GROUP COUNSELING                                                                                                    Ronald LaFrance, Ed.D.

CNED 560 Fall 1998                                                                                                          Counselor Education Program

Wed nesdays, 1-3:30                                                                                                          Fitzelle Hall 521

SUNY-Oneonta                                                                                                                     Phone: 607-436-3711





                This course focuses on theories, techniques, strategies, procedures, processe s, problems, and principles of group work in the counseling field.  The course incorporates didactic and experiential components aimed at the facilitation and understanding of group dynamics and self-awareness/personal growth through group interaction.  Prerequisites:  Degree status or permission of Program Coordinator, and Counseling Theories, CNED 540.   (College catalog).




                Counseling in groups provides counselors an effective alternative to individual interventions.  Groups are viewed in most counseling settings as more cost and time effective than individual counseling, and provide an envir onment in which clients may test and practice expressing new feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, receive feedback, and benefit from modeling offered by other group members.  This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the concepts, skills, and strategies that are central to effective group work in counseling settings, particularly the school setting. You will be provided an overview of several theoretical approaches and will be expected to part icipate in role-play demonstrations of each of these approaches.  In addition to role-plays and lecture, other small group/experiential activities will provide opportunities for you to gain an understanding of group processes and formats available for adaptation in a variety of settings and with a variety of client populations and counseling issues.  (T1, IIIB; T2, IC).




                Corey, G.   (1995) Theory and practice of group counseling.  (4th ed.)  Pacific   

                                  Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.


                Corey, G.  (1995) Student manual for theory and practice of group counseling.

                                  (4th ed.) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.




                Class Participation

                                1.      Complete readings for each class meeting as scheduled.

2.          Participate as group leader or group co-leader for a one-session

          demo nstration of a theoretical approach.

3.          Participate as group member or obse rver in role-played groups each


                                4.      Participate in class discussions and f eedback sessions each week.


                Either a) or b):


                  a)    Develop a research-based proposal for a group: (T1, IIA, 1, 3)

1.       Write the paper as if it is being presented to decision-makers in the

                                     setting in which you  expect to be a counselor: board of education,  

                                    superintendent, board of dire ctors, supervisor, etc.  (T4, IV, D).


2.       Select a topic, age, grade, issue, etc. around which the group is to be

        formed (e.g., grief, ninth graders, AIDS, pre-adolescenc e, parenting,  

        substance abuse).


3.       Select a theoretical approach and provide a rationale for using this

< span style='font-size:9.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Arial'>                                    approach with this particular group. (T1, II)


 4.    Describe and provide a rationale for each of the following: 

                                                 -     the number of group members.

-     how members will be invited, screened, and prepared to


                                                 -     the duration of the group (each session and the entire group)

-          the style of leadership, theoretical concepts, and techniques you   will use throughout the life of the group, fo cusing specifically on development of group trust, effective process, and termination of the group: and

-          the practical considerations for running this group (e.g.  

      location, consent and permission, closed/open, etc.).

                                           (See attached guidelines for proposal and grading.)




                Begin working on this project early, as you may need to order interlibrary loan materials.  Be c onsidering details of your proposal as we cover different theories, strategies, and features of group development throughout the semester.  You may also use the materials resource center located in the  outer room of Dr. Phillips’ office, room 130, Fitzelle Hall).


b)          Lead or co-lead a group and write a critical analysis of this experience. ( T2,

        II, E, F).


                1.  If you are at a practicum site, work with your field supervisor to develop a group you can take from start to finish within the parameters of this semester, preferably six to eight sessions.  You may lead or be a co-leader of the group.

                 2.  DO NOT provide a week-by-week account of what happened in the group.  Provide a brief introduction which identifies the type and rationale for the group, the ebb and flow of group process, and the major events/turning points in the history of the group.

                3.  Evaluate the group using our readings, discussions, and additional resources to provide a rationale for your explanations of your observations.  (T2, IIA).  You might focus on such things as stages of group development, member behaviors, member-member relationships, outcomes of the group (for the group and for each member and leader), development of trust, cohesion, management of conflict, risk taking, etc.

