This book provides a comprehensive examination of theories and concepts relating to group counselling and shows how differing theoretical frameworks can be used as a basis for practice. Organized around the counselling process, the book considers the practicalities of establishing and running a group, raising awareness of its life cycle, its cultural location and many other diverse issues. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of therapeutic attitudes and philosophies as a basis for practice, and humanistic and existential approaches to group counselling are given particular attention. The author encourages readers to be aware of their conceptual framework and how it influences their work.

Groups: History and Development

Groups: History and development

In this chapter I offer a brief history of groups, and distinguish between counselling groups across the three traditions or forces’ of psychology – the psychodynamic, the behavioural and the humanistic/existential. I introduce the conceptual distinctions between working in, through and of the group and the implications of such distinctions for practice. Finally, I discuss concepts of group development and illustrate their usefulness to the counsellor working in, through and with groups.

A Brief History of Groups

Although histories vary, it seems that Worcester, an associate of the psychologist James, and Pratt, an internist, were the first practitioners of group therapy. From 1905, they organised consumptive patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Outpatient Clinic, Boston into groups or classes. In ...

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