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Theory & Practice
of Group Counseling
eighth edition
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Theory & Practice
of Group Counseling
eighth edition
gerald corey
California State University, Fullerton
Diplomate in Counseling Psychology,
American Board of Professional Psychology
aus tr a lia

br a zil

ja p a n

k or e a

me x ic o

s in g a p o re

spain

u n i te d k i n g do m

u n i te d s ta te s
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Theory and Practice of Group
Counseling, Eighth Edition
© 2012, 2008 Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning
Gerald Corey
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To Marianne Schneider Corey—my wife of 47 years,
best friend, valued colleague, and coauthor—who
has contributed immensely to
the quality of my life and my work.
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ab o u t t h e au t h o r
GERALD COREY is Professor Emeritus of Human
Services and Counseling at California State University at Fullerton. He received his doctorate
in counseling from the University of Southern
California. He is a Diplomate in Counseling Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology; a licensed psychologist; a National Certified
Counselor; a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Counseling Psychology); a Fellow
of the American Counseling Association; and a
Fellow of the Association for Specialists in Group
Work. Along with his wife, Marianne Schneider
Corey, Jerry received the Eminent Career Award
from ASGW in 2001. He also received the Outstanding Professor of the Year
Award from California State University at Fullerton in 1991. He regularly
teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in group counseling and
ethics in counseling. He is the author or coauthor of 16 textbooks in counseling currently in print, along with numerous journal articles. His book, Theory
and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, has been translated into Arabic,
Indonesian, Portuguese, Turkish, Korean, and Chinese. Theory and Practice
of Group Counseling has been translated into Korean, Chinese, Spanish, and
Russian. Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions has been translated into
Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
Jerry and Marianne Schneider Corey often present workshops in group
counseling. In the past 30 years the Coreys have conducted group counseling training workshops for mental health professionals at many universities
in the United States as well as in Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Korea,
Germany, Belgium, Scotland, England, and Ireland. In his leisure time, Jerry
likes to travel, hike and bicycle in the mountains, and drive his 1931 Model A
Ford. The Coreys have been married since 1964; they have two adult daughters
and three grandchildren.
He holds memberships in the American Counseling Association; the American Psychological Association; the Association for Specialists in Group Work;
the American Group Psychotherapy Association; the Association for Spiritual,
Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling; the Association for Counselor
vii
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Education and Supervision; and the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.
Recent publications by Jerry Corey, all with Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning,
include:
• Becoming a Helper, Sixth Edition (2011, with Marianne Schneider Corey)
• Issues in Ethics in the Helping Professions, Eighth Edition (2011, with
Marianne Schneider Corey and Patrick Callanan)
• Groups: Process and Practice, Eighth Edition (2010, with Marianne Schneider
Corey and Cindy Corey)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
viii
• I Never Knew I Had a Choice, Ninth Edition (2010, with Marianne Schneider
Corey)
• Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Eighth Edition
(and Student Manual) (2009)
• Case Approach to Counseling and Psychotherapy, Seventh Edition (2009)
• The Art of Integrative Counseling, Second Edition (2009)
• Group Techniques, Third Edition (2004, with Marianne Schneider
Corey, Patrick Callanan, and J. Michael Russell)
Jerry is the coauthor (with Barbara Herlihy) of Boundary Issues in Counseling:
Multiple Roles and Responsibilities, Second Edition (2006), and ACA Ethical Standards Casebook, Sixth Edition (2006); he is the coauthor (with Robert Haynes,
Patrice Moulton, and Michelle Muratori) of Clinical Supervision in the Helping
Professions: A Practical Guide, Second Edition (2010); he is the author of Creating
Your Professional Path: Lessons From My Journey (2010). All four of these books
are published by the American Counseling Association.
He has also made several educational video programs on various aspects of
counseling practice: (1) Gerald Corey’s Perspectives on Theory and Practice of Group
Counseling—DVD and Online Program (2012); (2) Theory in Practice: The Case of
Stan—DVD and Online Program (2009); (3) Groups in Action: Evolution and Challenges—DVD and Workbook (2006, with Marianne Schneider Corey and Robert
Haynes); (4) CD-ROM for Integrative Counseling (2005, with Robert Haynes); and
(5) Ethics in Action: CD-ROM (2003, with Marianne Schneider Corey and Robert
Haynes). All of these programs are available through Brooks/Cole, Cengage
Learning.
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br ie f
conte nts
p ar t
1
BASIC ELEMENTS OF GROUP PROCESS: AN OVERVIEW
one
two
three
four
five
p ar t
p ar t
2
3
Introduction to Group Work
Group Leadership
Ethical and Professional Issues in Group Practice
Early Stages in the Development of a Group
Later Stages in the Development of a Group
1
2
15
47
70
96
References and Suggested Readings for Part I
118
THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO GROUP COUNSELING
125
The Psychoanalytic Approach to Groups
Adlerian Group Counseling
Psychodrama in Groups
The Existential Approach to Groups
The Person-Centered Approach to Groups
Gestalt Therapy in Groups
Transactional Analysis in Groups
Cognitive Behavioral Approaches to Groups
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Groups
Reality Therapy in Groups
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Groups
126
165
190
222
253
288
323
347
382
402
425
six
seven
eight
nine
ten
eleven
twelve
th irteen
fourteen
fifteen
s ixteen
INTEGRATION AND APPLICATION
s e venteen
e ighteen
Comparisons, Contrasts, and Integration
The Evolution of a Group: An Integrative Perspective
453
454
479
ix
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conte nts
Preface
p art
1
x vii
BASIC ELEMENTS OF GROUP PROCESS:
AN OVERVIEW
on e
Introduction to Group Work
The Increasing Use of Groups
Overview of the Counseling Group
Other Types of Groups
Group Counseling in a Multicultural Context
two
Group Leadership
The Group Leader as a Person
Special Problems and Issues for Beginning Group Leaders
Group Leadership Skills
Special Skills for Opening and Closing Group Sessions
Becoming a Diversity-Competent Group Counselor
Developing Your Group Leadership Style
The Role of Research in the Practice of Group Work
t h ree
Ethical and Professional Issues
in Group Practice
The Rights of Group Participants
The Issue of Psychological Risks in Groups
The Ethics of Group Leaders’ Actions
Socializing Among Group Members
The Impact of the Leader’s Values on the Group
Ethical Issues in Multicultural Group Counseling
1
2
2
4
7
10
15
15
19
23
31
34
38
40
47
47
54
55
56
56
57
xi
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Uses and Misuses of Group Techniques
Group Leader Competence
Liability and Malpractice
four
Early Stages in the Development of a Group
Stage 1: Pregroup Issues—Formation of the Group
Stage 2: Initial Stage—Orientation and Exploration
Stage 3: Transition Stage—Dealing With Resistance
Concluding Comments
xii
CONTENTS
five
Later Stages in the Development of a Group
Stage 4: Working Stage—Cohesion and Productivity
Stage 5: Final Stage—Consolidation and Termination
Stage 6: Postgroup Issues—Evaluation and Follow-Up
Concluding Comments
p art
2
60
61
67
70
71
80
86
95
96
96
109
114
116
References and Suggested Readings for Part One
118
THEORETICAL APPROACHES
TO GROUP COUNSELING
125
s ix
The Psychoanalytic Approach to Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Developmental Stages and Their Implications for Group Work
Contemporary Trends in Psychoanalytic Group Theory
Applying the Psychoanalytic Approach to Group Work in Schools
Applying the Psychoanalytic Approach With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of the Psychoanalytic Approach to Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
s e ven
Adlerian Group Counseling
Introduction
Key Concepts
126
126
127
136
137
142
149
156
157
158
160
161
162
165
165
166
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Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Stages of the Adlerian Group
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying the Adlerian Approach to Group Work in Schools
Applying the Adlerian Approach With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of the Adlerian Approach to Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
Psychodrama in Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Psychodrama Group Leader
The Basic Elements of Psychodrama
Phases of the Psychodrama Process
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Psychodrama to Group Work in Schools
Applying Psychodrama With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of Psychodrama