                4.  Evaluate your leadership style as it developed over the life of the group, as well as your development of a theoretical orientation.  What strategies were effective and how?  What might you do differently?  If you worked with a co-leader, assess that relationship and style of leadership.  (T2, II, E, F).




                You will need to make arrangements for a group quite quickly in order to fit in six to eight sessions.  You will also want to keep an ongoing journal or log of each group session and leader/co-leader prep from which to draw when it comes time to write your final analysis. 






Presentation of a group proposal or analysis project


                Present your group proposal or critique to the class as if we were a decision-making body in The setting in which you plan to work as a counselor - PTA, board of education, board of directors agency supervisors, etc.  Develop a half-hour presentation, allowing time for questions, and a written form for us to use to evaluate the efficacy of your proposal or critique.  Prepare a summary outline to be given to each class member.  Presentations will take place during the last two classes of the semester.  (T4, III, IV).


Personal Insight Log


                Due weekly in class.  This should be one or two typed pages to be handed in each week, focusing on your fee lings, thoughts, observations, questions, comments, any personal insights you have related to groups, group counseling, this course, the readings, and specifically your experience  each week in class.  I will read, respond to, and return these weekly.  (T4, III).


Final Exam


                Take Home - Due the last day of class


                This will be a cumulative exam with five essay questions, one required and the other four to be  selected from among those presented on the attached exam page.  You are to integrate material from the readings, class discussions, and group experiences in which you participate or observe, as well as your own critical analysis of the topic presented in the exam question.  You must write each question using APA style and providing references to our texts, classes, or other material used.  You are given the questions at the beginning of the semester so that you may begin evaluating relevant material early and throughout the semester.  (T1, IIA).


Our Group


                Beginning at the start of the semester and continuing for twelve weeks, we will conduct our own group within the class.  I will serve as group leade r and each student will participate in the group.  In larger classes, a fishbowl style group experience may be necessary.  In this case, students will alternate between being a participant and an observer.  The group will be developmental, focusing on your development as a group leader.  This will not be a therapy group and you will not be expected to “spill your guts.”  You will determine your own level of participation.  Goals, format, and structure of the group will be developed within the group itself.  This group is not a part of your grade, but it is a part of your course experience on which to draw for your PILs, your final exam, and class discussions.  (T1, IIIC). 


Special arrangements


                If you require special arrangements due to a disability, please see me at the end of the first class.











  1.  08/26/98         Introduction and overview


                                What is a group?  Types of groups.                                                                          Chp.  1       Corey

                                Beginning a group - early issues.


  2.  09/02/98         Ethical and Professional Issues in Group Practice                                              Chp.  2       Corey


  3.  09/09/98         Group Leadership                                                                                                       Chp.  3       Corey


                                                Exercises from Group Workbook


                                                Select leader and co-leader assignments

                                                (Theoretical approaches)


  4.  09/16/98         Stages of Group Development                                                                              Chps.  4 & 5 Corey


                                                VIDEOTAPE I


  5.  09/23/98         The Psychoanalytic Approach to Groups                                                                 Chp.   6     Corey


  6.  09/30/98         Adlerian Group Counseling                                                                                       Chp.   7      Corey< /o:p>


  7.  10/07/98         Psychodrama                                                                                                                 Chp.   8     Corey


                                                VIDEOTAPE II


  8.  10/14/98         The Existential Approach to Groups                                                                         Chp.   9      Corey


  9.  10/21/98         The Person-Centered Approach to Groups                                                            Chp.  10    Corey


10.  10/28/98        Gestalt Therapy                                                                                                             Chp.  11   Corey                                  

11.  11/04/98        Behavioral Group Therapy                                                                                          Chp.  13     Corey


12.  11/11/98        Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in Groups                                                      Chp.  14     Corey


