Group Procedures in Counseling

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Group Procedures in Counseling
Group—a collection of two or more individuals, who meet in face-to-face interaction, interdependently, with the awareness that each belongs to the group and for the purpose of achieving mutually agreed-on goals
Group work—a broad professional practice involving the application of knowledge and skill in group facilitation to assist an interdependent collection of people to reach their mutual goals, which may be intrapersonal, interpersonal, or work related
History of Group Work
Before 1900

Early 1900s

  • 1905, Joseph Hersey Pratt, first formal psychotherapy group experience, tuberculosis patients

  • 1907, Jesse B. Davis, first groups in public schools, life skills and values (vocational & moral guidance)

  • 1914-1918, soldiers were instructed in groups during WWI

  • 1922, Alfred Adler developed a systematic form of group guidance and counseling defined as “collective counseling”; formed family councils to get input from everyone in the family on how to resolve difficulties and improve family relations

  • 1930s, group guidance & psychoeducation in schools centered on vocational and personal themes; responsibility of homeroom teachers; “the guidance hour”; teacher’s responsibilities included establishing friendly relationships, discovering the abilities and needs of students, and developing right attitudes in students toward school, home, and the community

  • 1930s, Jacob Moreno devised psychodrama, an interpersonal approach in which participants act out their feelings regarding past or present events and attempt to clarify conflicts

  • late 1930s, founding of the first major self-help group in America, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

  • psychoanalytic group analysis emerged

Mid 1900s

  • 1940s, beginning of modern group work

  • 1940, Kurt Lewin, most influential founder and promoter of group dynamics, found that group discussions are superior to individual instruction in changing people’s ideas and behaviors, emphasized here-and-now

  • 1941-1942, American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama established by Moreno

  • 1943, American Group Psychotherapy Association, psychoanalytically oriented organization established by Samuel R. Slavson

  • 1950s, group procedures applied to family counseling

  • Group guidance began to wane in the late 1950s and was replaced by group counseling in educational settings

  • 1964, marathon groups, George Bach & Fred Stoller, 24-48 hrs, required to stay together, fatigue is important

  • 1967, encounter groups, Carl Rogers, personal growth groups

  • 1968, the “year of the group”, by New York Times

  • Group abuse increased

Late 1900s

  • 1971, Irving Janis created the term “groupthink” to emphasize the detrimental power that groups may exert over members to conform

  • 1973, Association for Specialists in Group Work formed by George Gazda & Jack Duncan

  • Self-help groups increased

  • 1980, Code of Ethics for Group Workers was published by ASGW and revised in 1989

  • 1991, Standards for Training Group Leaders were developed

  • 1991, Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy was established (APA)


  • Technology in group work increases (chat rooms, computer conferencing, listservs, news groups)

  • Greater variety of groups are being created

  • Participants are conceived as collaborators in treatment rather than as passive receivers

  • Increasingly use simulation and role-play

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