Handbook of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

Handbooks

Edited by: Janice L. DeLucia-Waack, Deborah A. Gerrity, Cynthia R. Kalodner & Maria T. Riva

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Current and Historical Perspectives on the Field of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

    Part II: Best Practices in Groups

    Part III: Multicultural Groups

    Part IV: Groups Across Settings

    Part V: Groups Across the Life Span

    Part VI: Special Topic Groups

    Part VII: Critical Issues and Emerging Topics

  • Dedication

    With love to my “Handbook support group”: my husband, Bruce; my children, Erik and Olivia; and my mother, Mary

    —Maria

    To my own little support group: my husband, Kevin, and my daughters Jessica Lynn and Kellie Kathleen

    —Debbie

    To my parents with love and respect

    —Cyndee

    To my parents, the leaders of my “first group”

    —Janice

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Introduction

    Janice L.DeLucia-WaackDeborah A.GerrityCynthia R.KalodnerMaria T.Riva

    In considering the development of this handbook, we approached our task with some key beliefs and values that guided our decision-making and editing processes. First, we strongly believed that this book should have a comprehensive coverage of groups, including history and theory, research, and practice, and also topics across the life span, diverse cultures, a variety of clinical problems, and different settings. Second, and connected to the first, was a view that the field of group counseling and psychotherapy would be better served with an increased collaboration between group researchers and practitioners. The research on groups has certainly increased, as has the number and types of groups that are conducted in a variety of diverse settings. Research has guided our thinking in areas such as how groups are led, the effective components that operate within groups, and how group progress is measured. We also know that there are many group practioners who have expertise in numerous areas that, if tapped, could provide us with additional guidance on a variety of issues, including how to organize a group, select group members, facilitate exercises and interventions, and provide a therapeutic ending to a group. Information from group practitioners is harder to obtain, and many research studies are conducted regularly without any input from experienced leaders. One primary consideration was that this handbook would include the voices of researchers, group counseling educators, and group facilitators and that each chapter would be written with this collaboration in mind. To that end, we invited both experienced group leaders and researchers to write chapters for us. Typically, past books on group counseling and psychotherapy have emphasized either the empirical research or the practice of leading small groups, to the exclusion of the other view. We attempted to integrate these two important group knowledge delivery systems.

    Another value that provided a foundation for this handbook is that group counseling and psychotherapy are multicultural and that group leaders and researchers need to be sensitive and competent to work with multicultural group clients and research participants. There is a section in the handbook dedicated to multicultural groups, along with many other chapters addressing issues of diversity and culture in groups.

    Another driving force was the importance of ethical considerations that relate specifically to group counseling and psychotherapy. The majority of information written about ethical behavior focuses on individual psychotherapy. Given that group formats are much more complex than individual psychotherapy, it was essential that chapters address ethical implications of different types of groups and also discuss the contraindications of group work if applicable to a specific chapter. It was our intention to provide the best practices gleaned from theory and research and the most up-to-date information possible. Group counseling and psychotherapy have expanded in many different types of settings, with different populations, and for people who represent the entire continuum of age and a large variety of problems. We attempted to respond to the wealth of ways that groups are used presently and also take a look into the future to see how groups might evolve.

    The development of this handbook was a dynamic process that changed as we had conversations about the sections and the content and worked with our authors to further develop and refine their ideas. The evolution occurred at every level, from a change in our title to the organization of the sections and the chapters that were pertinent for each section. The seven sections, 47 chapters, and appendices in this handbook are the culmination of these efforts. As editors, our knowledge and appreciation of group counseling and psychotherapy have certainly increased and expanded, and we hope that this book will inform and inspire others to see the immense power and value of therapeutic groups.

    Acknowledgments

    We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to this project from the beginning to the end. The contributing authors have written highly informative chapters, and we thank each person for the way in which they handled all our requests for modifications. We hope that all these authors find the chapters in this book to be state-of-the-art in group counseling and psychotherapy. We acknowledge Nancy Hale's role in the beginning of the process and Art Pomponio's dedication to getting this book finished. We have taken time from our academic duties at our universities to work on this project, and we thank our colleagues and students for their understanding when we were busier than usual. Finally, each of us acknowledge the role of our families—four husbands and eight children—who tolerated our absences while we edited these chapters.

