Group counseling is one of the therapy approaches that coexist with individual therapy empowering treatment of various psychological problems. Group counseling has particular benefits for treating problems related to intrapersonal and interpersonal issues as well as for helping people change. For example, it can be useful for such conditions as complicated grief, trauma reactions, adjustment problems, and existential issues (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2008).
Moreover, this approach is considered to be cost-effective since it requires less therapist’s time. The major distinction between group and individual counseling is the number of participants involved. It is evident that in individual counseling a counselor works with a single person while group counseling presupposes that more than one person is involved. The number of people in a group can vary, but the usual size is between six and twelve participants. Finally, the approaches and interventions applied in individual and group sessions differ. Still, they depend more on the type of a problem than on the group size.
I have some experience of group counseling and can make some personal assumptions. First of all, I believe that group counseling is more complicated than individual counseling. Even though group counseling is not less effective than individual counseling, I sometimes get anxious about delivering the lesson. I sometimes find it challenging to maintain control of the room. Secondly, it is more difficult to predict the outcomes of a therapy session in group counseling due to the diverse reactions of the participants (Berg, Landreth, & Fall, 2018). Moreover, I suppose that it is vital to consider group progress and group developments as the aspects that can help in predicting group results and increase the effectiveness of counseling.
Currently, I am involved with four counseling groups that involve individuals of different age and with diverse problems. The first one is Life Skills group for adolescents. The group is for teenagers who lack basic communicative skills and other abilities necessary for the development of self-esteem and successful assimilation in adolescent groups. The second group is Anger Management for adults. Its work is intended to provide the participants with strategies that allow them to cope with anger in daily situations. The third group I run is the one at a private mental health hospital for pediatrics and adolescence. Finally, I run a Cognitive Behavioral Intervention group (CBI) for the inmates at the jail where I currently work. CBI was created for inmates in prison to reveal the emotions of participants and assist in their regulation.
CBI is a group that takes most time and effort, partially due to the specific audience. Generally, I prefer the integrative approach to group practice because it allows incorporating techniques and concepts that can be effective for every group at a certain period (Corey et al., 2008). Still, with CBI group I make a focus on cognitive and behavioral theories that provide a background for cognitive behavioral therapy and the related interventions.
Behavioral theory is essential for this group because it states that behavior is learned and thus can be improved, which is crucial in the case of prison inmates. Cognitive theory is beneficial for developing the CBI group because it involves a belief that people’s thinking has a potential to change feelings and behaviors. Consequently, cognitive behavioral interventions during group sessions are expected to have a positive impact on group participants and contribute to the analysis of behaviors and the following positive changes.
Berg, R. C., Landreth, G. L., & Fall, K. A. (2018). Group counseling. Concepts and procedures (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2008). Groups. Process and practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.