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
190
190
191
197
197
200
205
212
213
214
218
219
220
The Existential Approach to Groups
222
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Phases of an Existential Group
Applying the Existential Approach to Group Work in Schools
Applying the Existential Approach With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of the Existential Approach to Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
222
225
238
239
241
241
242
244
248
249
250
n in e
ten
The Person-Centered Approach to Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
xiii
CONTENTS
e ig h t
172
172
177
179
180
183
185
186
187
253
253
256
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CONTENTS
xiv
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Stages of a Person-Centered Group
Person-Centered Expressive Arts in Groups
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying the Person-Centered Approach to Group Work in Schools
Applying the Person-Centered Approach With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of the Person-Centered Approach to Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
e le ven
Gestalt Therapy in Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Stages of a Gestalt Group
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Gestalt Therapy to Group Work in Schools
Applying Gestalt Therapy With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of the Gestalt Approach to Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
t w e lve
Transactional Analysis in Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Stages of a Transactional Analysis Group
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Transactional Analysis to Group Work in Schools
Applying Transactional Analysis With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of Transactional Analysis in Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
t h irtee n
Introduction
Key Concepts
Cognitive Behavioral Approaches to Groups
263
265
268
272
274
276
278
281
283
284
288
288
290
297
299
301
313
314
316
318
319
320
323
323
325
335
335
338
339
340
342
343
344
345
347
347
349
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Role and Functions of the Group Leader
351
Stages of a Cognitive Behavioral Group
352
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
360
Applying the Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Group Work in Schools
370
Applying the Cognitive Behavioral Approach With Multicultural Populations 371
Evaluation of the Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Groups
373
Where to Go From Here
376
Recommended Supplementary Readings
377
References and Suggested Readings
378
382
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy to Group Work in Schools
Applying Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
382
383
386
387
394
395
396
399
399
400
fifte e n
Reality Therapy in Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Reality Therapy to Group Work in Schools
Applying Reality Therapy With Multicultural Populations
Evaluation of Reality Therapy in Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
s ix tee n
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
in Groups
Introduction
Key Concepts
CONTENTS
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
in Groups
fourtee n
xv
402
402
403
406
407
414
416
418
422
423
423
425
425
425
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CONTENTS
xvi
part
3
Role and Functions of the Group Leader
The Process of the Solution-Focused Group
Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures
Applying Solution-Focused Brief Therapy to Group Work in Schools
Applying Solution-Focused Brief Therapy With Multicultural Populations
Motivational Interviewing
Evaluation of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Groups
Where to Go From Here
Recommended Supplementary Readings
References and Suggested Readings
428
430
433
437
439
440
445
447
449
449
INTEGRATION AND
APPLICATION
453
s e ven te e n
Comparisons, Contrasts, and Integration
Introduction
The Goals of Group Counseling: Various Perspectives
Role and Functions of the Group Leader: Various Perspectives
Degree of Structuring and Division of Responsibility: Various Perspectives
The Use of Techniques: Various Perspectives
Group Work in a Multicultural Context: Various Perspectives
Applications of an Integrative Model
Summary and Review Tables
e ig h tee n
The Evolution of a Group:
An Integrative Perspective
454
454
455
457
458
460
461
462
470
479
Introduction
Formation of the Group
Initial Stage
Transition Stage
Working Stage
Final Stage
Develop Your Own Style of Leadership
479
480
481
487
491
498
501
name index
s u bject index
503
507
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p re f a c e
Group counseling is an increasingly utilized therapeutic intervention in a variety of settings. Although many textbooks deal with groups, very few present an
overview of various theoretical models and describe how these models apply to
group counseling. This book outlines the basic elements of group process, deals
with ethical and professional issues special to group work, and presents an
overview of the key concepts and techniques of 11 approaches to group counseling. The book also attempts an integration of these approaches and encourages students to develop a framework that leads to their own synthesis.
Theory and Practice of Group Counseling is written in a clear and simple style,
so that you will have no difficulty understanding the theoretical concepts and
their relationship to group practice. Many of you may have taken a course
in counseling theories before your group counseling course, and that background will certainly be useful in understanding and applying the material in
this book.
This book is for graduate or undergraduate students in any field involving human services. It is especially suitable for students enrolled in any of
the courses under the general designation of “Theory and Practice of Group
Counseling.” The book is also for practitioners who are involved in group work
or for students and trainees who are interested in leading various types of
groups. This book is also useful for psychiatric nurses, ministers, social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors, rehabilitation counselors, community agency counselors, school counselors,
licensed professional counselors, and mental health professionals who lead
groups as a part of their work.
Overview of the Book
The eighth edition emphasizes the practical applications of the theoretical
models to group work. The central purpose is to help you to develop your own
synthesis of various aspects of these approaches. The book also includes two
detailed chapters on the stages of a group’s development, providing a guide
for leaders in the practice of counseling.
xvii
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PREFACE
xviii
Part One (Chapters 1 through 5) treats the basic elements of group process and practice that you’ll need to know regardless of the types of groups
you may lead or the theoretical orientation you may hold. Chapter 1 presents
an overview of the various types of groups and discusses some general principles that can be applied in working with the reality of cultural diversity in
groups. Chapter 2 deals with basic concerns of group leadership, such as the
personal characteristics of effective leaders, the problems they face, the different styles of leadership, the range of specific skills required for effective
leading, and the components of an effective multicultural group counselor.
A new section on the role of research in group counseling addresses the issues of combining research with the practice of group work, evidence-based
practice in group work, and the advantages of practice-based evidence as an
alternative to evidence-based practice. Chapter 3 addresses important ethical
issues that you will inevitably encounter as you lead groups. The emphasis is
on the rights of group members and the responsibilities of group leaders. Both
the “Best Practice Guidelines,” developed by the Association for Specialists in
Group Work (2008), and the “Ethical Guidelines for Group Therapists,” developed by the American Group Psychotherapy Association (2002), are presented
in the Student Manual that accompanies this book. In Chapters 4 and 5 you are
introduced to the major developmental tasks confronting a group as it goes
through its various stages from the formation of a group to its termination, including evaluation and follow-up. The central characteristics of the stages that
make up the life history of a group are examined, with special attention paid to
the major functions of the group leader at each stage. These chapters also focus
on the functions of the members of a group and the possible problems that are
associated with each stage in the group’s evolution. There are many new references and suggested readings for Part One.
Part Two (Chapters 6 through 16) examines eleven theoretical approaches to
group counseling. Most of the revisions for this edition are found in Part Two.
These chapters are designed to provide you with a good overview of a variety
of theoretical models underlying group counseling, so that you can see the
connection between theory and practice. Each of these theoretical orientations
has something valid to offer you as a future group leader.
To provide a framework that will help you integrate the theoretical models,
these 11 chapters have a common structure. Each chapter begins by describing the key concepts of the theory and their implications for group practice.