                                                VIDEOTAPE III


13.  11/18/98        Reality Therapy in Groups                                                                                          Chp.  15     Corey


       11/25/98         THANKSGIVING VACATION


14.  12/02/98        Developing your leadership style: Application                                                       Chps. 16

                                                and integration of theory                                                                                  & 17       Corey


                                                PAPER DUE (group proposal or analysis)


                                                Two presentations


15.  12/09/98        Four presentations


16.  12/16/98        Final Exam Due


                                                Final presentations


< p class=MsoNormal>                                                Course Evaluations                                                           




CNED 560 - Spring, 1998                                                                                                                            Final  Exam Questions



You must answer all parts of question #1 and any four of the remainder of the questions.



1.             (a)           Review the section in Chapter 3 that deals with the group leader as a 

person.  What are  your major personal characteristics that would help  you and hinder you in your work as a group leader?



(b)            In the same chapter, review the section dealing with special problems and issues for beginning group leaders.  Discuss your single most concern.  What have you learned over the semester to help you address this concern?


(c)           How would you describe your role as a group counselor to a new group?  What do you see as your major leadership functions?


(d)           You plan to form a group and would like to work with a co-leader.  What specific things would you look for in selecting a co-leader?  What will you and your co-leader need to do to be st work together effectively?


2.             (a)           The stages of a group do not generally flow neatly a nd predictably in the

order described in the textbook.  Why is it important that you have a clear understanding of the characteristics associated with the development of a group?



(b)           Discuss the major tasks at each of the stages in the development of a gr oup.  What do you see as your role in addressing each of these tasks of group development?


(c)                 Refer to the section of the textbook that deals with the characteristics of

an effective work ing group.  What factors do you think are most significant?  Discuss your reasons.  What role do you see that you have in developing these characteristics within a group for which you are the leader?


3.             (a)           If you had to select one theory that comes closest to your thinking and that

helps yo u in your practice as a group counselor, what would it be?  Describe this theory and explain the reasons for your selection.


(b)           Even though a group leader may have a preference for a particular theoretical orientation, she or he may choose interventions or techniques from other theories.  Describe how your preferred theory will influence the interventions you make as a group leader, and describe interventions or techniques you might “borrow” from other theories.  Give your reasons.


(c)                 ; What are the ethical considerations in choosing a theoretical approach

and in making decisions about which borrowed interventions and techniques to use?


4.             (a)           Examine your own patterns of resistance as a group member.  List some

ways in which you’ve found yourself resistant in this class/group.  Imagine that you are leading a group of people who have many of the same defenses and resistances that you have.  How would this be for you?

 < ![endif]>

(b)           In your own experience as a group member, what has helped you recognize and work through certain resistances?  What has hindered you?  What might have led you to deeper entrenchment in certain resistances and defensive styles of behaving in a group?


(c)           Assume that a member says that she doesn’t want to press onward with an issue on which she has been working.  What courses of action would you be inclined to take?  Do you see a difference between pressuring members to talk about a given issue and encouraging them to talk about possible fears that keep them from working on that issue?


5.             (a)           How would you explain to group members the nature and purpose of self-

disclosure?  What are some specific guidelines that are useful in teaching members the skills involved in appropriate self-disclosure?


(b)           What is the purpose of confrontation?  What would you tell members about doing it in a constructive way?


(c )           What is the purpose of goal-setting in groups?  How would you assess the outcomes of a group that you were leading?


                (d)           Discuss the nature of confidentiality in groups.


6.             ( a)           Discuss some of the ways of combining existential themes with

behavioral techniques.  What are the possibilities of a merger between the existential and behavioral approaches as applied to group counseling?


(b)           Discuss some common denominators of these various approaches to group counseling: Adlerian therapy, REBT, reality therapy.


(c)           Contrast a psychoanalytic group with a person-centered group in terms of goals and procedures used.               


(d)            & nbsp;    Compare the goals of psychodrama and Gestalt groups and contrast the

                                differences in techniques between these two approaches.