A group of colleagues in a conference

Group Dynamics in Counseling and Therapy – COUN 8312

Course Length: 16 weeks

Creating and conducting group counseling is shown to be a cost-effective and efficient way to deliver services, and can be a valuable resource for counselors in all settings. Groups can address a multitude of issues across diverse populations. In this course, you will be introduced to the art and practice of delivering services through a group format.

Course Highlights

  • Discover key characteristics and theories of groups
  • Observe live group sessions
  • Apply counseling to a group setting, addressing specific issues

Weekly Themes

Each week throughout the course will focus on a different theme. Coursework, assignments and discussions will align with that theme, as well as the course’s primary objective.

Week 1 – Introduction to Group Work

Group work is the most efficient manner in which to deliver counseling services. This week you’ll learn the four basic types of groups and explore the basic ideas of multicultural perspectives on group work.

Week 2 – The Group Counselor

You’ll gain an understanding of the characteristics and major skills necessary to be an effective group leader. You’ll also examine the advantages and disadvantages of co-leadership of a group and the value of a research orientation in group work.

Week 3 – Ethical and Legal Issues

Operating in an ethical and legal manner is mandated of all counselors, whether delivering individual or group services. You’ll explore confidentiality, client rights, professionalism, duties and responsibilities, which are interrelated in delivering quality group services.

Week 4 – Theories and Techniques

Theory is a general framework that helps you make sense of the many facets of group process, giving a sense of direction to what you do and say in a group. This week you’ll learn the major theoretical approaches to group counseling, including their key concepts, goals, views on the therapeutic relationship and techniques.

Week 5 – Your Week. Your Time. Your Decision.

This week is yours. There will be no readings or assignments and you are encouraged to spend your time in a way that personally benefits you. Prior school counseling students have used it to spend time with family and friends, catch up on program assignments or job responsibilities and indulge in self-care activities such as a relaxing massage or invigorating walk.

Week 6 – Forming a Group

Creating and forming a group is a task often underestimated by novice counselors. You’ll discover why plans must be carefully executed to insure the full value of the group to the participants.

Week 7 – Initial Stage

Groups process through different stages. This week you’ll identify the key characteristics of a group during the Initial Stage and learn the framework for the establishment of trust in a group. You’ll also learn the guidelines for opening and closing group sessions.

Week 8 – Transition Stage

The Transition Stage represents transitioning from the Initial Stage to the Working Stage. You’ll explore the key characteristics of a group during the Transition Stage and identify ways of effectively dealing with conflict and confrontation in a group.

Week 9 – Working Stage

The Working Stage of a group is where actual group process is most likely to occur. You’ll learn to differentiate between transitional issues and Working Stage characteristics and identify the various therapeutic factors in a group that bring about change within individuals in the group.

Week 10 – Your Week. Your Time. Your Decision.

This week is yours. There are no readings assigned, no exams to take and no assignments to post, so use this week to benefit YOU!

Week 11 – Final Stage

The Final Stage of a group focuses upon terminating the group. Specific emphasis is on group evaluation with each member, addressing any sense of loss, implementing an action plan and securing necessary information to perform follow-up with members at 30/60/90 day intervals.

Week 12 – School Counseling Groups

The appropriate use of groups is the single most effective way to deliver services to students within an educational environment. This week you’ll learn the guidelines for effective group work with children and adolescents and identify issues and challenges in leading adolescent groups.

Week 13 – Groups in Agency Settings

Groups are imperative in agencies, hospitals, residential, outpatient and elder day care facilities. You’ll examine challenges in leading adult groups and identify attitudes, knowledge and skills of leaders required for effectively working with older adults in groups.

Week 14 – Therapeutic Factors

American psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom identifies what he terms the “therapeutic factors” involved in effective group work. You’ll examine the 11 therapeutic factors espoused by Dr. Yalom and rank order them according to efficacy.

Week 15 – Problem Behaviors and Group Problem Members

Knowing how to identify and intervene in negative behaviors is critical to the success of the group. This week you’ll Identify the six problem behaviors articulated by Yalom and define effective interventions.

Week 16 – Finishing Strong!

In this final week, you’ll take the final examination, turn in all required assignments and complete the course evaluation.

Get Started

To learn more about this course or others in the online Master of Education in School Counseling from Our Lady of the Lake University, call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions adviser or request more information.