This is followed by a discussion of the role and functions of the group leader
according to the particular theory and, when applicable, the stages of development of that particular group process. Next are discussions of how each
theory is applied to group practice; the major techniques employed within
the framework of each theory; concepts and techniques that have applicability to group work in the school; and how the approach can be applied with
diverse client populations. Illustrative examples make the use of these techniques more concrete. Each chapter contains my evaluation of the approach
under discussion—an evaluation based on what I consider to be its major
strengths and limitations.
The necessity for flexibility and a willingness to adapt techniques to fit the
group member’s cultural background is emphasized in each chapter. You are
given recommendations regarding where to look for further training in each of
the theoretical approaches. Updated annotated lists of reading suggestions and
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
xix
PREFACE
extensive references at the end of these chapters are offered to stimulate you
to expand on the material and broaden your learning through further reading.
Part Three (Chapters 17 and 18) focuses on the practical application of the
theories and principles covered in Parts One and Two, making these applications more vivid and concrete. Chapter 17 is designed to help you pull together
the various methods and approaches, realizing commonalities and differences
among them. The chapter concludes with a description of an “integrative model
of group counseling,” which combines concepts and techniques from all the
approaches that have been examined and which should help students attempt
their own personal integration. The model I present integrates thinking, feeling,
and doing perspectives, with varying emphases at each stage of a group’s development. My rationale is to show which aspects of each theory I draw on at the
various stages of the group, as well as to offer a basis for blending what may
look like diverse approaches to the practice of group work. I strive to give you
some guidance in thinking about ways to develop your own synthesis of the
various group approaches.
Chapter 18 follows a group in action and applies an integrative perspective,
demonstrating how my coleader (Marianne Schneider Corey) and I draw from
various approaches as we work with a group. This final chapter consists of
our version of an integrative approach in working with certain typical themes
that might emerge in a group, emphasizing the theoretical and therapeutic
rationale behind our interventions with specific members. This is a case of
the unfolding of a group in action, an actual 3-day residential group coled by
Marianne and Jerry Corey.
To get a general overview of the basic issues and for comparisons among the
11 theories, I recommend that you read Part Three (Chapters 17 and 18) early in
the course (after reading Chapters 1 through 5). Of course, these two chapters
will be most important as tools for integrating and synthesizing concepts after
you have studied the contemporary approaches in Part Two.
New to the Eighth Edition
In this eighth edition several chapters in Part Two have been significantly rewritten to reflect recent trends; minor revisions were made in the chapters in
Part One and Part Three.
Revisions to Part One (Basic Elements of Group Process) include updated
research on the beneficial aspects of group work; a new and expanded discussion of the role of research in group work; a new section on evidence-based
practices in group work and a discussion of practice-based evidence as an
alternative; a new discussion of bridging the gap between research and clinical practice; an expanded discussion on integrating research into the practice
of group work; group counseling for college students; current discussion of
ethical issues in group work (such as informed consent, confidentiality, diversity issues, and competence of group leaders); stages of a group; various
perspectives on the role of cohesion in a group; and therapeutic factors in a
group.
The revisions found in Part Two (Theoretical Approaches to Group Counseling) are based on the recommendations of expert reviewers of each of the separate theories, who provided suggestions for updating the various approaches
Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. Due to electronic rights, some third party content may be suppressed from the eBook and/or eChapter(s).
Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
with regard to current trends, new studies, and recent developments in the
practice of the approach. Each of the theory chapters has been revised to reflect contemporary practice and to include the most current references available. More specifically, below are some of the changes in each of the theory
chapters.
PREFACE
xx
Chapter 6 (The Psychoanalytic Approach to Groups): There is an expansion
on the discussion of the following topics: transference and countertransference, the role of the group therapist, interpretation, the working-through
process, and the advantages of a group format in working with older adults.
There is a new section on attachment theory and group psychotherapy. More
emphasis has been given to how the past, present, and future are related to
the practice of group therapy. The discussion of brief psychodynamic group
therapy has been expanded as well.
Chapter 7 (Adlerian Group Counseling): This chapter contains relatively minor revisions of the discussion on the stages of the Adlerian group, the importance of the therapeutic relationship, and the role of encouragement in
all phases of a group. There is new material on techniques and revised material on applying this approach to group counseling with children in schools.
Chapter 8 (Psychodrama): This chapter has undergone some major revisions. Aspects that have been reconsidered and revised include differentiating classical psychodrama from using psychodrama in an integrative way;
the facilitation of spontaneity among members; the importance of working in the present moment; the meaning of encounter; tele as a therapeutic
factor; more on the use of the empty chair technique; revised discussion of
some techniques commonly used in psychodrama; and an expanded discussion of how to integrate psychodrama with other approaches.
Chapter 9 (Existential Approach to Groups): Minor changes includes revisions to the implications of the meaning of death as applied to group therapy;
the value of an existential group for older persons to assist them in dealing
with losses associated with aging; new material on the aims of an existential
group and the role of the group leader; the increased international interest
in the existential approach; and new literature on the approach.
Chapter 10 (The Person-Centered Approach to Groups): Some revisions
of this chapter include continued development of the approach; different
styles of person-centered group facilitation; and revision of the core conditions as applied to group work.
Chapter 11 (Gestalt Therapy in Groups): This chapter has an updated discussion of diversity perspectives. There is increased coverage of the differences between techniques and experiments. More attention has been
given to the evolution of Gestalt therapy and to the current emphasis on
relational factors, including the relationships between the leader and
members. There is a revised discussion of the balance of safety and risk in
the Gestalt group.
Chapter 12 (Transactional Analysis in Groups): Substantive changes in
many sections in this chapter pertain to clarification of existing material
or expansion of concepts. Some of these revisions of key points include
the ego states; the role of strokes; parental injunctions; games; rackets;
basic life positions; the stages of a TA group; guidelines for establishing
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
a therapeutic contract; and evaluation of the approach. There is new material on life scripts, basic life positions, and the role of contracts in a TA
group.
Chapter 13 (Cognitive Behavioral Approaches to Groups): Some of the salient revisions include more attention to the third-generation behavior
therapies; reworking the material in the stages of a CBT group; new material
on the informed consent process in CBT groups; new material on cognitive
therapy; expansion of the problem-solving process; and the contributions of
the CBT approach.
xxi
PREFACE
Chapter 14 (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Groups): This chapter
has been streamlined by condensing some material. Many of the changes
are relatively minor but are aimed at increased accuracy and current practices. A few of these changes are in the sections on the role of the group
leader; cognitive, behavioral, and emotive techniques used in REBT groups;
and more on the international interest in REBT.
Chapter 15 (Reality Therapy in Groups): This chapter contains some new areas of emphasis: differentiating between choice theory and reality therapy;
creating a safe environment in a group; and an updated discussion of the
WDEP model applied to group work.
Chapter 16 (Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Groups): This chapter has
undergone major revision and expansion of the concepts, techniques, and
current practices. More emphasis is given to creating a therapeutic alliance. A substantial section on motivational interviewing has been added to
this chapter. Motivational interviewing offers some unique ways to consider
ambivalence regarding change, strategies to minimize reluctance and resistance, and how to create a context for increasing the motivation to change.
Research supporting the efficacy of motivational interviewing is included,
as are some applications to different clinical populations. The commonalities between solution-focused brief therapy and motivational interviewing
are delineated as well. New material is provided on applying solution-focused counseling in the schools and also on multicultural applications of
brief therapy. Other topics that have been revised and expanded include
establishing member goals; termination issues; and an expanded discussion
of techniques.
