Porpora, D. V. (1989). ‘Four Concepts of Social Structure’, Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 19 (2), pp. 195–211.