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Group Counseling COMP Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Group Counseling COMP William James College

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


DSM-5’s Definition of a Mental Disorder causes “clini­cally signif­icant distress or impairment in social, occupa­tional, or other important areas of functi­oning”
Group Work Group therapy is a form of psycho­therapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time

The Corey’s Perspe­ctive on Group Work

Groups are not a second­-rate approach to helping people change, Groups are the treatment of choice, Groups offer a natural laboratory where people can experiment with new ways of being
Group Process: All the elements that are basic to the unfolding of a group from beginning to end
Group Process Examples: Group norms, Generating trust and cohesion, Conflict and reluct­ance, Interm­ember feedback, Healing forces within the group, Stages of group develo­pment

Types of Groups

Task group aims to foster accomp­lishing identified work goals, Tends to focus on a particular theme. Ex: commit­tees, planning groups, community organi­zations
Psycho­edu­cat­ional group aims at preventive and educat­ional purposes aims to educate well-f­unc­tioning group members who want to acquire inform­ation and skills in an area of living
Group counseling utilizes methods of intera­ctive feedback within a here-a­nd-now time framework - members deal with the often difficult problems of living through support and problem solving
Group psycho­therapy aims at remedi­ation of in-depth psycho­logical problems, often focuses on past influences of present diffic­ulties

Brief Group Therapy

1. Time limited, struct­ured, lasts 2 to 3 months, and consists of 8 to 12 weekly sessions
2. Facili­tators need training in group process and brief therapy
Advantages of BGT: well suited to the needs of both clients and managed care, cost-e­ffe­ctive, widely applicable to diverse client popula­tions and problems can be used in different settings

Multic­ultural Group Work

1. To promote human develo­pment and to enhance interp­ersonal relati­ons­hips, 2. To promote task achiev­ement
3. To prevent or identify and remediate mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and associated distress that interfere with mental health
4. To lessen the risk of distress, disabi­lity, or loss of human dignity, autonomy, and freedom 5. Diversity competence involves deep unders­tanding of own culture
6. Culturally competent group workers are aware of their biases, stereo­types, and prejudices apply skills and interv­entions that are congruent with members’ worldviews
7. Ethical practice entails diversity competence
8. Engage in experi­ential activities and personal growth opport­unities to increase awareness of different cultures stay up to date with current readings
9. Consider the impact of adverse enviro­nmental factors in assessing group members’ problems
10. Understand how their values and beliefs influence their facili­tation of a group
11. Respect the roles of family and community hierar­chies within a member’s culture, 12. Respect members’ religious and spiritual beliefs and values
13. Acknow­ledge that ethnicity and culture influence behavior

Group Counselor:

Personal Charac­ter­istics of Effective Group Leaders Courage, Self–a­war­eness, Goodwill and caring, Becoming aware of one’s own culture, Stamina, Willin­gness to model, Commitment to self-care, Belief in group process, Presence, Ability to identify with others’ pain, Openness and nondef­ens­ive­ness, Personal Power, Sense of humor and invent­ive­ness, Personal dedication and commitment
Optimal Group Climate: Safe, positive, and suppor­tive, yet strong enough to withstand highly charged emotions, challenges and intera­ctions between members. Leaders skills are signif­icant in creating an optimal climate.
Group Leadership Skills: Active listening, Reflec­ting, Clarif­ying, Linking, Initia­ting, Sugges­ting, Interp­reting, Facili­tating, Suppor­ting, Evalua­ting, Empath­izing, Questi­oning, Modeling, Blocking, Assessing, Confro­nti­ng(do not label people), Summar­izing, Termin­ating


Advantages: Decrease burnout, Less overwh­elming to respond to the needs of the group, Co-leader peer superv­ision is benefi­cial, Help with managing counte­r-t­ran­sfe­rence, Co-leader can help process members reactions to other leader
Disadv­antages: Poor Selection of a Co-leader, Random assignment to another leader, Failure of the two leaders to meet regularly


Developing a Research Orient­ation to Practice: Allows group clinician to remain flexib­le/­res­ponsive to new evidence, Critically evaluate new develo­pments in the field of group work, Process and outcomes focused research of groups can help to demons­trate accoun­tab­ility
Downfalls of Current State of Research in Group Work: Lack of collab­oration between resear­chers and practi­tioners continues to be a key problem in group work, Although experi­mental studies may have internal validity, they may have little practical value to group workers, Practi­tioners and resear­chers need to develop mutual respect for what each can offer and increase their collab­ora­tion.

Group Ethical Issues

Ethical issues pertain to the standards that govern the conduct of profes­sional members. These standards can be found in the ethics codes of the various profes­sional organi­zations
Legal issues define the minimum standards society will tolerate, which are enforced by the rule of law at the local, state, or federal level
Clinical issues involve using your profes­sional judgment to act in accordance with ethical and legal mandates
Cultural Issues include a person’s ethnic backgr­ound, gender, sexual orient­ation, religious affili­ation, values, or other differ­ences that affect the way we understand and intervene with clients’ problems.