Supplements to the Book
The CourseMate website includes a series of audio lectures that I present for
each chapter of Theory and Practice of Group Counseling. New to this eighth
edition is an online video presentation of lectures that I give for each chapter, which are different from the audio lectures. These video lectures, titled
Gerald Corey’s Perspectives on Theory and Practice of Group Counseling, are available as an online program and also as a DVD. Visit the Theory and Practice
of Group Counseling CourseMate website at www.cengagebrain.com/shop/
ISBN/0840033869 to watch Gerald Corey presenting lectures for each chapter
of this book.
A DVD program titled Groups in Action: Evolution and Challenges is an integral supplement to this book. Part One of this DVD program (Evolution of a
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
PREFACE
xxii
Group) depicts central features that illustrate the development of the group
process and how coleaders facilitate a process as the group moves through
the various stages: initial, transition, working, and ending. Chapters 4 and 5
of this textbook deal with all of the stages of a group. Chapter 18 provides
illustrative examples and vignettes from the DVD program, Evolution of a
Group, as a way of demonstrating how to integrate many of the theories. Central themes for each of the stages of a group are addressed in this chapter
and demonstrated in the DVD. These samples of group work are intended to
make the theoretical perspectives come alive, to provide some flavor of the
differences and similarities among the approaches, and to show some ways
of drawing on the diverse approaches in working with material that emerges
from a group. The DVD also emphasizes the application of techniques in
working with the material that unfolds in the here-and-now context of the
group.
An eighth edition of the Student Manual for Theory and Practice of Group Counseling is available to help you gain maximum benefit from this book and actually experience group process and techniques. The manual includes questions for reflection and discussion, suggested activities for the whole class
and for small groups, ideas for supervised training groups, summary charts,
self-inventories, study guides, comprehension checks and quizzes, self-tests,
group techniques, examples of cases with open-ended alternatives for group
counseling practice, and a glossary of key terms. An ideal learning package is
Theory and Practice of Group Counseling; Student Manual for Theory and Practice
of Group Counseling; and Groups in Action: Evolution and Challenges, DVD and
Workbook (Corey, Corey, & Haynes, 2006).
An Instructor’s Resource Manual is also available in electronic form. It has
been revised to reflect the changes in both the textbook and the student manual. The IRM contains chapter outlines, suggestions for teaching a group counseling course, test items, additional exercises and activities, online resources,
a glossary of key terms for each chapter, a study guide for each chapter, and
PowerPoint presentations for each chapter.
Acknowledgments
Many of the revisions that have become a part of this textbook since its original
edition in 1981 have come about in the context of discussions with students,
colleagues, and professors who use the book. Those students and professionals whom I teach continue to teach me in return, and most of my ideas are
stimulated by interactions with them. The supportive challenge of my friends
and colleagues (with whom I offer classes and workshops and with whom I
colead groups) continues to keep my learning fresh and provides me with encouragement to keep practicing, teaching, and writing. I especially want to
recognize the influence on my life and my books of my wife and colleague,
Marianne Schneider Corey, with whom I regularly work professionally. Her
critique and feedback have been especially valuable in preparing these revisions, and many of the ideas in the book are the product of our many hours of
discussions about group work.
The comments of those who provided reviews either before or after the
manuscript was revised have been most helpful in shaping the final product.
Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. Due to electronic rights, some third party content may be suppressed from the eBook and/or eChapter(s).
Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Those who reviewed the entire manuscript of the eighth edition and offered
useful feedback are: Patrick Callanan, California State University at Fullerton;
Lon Helton, Cleveland State University; Larry Lewis, East Los Angeles
College; Charles Merrill, Sonoma State University; and Mary Kate Reese,
Argosy University, Atlanta. I especially value input from student reviewers, as
they study this book closely. For this edition I received useful commentaries
from three students: Julie Tomlinson, MSW program, University of Southern
California; and Rebecca Cunningham and Hollis Paegel, both graduates from
California State University at Fullerton.
For the eighth edition, I thank the following people for their assistance in
updating specific chapters:
xxiii
PREFACE
Chapter 6 (Psychoanalytic Approach): William Blau, Copper Mountain
College, Joshua Tree, California; and J. Michael Russell, California State
University, Fullerton
Chapter 7 (Adlerian Group Counseling): James Bitter, East Tennessee State
University, who has played a key role in the development of this chapter
over the course of each revision and who coauthored this chapter; and
Richard Watts, Sam Houston State University
Chapter 8 (Psychodrama): Adam Blatner, Private Practice, Sun City/
Georgetown, Texas, who has had a significant role in the evolution of this
chapter since its earliest edition; and thanks to other psychodrama practitioners, authors, and teachers who reviewed this latest chapter: Jacob Gershoni, who has a private practice in Manhattan, and is also Co-Director of
the Psychodrama Training Institute in New York City; Eva Leveton, author,
teacher, and trainer in psychodrama; Zerka T. Moreno, co-creator of psychodrama, Charlottesville, VA; Catherine Nugent, Private Practice, Laurel,
MD; and Edward Schreiber, of the Zerka T. Moreno Foundation for Training, Research & Education, Amherst, MA.
Chapter 9 (Existential Approach to Groups): Emmy van Deurzen, New
School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, England; and Bryan
Farha, Oklahoma City University
Chapter 10 (Person-Centered Approach to Groups): Martin Adams, New
School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, England; Colin Lago,
Director of the Counselling Center, University of Sheffield, UK; and
Natalie Rogers, Person-Centered Expressive Arts Program, Saybrook
University, CA
Chapter 11 (Gestalt Therapy in Groups): Jon Frew, Private Practice, Vancouver, Washington and Pacific University, Oregon
Chapter 12 (Transactional Analysis): Ray Quiett; and Tim Schnabel
Chapter 13 (Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Groups): Sherry Cormier,
West Virginia University; and Frank M. Dattilio, Harvard Medical School
and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Chapter 14 (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Groups): Sherry
Cormier, West Virginia University; and Windy Dryden, Professor of
Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths College, London
Chapter 15 (Reality Therapy in Groups): Robert Wubbolding, Center for
Reality Therapy, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
Chapter 16 (Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Groups): Linda Metcalf,
Texas Women’s University and the Solution Focused Institute for Education and Training; John Murphy, University of Central Arkansas; Sherry
Cormier, West Virginia University; and Cynthia J. Osborn, Kent State
University.
PREFACE
xxiv
I appreciate the members of the Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning team who
continue to offer support for our projects. These people include Seth Dobrin, editor of counseling, social work, and human services; Julie Martinez,
consulting editor, who monitored the review process; Caryl Gorska, for her
work on the interior design and cover of this book; Arwen Petty, supplemental materials for the book; Michelle Muratori, Johns Hopkins University,
for her work on updating the Instructor’s Resource Manual and assisting
in the revision of the Student Manual; and Rita Jaramillo, project manager.
We thank Ben Kolstad of Glyph International, who coordinated the production of this book. Special recognition goes to Kay Mikel, the manuscript
editor of this edition, whose exceptional editorial talents continue to keep
this book reader friendly. We appreciate Susan Cunningham’s work in preparing the index. The efforts and dedication of all of these people certainly
contribute to the high quality of this edition.
—Gerald C orey
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1
part
pa
BASIC ELEMENTS OF GROUP
PROCESS: AN OVERVIEW
on e
Introduction to Group Work
2
two
Group Leadership
t h ree
Ethical and Professional Issues in Group Practice
four
Early Stages in the Development of a Group
70
five
Later Stages in the Development of a Group
96
15
47
REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED READINGS FOR PART I
118
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ch a p ter on e
Introduction to Group Work
Today, more than ever, mental health practitioners are being challenged to develop new strategies for both preventing and treating psychological problems.
