Group Leadership Skills provides a road map and a practical toolkit for users to lead all types of groups effectively. Drawing on extensive teaching and clinical experience, authors Mei-whei Chen and Christopher Rybak give readers numerous skills, techniques, insights, and case illustrations demonstrating how to tap into the heart of group therapy: the interpersonal processes. The text covers group processes from beginning to end, including setting up a group, running the first session, facilitating the opening and closing of each session, working with tension and conflict, and using advanced skills and intervention techniques to facilitate member change. The Second Edition expands on group leadership skills to include methods of running mandate groups, semi-structured groups, basic level unstructured groups, and advanced level here-and-now focused groups, as well as using psychodrama techniques to heal unresolved grief and loss.

Unstructured Groups—Basic Level

Unstructured Groups—Basic Level

At the core of all counseling and therapy groups lies an unstructured group interaction (Bemak, 2005; Bemak, Chung, & Siroskey-Sabdo, 2005)—a style of interaction that harnesses the group’s therapeutic power. Be it the second session or the fifth session, the leader can quicken the pace of a group by switching to an unstructured format.

Since unstructured group leadership involves an incredibly intricate skill set, and since complex skills get internalized more easily when broken down into palatable bits, this text has split unstructured group leadership into two levels:

  • Unstructured groups—Basic level: orienting the group and reducing anxiety (this chapter)
  • Unstructured groups—Advanced level: focusing on intense here-and-now experiences (Chapters 11 and 12)

Features of Unstructured Groups

The spirit of an unstructured session is its inherent ...

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