Informed Consent

Informed Consent: Provide members with adequate inform­ation that will allow them to decide if they want to join a group
Some inform­ation to give prospe­ctive members: The nature of the group, The goals of the group, The general structure of the sessions, What is expected of them if they join, What they can expect from you as a leader

Group Stages

Pregroup Stage: consists of all the factors involved in the formation of a group including designing a proposal for a group, attracting members, screening and selecting members, and the orient­ation process
Initial Stage: Orient­ation and explor­ation, and members tend to present the dimensions of themselves they consider to be socially accept­able. This phase is generally charac­terized by a certain degree of anxiety and insecurity about the structure of the group. As members get to know one another and learn how the group functions, they develop the norms that will govern the group, explore fears and expect­ations pertaining to the group, identify personal goals, clarify personal themes they want to explore, and deter- mine if this group is a safe place. The manner in which the leader deals with the reactions of members largely determines the degree of trust that develops.
Transition Stage: During this stage, the leader’s task is to help members learn how to begin working on the concerns that brought them to the group. It is the members’ task to monitor themselves and learn to express them verbally. Leaders can help members come to recognize and accept their fears and defens­iveness and can assist members in working through their anxieties and any reluctance they may be experi­encing. Members decide whether to take risks and speak of the things they may be holding back because of what others might think of them.
Working Stage: Charac­terized by a deeper level of explor­ation, which builds on the signif­icant work done in the initial and transition stages. During the working stage, the group may return to earlier themes of trust, conflict, and reluctance to partic­ipate. As the group takes on to earlier themes of trust, conflict, and reluctance to partic­ipate. Commitment is necessary to do the difficult work of moving forward. All members may not be able to function at the same level of intensity, and some may remain on the periphery, holding back and being more afraid to take risks.
Final Stage: A time to further identify what was learned and to decide how this new learning can become part of daily living. Group activities include termin­ating, summar­izing, pulling together loose ends, and integr­ating and interp­reting the group experi­ence. The group will deal with feelings of separa­tion, identify unfinished business, review the group experi­ence, practice for behavioral change, design action plans, identify strategies for coping with relapse, and build a supportive network.


Providing members with sugges­tions for transf­erring what they have learned in the group to the enviro­nment they will return to without the continuing support
Preparing people for the psycho­logical adjust­ments they may face on leaving a group
Arranging for a follow-up group, Telling members where they can get additional therapy
Being available for individual consul­tation at the termin­ation of a group

5 Stages of Group Develo­pment

Forming People join the group and then define the group's purpose, structure, and leadership Charac­ter­istics: anxiety, accept­ance, approval, commit­ment, norms, pleasa­ntness, meaning, trust. Leaders: Linking: process of connecting persons with one another by pointing out to them what they share in common. Cutting off: making sure new material is not introduced into the group too late to the session and preventing members from rambling. Drawing out: opposite of cutting off, asked the quiet folks to chime in.
Storming Team members experience conflicts about interp­ersonal issues and differ­ences in perspe­ctives. Charac­ter­istics: resist­ance, top/bo­ttom, power, dominance, control, hostility, anger, transf­erence, stability Leaders: conflict resolution skills, encourage group members to use I statements to avoid questi­oning one another.
Norming Close relati­onships and cohesi­veness Charac­ter­istics: group identity, near/far, intimacy, produc­tive, group closeness Leaders: support, empathize, facili­tate, and use self-d­isc­losure throughout the norming stage.
Performing The group is fully functional and works on group task Charac­ter­istics: summar­izing, transfer skills, loss/s­adness, detaching, distancing
Adjourning Concern with wrapping up activities rather than task perfor­mance Charac­ter­istics: dealing with feelings of separation

Group Norms

Norms enable a group to attain its goals and can be implicit or explicit, made at the initial stage
Examples of group norms: -Expec­tation of promptness and regular attendance -Sharing meaningful aspects of themselves -Expec­tation of giving feedback -Encou­raged to support and challenge others -Encou­raged to focus on the here-a­nd-now

Leader Skills

Active Listening: Focuses the attention on the speaker and lets the speaker know that you are listening and unders­tanding
Reflecting: Paraph­rasing, reflecting meanings and feelings back to the speaker, and summar­izing what has been said
Clarifying: Clarify vague or ambiguous thoughts, feelings or behaviors by asking the client to restate what s/he has just said or by stating to the client what the counselor has understood the client to have said
Linking: The therapist points out group members that share the same concerns, and encourages them to work together
Initiating: eExpre­ssing thoughts and feelings, making observ­ations, being direct