Although there is still a place in community agencies for individual counseling, limiting the delivery of services to this model is no longer practical. Group
counseling offers real promise in meeting today’s challenges. Group counseling enables practitioners to work with more clients—a decided advantage in
these managed care times—in addition, the group process has unique learning advantages. Group counseling may well be the treatment of choice for
many populations. If group work is to be effective, however, practitioners need
a theoretical grounding along with the skill to use this knowledge creatively
in practice.
The Increasing Use of Groups
2
In conducting workshops around the United States, and in other countries as
well, I have found a surge of interest in group work. Professional counselors
are creating an increasing variety of groups to fit the special needs of a diverse
clientele in many different settings. In fact, the types of groups that can be
designed are limited only by one’s imagination. This expanded interest underscores the need for broad education and training in both the theory and the
practice of group counseling. This book provides a fundamental knowledge
base applicable to the many kinds of groups you will be leading.
Groups can be used for therapeutic or educational purposes or for a combination of the two. Some groups focus primarily on helping people make fundamental changes in their ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Groups
with an educational focus help members learn specific coping skills. This
chapter provides a brief overview of various types of groups and the differences among them.
In the human services field, you will be expected to be able to use group
approaches with a variety of clients for a variety of purposes. In a psychiatric
hospital, for example, you may be asked to design and lead groups for patients
with various problems, for patients who are about to leave the hospital and
reenter the community, or for patients’ families. Insight groups, remotivation
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3
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
groups, social skills training groups, bereavement groups, and recreational/
vocational therapy groups are commonly found in these hospitals.
If you work in a community mental health center, a college counseling center, or a day-treatment clinic, you will be expected to provide therapeutic services in a wide range of group settings. Your client population will most likely
be diverse with respect to age, ability/disability, problems, socioeconomic status, level of education, race or ethnicity, sexual identity, and cultural background. Community agencies are making increased use of groups, and it is not
uncommon to find groups for women’s issues, men’s issues, consciousnessraising groups for men, groups for children of alcoholics, support groups, parent education groups, groups for cancer patients, groups for individuals with
eating disorders, groups for people who have experienced trauma and crisis,
groups for senior citizens, HIV/AIDS support groups, and groups aimed at reducing substance abuse.
Your theoretical approach may be based primarily on a single system. Increasingly, however, group practitioners are becoming more integrative as
they draw on techniques from various theoretical approaches (see Norcross &
Goldfried, 2005). Although there are numerous pathways toward integration,
all of these routes are characterized by the desire to increase therapeutic effectiveness and applicability by looking beyond the confines of single theories
and the techniques associated with them (Norcross, 2005a).
Groups have particular advantages for school counseling. Special groups in
schools are designed to deal with students’ educational, vocational, personal,
or social problems. If you work in a school, you may be asked to form a career exploration group, a self-esteem group, a group for children of divorce, a
group for acting-out children, a group aimed at teaching interpersonal skills,
or a personal growth group. Elementary school counselors are now designing
therapeutic groups as well as psychoeducational groups. On the high school
level, groups are aimed at helping students who are in drug rehabilitation,
who have been victims of crime, or who are going through a crisis or recovering from a trauma.
Counseling groups in schools include a wide array of topics and formats.
These groups are a mainstay of the psychological services offered by schools.
Groups for children and adolescents occupy a major place in a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program because of their efficacy in
delivering information and treatment. Considerable empirical support has
been gathered for the effectiveness of groups aimed at both prevention and
remediation (Goodnough & Lee, 2004; Riva & Haub, 2004). Riva and Haub
(2004) maintain that “the real benefit of school-based treatment is that it can
potentially reach many students before they need remedial counseling for
more serious mental health problems” (p. 318). Goodnough and Lee (2004)
conclude that “providing effective group counseling experiences to students
requires leadership, specialized knowledge and skills, and the ability to advocate effectively for the inclusion of a program of group counseling within
schools” (pp. 179–180).
Reviews of the group psychotherapy literature have indicated that group
work is a beneficial and cost-effective approach to treatment (Burlingame,
MacKenzie, & Strauss, 2004). Barlow (2008) contends that groups can be
effectively used for both prevention and education purposes: “Through evergrowing research and continuing improvements in clinical application, groups
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CHAPTER ONE
4
remain a powerful intervention tool across the life span, positively impacting
childhood, adult, and geriatric disorders” (p. 244). In sum, a group approach
can help people meet almost any need.
One reason the group approach has become so popular is that it is frequently
more effective than the individual approach. This effectiveness stems from the
fact that group members not only gain insight but practice new skills both within the group and in their everyday interactions outside the group. In addition,
members of the group benefit from the feedback and insights of other group
members as well as those of the practitioner. Groups offer many opportunities
for modeling, and members can learn how to cope with their problems by observing others with similar concerns.
Even practitioners with advanced degrees in one or another of the helping professions often have very little exposure to the theory and techniques
of group work. Many of these professionals find themselves thrust into the
role of group leader without adequate preparation, training, or supervision.
It is not surprising that some of them become anxious when faced with this
challenge. Although this book is not intended to be an exclusive means of preparing competent group leaders, it is aimed at providing practitioners with
the knowledge and skills necessary for coping with the demands of effective
group leadership.
Overview of the Counseling Group
Group counseling has preventive as well as remedial aims. Generally, the
counseling group has a specific focus, which may be educational, career,
social, or personal. Group work emphasizes interpersonal communication of
conscious thoughts, feelings, and behavior within a here-and-now time frame.
Counseling groups are often problem oriented, and the members largely determine their content and aims. Group members typically do not require extensive personality reconstruction, and their concerns generally relate to the
developmental tasks of the life span. Group counseling tends to be growth
oriented in that the emphasis is on discovering internal resources of strength.
The participants may be facing situational crises and temporary conflicts,
struggling with personal or interpersonal problems of living, experiencing difficulties with life transitions, or trying to change self-defeating behaviors. The
group provides the empathy and support necessary to create the atmosphere
of trust that leads to sharing and exploring these concerns. Group members
are assisted in developing their existing skills in dealing with interpersonal problems so that they will be better able to handle future problems of a
similar nature.
The group counselor uses verbal and nonverbal techniques as well as structured exercises. Basically, the role of the group counselor is to facilitate interaction among the members, help them learn from one another, assist them
in establishing personal goals, and encourage them to translate their insights
into concrete plans that involve taking action outside of the group. Chapter 2
describes the skills competent group leaders use to accomplish these tasks.
Group counselors perform their role largely by teaching members to focus
on the here-and-now and to identify the concerns they wish to explore in the
group.
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GOALS
Ideally, members will decide the specific goals of the group experience for
themselves. Here are some possible goals for members of counseling groups:
• To increase awareness and self-knowledge; to develop a sense of one’s
unique identity
• To recognize the commonality of members’ needs and problems and to
develop a sense of connectedness
• To help members learn how to establish meaningful and intimate relationships
• To assist members in discovering resources within their extended family
and community as ways of addressing their concerns
• To learn how to express one’s emotions in a healthy way
• To develop concern and compassion for the needs and feelings of others
• To find alternative ways of dealing with normal developmental issues and
of resolving certain conflicts
• To increase self-direction, interdependence, and responsibility toward
oneself and others
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
• To increase self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-respect, and to achieve a
new view of oneself and others
5
• To become aware of one’s choices and to make choices wisely
• To make specific plans for changing certain behaviors
• To learn more effective social skills
• To learn how to challenge others with care, concern, honesty, and directness
• To clarify one’s values and decide whether and how to modify them
ADVANTAGES
In addition to the member advantages of achieving the goals just listed, group
counseling provides a re-creation of the participants’ everyday world, especially if the membership is diverse with respect to age, interests, background,
socioeconomic status, and type of problem. As a microcosm of society, the
group provides a sample of reality—members’ struggles and conflicts in the
group are similar to those they experience outside of it—and the diversity that
characterizes most groups also results in unusually rich feedback for and from
the participants, who can see themselves through the eyes of a wide range of
people.
The group offers understanding and support, which foster the members’
willingness to explore problems they have brought with them to the group.
The participants achieve a sense of belonging, and through the cohesion that
develops, group members learn ways of being intimate, of caring, and of challenging. In this supportive atmosphere, members can experiment with new
behaviors. As they practice these behaviors in the group, members receive encouragement and learn how to bring their new insights into their life outside
the group experience.
Ultimately, it is up to the members themselves to decide what changes they
want to make. They can compare the perceptions they have of themselves with
the perceptions others have of them and then decide what to do with this
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information. Group members are able to get a picture of the kind of person
they would like to become, and they come to understand what is preventing
them from becoming that person.
VALUE FOR SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
CHAPTER ONE
6
Group counseling can be designed to meet the needs of specific populations
such as children, adolescents, college students, or older persons. Examples of
these counseling groups are described in Groups: Process and Practice (M. Corey,
Corey, & Corey, 2010), which offers suggestions on how to set up these groups
and the techniques to use for dealing with the unique problems of each of
them. Following is a brief discussion of the value of counseling groups for several specific populations.
Counseling Groups for Children Counseling groups for children can serve
preventive or remedial purposes. In schools, group counseling is often suggested for children who display behaviors or attributes such as excessive fighting, inability to get along with peers, violent outbursts, poor social skills, and
lack of supervision at home. Small groups can provide children with the opportunity to express their feelings about these and related problems. Identifying children who are developing serious emotional and behavioral problems
is extremely important. If these children can receive psychological assistance
at an early age, they stand a better chance of coping effectively with the developmental tasks they must face later in life.
Counseling Groups for Adolescents Group counseling is especially suited for
adolescents because it gives them a place to express conflicting feelings, to explore self-doubts, and to come to the realization that they share these concerns
with their peers. A group allows adolescents to openly question their values
and to modify those that need to be changed. In the group, adolescents learn
to communicate with their peers, benefit from the modeling provided by the
leader, and can safely experiment with reality and test their limits. Because of
the opportunities for interaction available in the group situation, the participants can express their concerns and be heard, and they can help one another
on the road toward self-understanding and self-acceptance.
Counseling Groups for College Students Students encounter a range of developmental tasks during their undergraduate and graduate years. They experiment with defining themselves, and they seek to discover who they are in
relationships with others (Johnson, 2009). Counseling groups are a valuable
vehicle for meeting the developmental needs of both traditional and nontraditional students. Today’s college students have had a variety of significant life experiences, including some who are veterans returning from Iraq
and Afghanistan. Those who seek services at college counseling centers are
increasingly older and more diverse in their life experiences, making group
work more challenging (McCeneaney & Gross, 2009).
Many college counseling centers offer groups designed for relatively healthy
students who are experiencing personal and interpersonal relationship problems.
The main purpose of these groups is to provide participants with an opportunity
for growth and a situation in which they can deal with career decisions, intimate
relationships, identity problems, educational plans, and feelings of isolation on
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Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
an impersonal campus. Theme or issue groups, which are time-limited and focus
on a developmental issue or address a specific problem that the participants have
in common, are popular in university counseling centers. These groups promote
well-being by assisting people in dealing effectively with developmental tasks
(Drum & Knott, 2009).
Counseling Groups for Older People Counseling groups can be valuable for
Other Types of Groups
7
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
older persons in many of the same ways they are of value to adolescents. As
people grow older, they often experience isolation. Like adolescents, older
people often feel unproductive, unneeded, and unwanted. Many older people
accept myths about aging, which then become self-fulfilling prophecies. An
example is the misconception that older people cannot change or that once
they retire they will most likely be depressed. Counseling groups can do a lot
to help older people challenge these myths and deal with the developmental
tasks that they, like any other age group, must face in such a way that they can
retain their integrity and self-respect. The group situation can assist people
in breaking out of their isolation and offer older people the encouragement
necessary to find meaning in their lives so that they can live fully and not
merely exist.
Although the focus of this book is on counseling groups, the practice of group
work has broadened to encompass psychotherapy groups, psychoeducational
groups, and task groups as well as counseling groups. Many of these groups
share some of the procedures, techniques, and processes of counseling groups.
They differ, however, with respect to specific aims, the role of the leader, the
kind of people in the group, and the emphasis given to issues such as prevention, remediation, treatment, and development. Let’s take a brief look at
how psychotherapy groups, psychoeducational (structured) groups, and task
groups differ from counseling groups.
GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY
A major difference between group therapy and group counseling lies in the
group’s goals. Counseling groups focus on growth, development, enhancement, prevention, self-awareness, and releasing blocks to growth, whereas
therapy groups focus on issues such as remediation, treatment, and personality reconstruction. Group psychotherapy is a process of reeducation that
includes both conscious and unconscious awareness and both the present
and the past. Some therapy groups are primarily designed to correct emotional and behavioral disorders that impede one’s functioning or to remediate in-depth psychological problems. The goal may be either a minor or a
major transformation of personality structure, depending on the theoretical
orientation of the group therapist. Because of this goal, therapy groups tend
to be more long term than other kinds of groups. The people who make up
the group may be suffering from severe emotional problems, deep personal
conflicts, effects of trauma, or psychotic states. Many of these individuals
are in need of remedial treatment rather than developmental and preventive
work.
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Group therapists are typically clinical or counseling psychologists, licensed
professional counselors, and clinical social workers. They use a wide range of
verbal modalities (which group counselors also use), and some employ techniques to induce regression to earlier experiences, to tap unconscious dynamics, and to help members reexperience traumatic situations so that catharsis
can occur. As these experiences are relived in the group, members become
aware of and gain insight into past decisions that interfere with current functioning. The group therapist assists members in developing a corrective emotional experience and in making new decisions about the world, others, and
themselves.
8
CHAPTER ONE
PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL GROUPS
Psychoeducational groups, or groups structured by some central theme, are
gaining in popularity. These groups feature the presentation and discussion
of factual information and skill building through the use of planned skillbuilding exercises. Psychoeducational groups serve a number of purposes:
imparting information, sharing common experiences, teaching people how
to solve problems, offering support, and helping people learn how to create
their own support systems outside of the group setting. These groups can be
thought of as educational and therapeutic groups in that they are structured
along the lines of certain content themes. It is clear that psychoeducational
groups are finding a place in many settings, and they appear to be increasingly
used in community agencies and in schools.
Psychoeducational groups are designed to help people develop specific skills,
understand certain themes, or progress through difficult life transitions. Although the topics do vary according to the interests of the group leader and the
clientele, such groups have a common denominator of providing members with
increased awareness of some life problems and tools to better cope with them.
The goal is to prevent an array of educational and psychological disturbances.
Many psychoeducational groups are based on a learning theory model and
use behavioral procedures. Chapter 13 provides detailed descriptions of such
groups, including social skills training groups, stress management groups,
and cognitive therapy groups.
Psychoeducation groups are well suited to populations of all ages. Here are
a few examples of such groups for various developmental levels; they are described in detail in Groups: Process and Practice (M. Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010):
• A group for elementary school children of divorce and an anger management group for children
• An HIV/AIDS support group
• A women’s group and a men’s group
• A domestic violence group
• A women’s support group for survivors of incest
• A successful aging group
• A bereavement group for older persons
All of these groups are psychoeducational in that they contain certain content
themes to provide structure for the sessions, encourage sharing and feedback
among the members, are designed to increase self-awareness, and are aimed
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at facilitating change in members’ daily lives. These groups can be designed
for just about every client group and can be tailored to the specific needs of the
individuals represented.
TASK FACILITATION GROUPS
9
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
Task facilitation groups are designed to assist task forces, committees, planning groups, community organizations, discussion groups, study circles,
learning groups, team building, program development consultation, and
other similar groups to correct or develop their functioning. These groups
address the application of principles and processes of group dynamics that
can foster accomplishment of identified work goals. Increasingly, human services workers are being asked to help improve program planning and evaluation within organizations. Whether task groups are created for organizational purposes or to meet certain needs of clients, the tasks of these groups
center around decision making and problem solving (Conyne, Wilson, &
Ward, 1997).
Oftentimes, those involved in task groups want to get down to business
quickly, yet focusing exclusively on the task at hand (content) can create problems for the group. A leader’s failure to attend to here-and-now factors is
likely to result in a group that becomes overly focused on content concerns,
with process issues relegated to a minor role. If interpersonal issues within
the group are ignored, cooperation and collaboration will not develop, and
it is likely that group goals will not be met. It is essential that group leaders
recognize that process and relationships are central to achieving the goals of
a task group.
It is the leader’s role to assist task group participants in understanding how
attention to this interpersonal climate directly relates to achieving the purpose
and goals of the group (Hulse-Killacky, Killacky, & Donigan, 2001). The balance
between content and process in task groups is best achieved by attending to
the guiding principles of warm-up, action, and closure. When this is done effectively, task groups are likely to be more successful and productive.
Task groups are commonly used by school counselors who assemble a group
of school personnel to develop a plan to assist students. A team works together
to determine how services can best be implemented. Rather than focusing on
individual growth, task groups in school settings are concerned with accomplishing common goals to assist a range of students (Falls & Furr, 2009).
Professionals who work in the community are often called on to apply their
group work expertise to meet the needs of the community. Task groups have
many uses in community intervention. Many of the problems people face are
the result of being disenfranchised as individuals or as members of the community. One of the tasks of professionals engaged in community work is to
assist individuals and the community in acquiring access to valued resources
in moving toward a greater degree of empowerment. Group workers need to
understand how sociopolitical influences impinge on the experiences of individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups.
Working with the community usually means working with a specific group
or in a situation in which competing or collaborating groups are dealing with
an issue or set of issues in a community. Most of the work in community
change is done in a small group context, and skills in organizing task groups
are essential.
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BRIEF GROUP WORK
CHAPTER ONE
10
Strictly speaking, brief groups are not a type of group. Many of the groups already described are characterized by a time-limited format. In the era of managed care, brief interventions and short-term groups have become a necessity. Economic pressures and a shortage of resources have resulted in major
changes in the way mental health services are delivered, and these pressures
are reshaping group therapy practices (MacKenzie, 1994). Managed care also
has influenced the trend toward developing all forms of briefer treatment, including group treatment. A variety of approaches to brief group treatment have
been developed, and there is evidence that these treatments are both effective
and economical (Rosenberg & Wright, 1997).
In their review of research on brief, time-limited outpatient group therapy,
Rosenberg and Zimet (1995) found clear evidence for the effectiveness of
time-limited group therapy. Their review also showed that behavioral and
cognitive behavioral approaches were particularly well suited to brief group
therapy. In addition, they found that when modifications were made, longterm psychodynamic approaches also could be useful. Klein, Brabender, and
Fallon (1994) report positive results with short-term inpatient therapy groups
with a variety of client populations and a broad range of problems. Brief
interventions and time limitations are especially relevant for a variety of
counseling groups, structured groups, and psychoeducational groups. The
realistic time constraints in most settings demand that practitioners employ
briefer approaches with demonstrated effectiveness. However, it is essential
that those who lead these groups have had training and supervision in brief
group interventions.
Rosenberg and Wright (1997) maintain that brief group therapy is well suited
to the needs of both clients and managed care. Brief group therapy and managed care both require the group therapist to set clear and realistic treatment
goals with members, to establish a clear focus within the group structure, to
maintain an active therapist role, and to work within a limited time frame.
Rosenberg and Wright conclude, “In an era of increasingly limited resources,
brief group treatment remains underutilized despite clear evidence of its
efficacy and efficiency. There is little doubt that group psychotherapy can make
important contributions to the provision of mental health services within managed care settings” (p. 116).
Group Counseling in a Multicultural Context
In a pluralistic society, the reality of cultural diversity is recognized, respected,
and encouraged. Within groups, the worldviews of both the group leader and
the members also vary, and this is a natural place to acknowledge and promote
pluralism. Multicultural group work involves attitudes and strategies that cultivate understanding and appreciation of diversity in such areas as culture,
ethnicity, race, gender, class, ability/disability, language, religion, sexual identity, and age. We each have a unique multicultural identity, but as members of
a group, we share a common goal—the success of the group. To that end, we
want to learn more about ourselves as individuals and as members of diverse
cultural groups.
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11
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
DeLucia-Waack (1996) states that the multicultural context of group work
requires attention to two tasks: (1) the application and modification of theories
and techniques of group work to different cultures in ways that are congruent
with cultural beliefs and behaviors, and (2) the development of the theory and
practice of group work that makes full use of the diversity among members as
a way to facilitate change and growth. Multiculturalism is inherent in all group
work, and our uniqueness as individuals is a key factor in how groups operate.
In addition to understanding the range of clients’ cultural similarities and
differences, group counselors must be willing and able to challenge the culturally encapsulated view of a group’s structure, goals, techniques, and practices. A fundamental step for group counselors is reexamining the underlying culturally learned assumptions of all the major theories in light of their
appropriateness in a multicultural context. Comas-Diaz (2011) believes that
effective psychotherapy recognizes the crucial role of awareness, respect, acceptance, and appreciation of cultural diversity. However, most traditional
therapy models are grounded in a monocultural framework wherein mainstream cultural values overshadow the multicultural worldviews that may be
present among group members. Eason (2009) contends that all major theories
of group psychotherapy should address the Eurocentric assumptions associated with each theory. Acknowledging specific Eurocentric biases can provide
an opening for a conversation regarding cultural perspectives in relation to
the theory.
In their discussion of multicultural intentionality in group counseling, Ivey,
Pedersen, and Ivey (2008) state that it is no longer adequate to mainly look to
internal dynamics within the individual as a source of problems. Instead, it is
essential that we examine ourselves as contextual/cultural beings. We must
expand our awareness of issues pertaining to gender, sexual orientation, degree of physical and emotional ability, spirituality, and socioeconomic status.
It is not necessary to discard traditional theories and techniques of counseling,
but we must conceptualize them in ways that recognize the environmental influences on individual distress.
PERSPECTIVES ON MULTICULTURAL GROUP COUNSELING
The term multicultural refers to the complexity of culture as it pertains to delivery of services. From a broad perspective, multicultural counseling focuses on
understanding not only racial and ethnic minority groups (African Americans,
Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and White ethnics) but also people with physical disabilities, older people, women, gay and bisexual men, lesbian and bisexual women, transgendered individuals, and a variety of special
needs populations. The changing demographics of American society makes it
imperative that multicultural counseling address differences between counselor and client in areas such as gender, social class, language, sexual identity,
ability/disability, and race and ethnicity (Lee & Ramsey, 2006).
Multicultural counseling challenges the notion that problems are found
exclusively within the person. Going beyond this stance of “blaming the victim,” the multicultural approach emphasizes the social and cultural context
of human behavior and deals with the self-in-relation. It is essential that
group workers recognize that many problems reside outside the person. For
example, prejudice and discrimination are realities in the social environment
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CHAPTER ONE
12
whose effects go far beyond working with individuals. If group workers hope
to make culturally effective interventions, they will, at times, need to assume
nontraditional roles that may include advocate, change agent, consultant,
adviser, and facilitator of indigenous support or healing systems (Atkinson,
2004).
According to Pedersen (1991, 1997), the multicultural perspective seeks to
provide a conceptual framework that both recognizes the complex diversity of
a pluralistic society and suggests bridges of shared concern that link all people,
regardless of their differences. This enables group counselors to look both at
the unique dimensions of a person and at how this person shares themes with
those who are different. Such a perspective respects the needs and strengths
of diverse client populations, and it recognizes the experiences of these clients. Mere knowledge of certain cultural groups is not enough; it is important
to understand the variability within groups. Each individual must be seen in
the context of his or her cultural identities, the degree to which he or she has
become acculturated, and the level of multicultural self-awareness.
Pedersen (1997, 2000) emphasizes the importance of understanding both
group and individual differences in making accurate interpretations of behavior. Whether practitioners pay attention to cultural variables or ignore them,
culture will continue to influence both group members’ and group leaders’ behavior as well as the group process. Group counselors who ignore culture will
provide less effective services. For group counselors to successfully lead multicultural groups, it is essential that they be invested in becoming culturally competent. Group workers must become aware of their worldview, value diversity,
learn about different worldviews, acquire and incorporate cultural knowledge
as a part of their interventions, increase their multicultural skills, and adapt to
diversity and to the cultural context of clients (Comas-Diaz, 2011). Leaders also
need to have a good understanding of the diversity of cultural worldviews and
the potential impact of differing worldviews on relationships, behaviors, and
the willingness of members to actively participate in group work (DeLuciaWaack & Donigian, 2004).
Pedersen (2000) claims that culture is complicated, not simple; it is dynamic,
not static. Nevertheless, the tapestry of culture that is woven into the fabric of
all helping relationships need not be viewed as a barrier through which you
must break. In his workshops, Pedersen typically says that multiculturalism
can make your job as a counselor easier and more fun; it can also improve the
quality of your life if you adopt a perspective that cultural differences are positive attributes that add richness to relationships.
SOME GUIDELINES FOR SERVING MULTICULTURAL POPULATIONS
Adequate preparation is one of the best ways to increase the chances of a successful group experience for all members. Reflecting on these guidelines may
increase your effectiveness in serving diverse client populations:
• Learn more about how your own cultural background influences your
thinking and behaving. Become familiar with some of the ways that you
may be culturally encapsulated. What specific steps can you take to broaden
your base of understanding both of your own culture and of other cultures?
• Identify your basic assumptions—especially as they apply to diversity in
culture, ethnicity, race, gender, class, religion, and sexual identity—and
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think about how your assumptions are likely to affect your practice as a
group counselor.
• Recognize that all encounters are multicultural.
• Move beyond the perspective of looking within the individual for the
sources of his or her problems, and strive to adopt a self-in-relation perspective. Take into account the environmental and systemic factors that
often contribute to an individual’s struggles.
• Respect individual differences and recognize that diversity enhances a
group.
• Realize that it is not necessary to learn everything about the cultural background of your clients before you begin working with them. Allow them to
teach you how you can best serve them.
• Spend time preparing clients for a successful group experience, especially
if some of their values differ from the values that form the foundation of
group work. Teach clients how to adapt their group experience to meet the
challenges they face in their everyday lives.
• Recognize the importance of being flexible in applying the methods you
use with clients. Don’t be wedded to a specific technique if it is not appropriate for a given group member.
13
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK
• Learn to pay attention to the common ground that exists among people of
diverse backgrounds. What are some of the ways that we all share universal concerns?
• Remember that practicing from a multicultural perspective can make your
job easier and can be rewarding for both you and your clients.
In your journey toward becoming a culturally skilled group counselor, you
will probably need to think about ways of adapting theoretical approach and
techniques to better serve individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Chapter 2 deals with what it takes to become a diversity-competent group
counselor, and Chapter 3 introduces you to ethical issues that may arise in
multicultural group counseling. The remaining chapters in Part One describe
the various stages of groups and group work.
Part Two addresses some of the major strengths and limitations of 11 major
theories from a multicultural perspective. The general principles of effective
multicultural group counseling discussed here provide some background for
understanding that more detailed discussion later in the book. As you study
the 11 theories explored later in this book, give careful consideration to the
underlying value issues that are likely to have a clear impact on your practice.
The direct application of many contemporary models of therapy may be inappropriate for some clients. However, many concepts and techniques drawn
from the various therapeutic schools do have cultural relevance. As a group
practitioner, you will use a range of key concepts and techniques associated
with the various theoretical systems. It is important to develop selection criteria that will enable you to systematically integrate those tools that best meet
the needs of diverse client populations.
At this point, I suggest that you take time to read the two chapters in Part
Three. Chapter 17 deals with comparisons, contrasts, and integration of the
various theoretical models of group counseling. Many students have said they
found it helpful at various points during the course to read the illustration of
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the evolution of a group provided in Chapter 18 because it provides a framework for applying the different perspectives to an actual group. Chapter 18 is
based on a video titled Evolution of a Group, which is part of the DVD program
Groups in Action: Evolution and Challenges (Corey, Corey, & Haynes, 2006).
AUTHOR LECTURES
CHAPTER ONE
14
Watch Gerald Corey’s Perspectives on Theory and Practice of Group Counseling
DVD or visit the Theory and Practice of Group Counseling CourseMate website at
www.cengagebrain.com/shop/ISBN/0840033869 to watch videos of Dr. Gerald
Corey presenting lectures for each chapter. Also available are unique eAudio
lectures for each chapter and quiz questions for self-study.
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ch a p ter two
Group Leadership
This chapter focuses on the influence of the group leader—as a person and as
a professional—on the group process. After discussing the personal characteristics of effective leaders, I analyze the skills and techniques that are necessary
for successful leadership and the specific functions and roles of group leaders.
This chapter will give you enough information about these crucial topics to
allow you to benefit fully from the discussion in the next three chapters, which
deal with the ethics of group practice and the stages in a group’s development.
The topics covered here also represent an important prelude to the theory
chapters in Part Two.
The Group Leader as a Person
Group leaders can acquire extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of
group dynamics and be skilled in diagnostic and technical procedures, yet
still be ineffective in stimulating growth and change in the members of their
groups. Leaders bring to every group their personal qualities, values, and
life experiences and their assumptions and biases. To promote growth in the
members’ lives, leaders need to live growth-oriented lives themselves. To inspire others to break away from deadening ways of being, leaders need to be
willing to seek new experiences themselves. In short, group leaders become
an influential force in a group when they are able to model effective behavior
rather than merely describe it.
I am not implying that group leaders must be problem-free. The issue is not
whether leaders have personal problems but whether they are willing to make
a serious attempt to live the way they encourage members to live. More important than being a finished product is the willingness to continually examine whether one’s life reflects life-giving values. The key to success as a group
leader is a commitment to the never-ending journey toward becoming a more
effective human being.
PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER
Group counseling techniques cannot be divorced from the leader’s personal
characteristics and behaviors. Some personal characteristics are vitally related
15
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