    About the Editors

    Janice L. DeLucia-Waack is Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She is the program director for the School Counseling Master's program, and teaches two courses, Advanced Group Counseling Theory and Practice and Group Work in the Schools, related to groups for graduate students. She received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Eisenhower College, a Master's degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Pennsylvania State University after completing a predoctoral internship in psychology at the University of Buffalo, SUNY Counseling Center. She began her academic career teaching group counseling courses at Purdue University. Her counseling and research interests include groups, eating disorders and body image, children of divorce, supervision, and multicultural counseling. She is the author of two books, Multicultural Counseling Competencies: Implications and Challenges for Practice and Using Music in Children of Divorce Groups: A Session-by-Session Manual for Counselors, and coauthor of another two books, Group Work Experts Share Their Favorite Activities: A Guide to Choosing, Planning, Conducting and Processing and The Practice of Multicultural Group Work: Visions and Perspectives From the Field. She is a former editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work. She has authored or coauthored more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, and journal editorials. She was also the recipient of the 2001 Association for Specialists in Group Work President's Award and was also made a Fellow by the same association in 1998. Also in 1998 she received the Distinguished Counselor Educator Award in the state of Indiana and the Association for Specialists in Group Work Professionals Advancement Award. In 1994, she received the Outstanding Research Article Award in the Journal for Specialists in Group Work and the Association for Specialists in Group Work President's Award.

    Deborah A. Gerrity is Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She is a faculty member in the Counseling Psychology, Counselor Education, and School Counseling programs. She teaches the Introduction to Group Counseling course for the master's students in School and Rehabilitation Counseling and the doctoral students in Counseling Psychology. Her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Master's in Community Counseling, Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and doctoral internship were all completed at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her counseling and research interests are in the areas of group counseling and women's issues, including sexual abuse, sexual harassment, infertility, and gender role socialization. She has authored or coauthored 20 journal articles, research reports, manuscripts, and book chapters. In 2002, she received the Outstanding Research Article on Groups Award from the Association for Specialists in Group Work.

    Cynthia R. Kalodner is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. She is Director of the Master's program in Counseling Psychology and works closely with post-master's students seeking licensure as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She teaches Advanced Group Counseling and supervises students on practicum and internship placements throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. She received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Rutgers University, and a Master's degree in Counselor Education and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Pennsylvania State University. She completed her internship at the Counseling Center at the University of Texas, Austin. She began her academic career at the University of Akron, completed a postdoctoral experience at Johns Hopkins University in the School of Public Health, and directed the Counseling Psychology program at West Virginia University for 7 years before moving to Towson. Her counseling and research interests lie primarily in the area of eating disorders and group counseling and psychotherapy; the intersection of these topics is her academic passion. She is the author of a book, Too Fat or Too Thin: A Reference Guide to Eating Disorders. She has authored or coauthored more than 40 book chapters and journal articles and made numerous presentations at national meetings focused on eating disorders, cognitive-behavioral counseling theory and practice, and a variety of topics as diverse as health care issues in Appalachia to burnout among graduate students. She continues to conduct research on predictors of the development of eating disorders and media literacy groups focused on the prevention of eating problems in girls and women.

    Maria T. Riva is Associate Professor and Chair of the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Denver. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University, her M.S. in Behavior Modification from Southern Illinois University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Counseling Psychology in 1990. She has been actively involved in facilitating many types of counseling and psychotherapy groups over the past 20 years. She teaches both Group Counseling and Advanced Group Counseling courses, and her teaching style is strongly influenced by group and leadership theory. In 2001 she was awarded the University of Denver Distinguished Teaching Award. She has numerous publications on group counseling and psychotherapy. She belongs to the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW, Division of ACA) and Group Psychology and Psychotherapy (Division 49 of APA). She was on the editorial board of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work (JSGW) for 6 years and currently serves as its Associate Editor. She is a Fellow of ASGW and in 1997 coedited a special issue on group research for JSGW.

    List of Contributors

    • Gregory Alexander, Northport VA Medical Center
    • Michael P. Andronico, Individual Practice, Somerset, NJ University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    • Sally H. Barlow, Brigham Young University
    • Karen H. Bridbord, University at Buffalo, SUNY
    • Matthew M. Burg, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
    • Gary M. Burlingame, Brigham Young University
    • Lucille A. Cardella, The Abacus Group
    • Rita Chi-Ying Chung, George Mason University
    • Marvin W. Clifford, Ochsner Clinic Foundation
    • Robert K. Conyne, University of Cincinnati
    • Janelle W. Coughlin, Johns Hopkins University
    • David W. Cramer, Private Practice
    • Lori Brown Crutchfield, Clemson University
    • Michael D'Andrea, University of Hawaii
    • Janice L. DeLucia-Waack, University at Buffalo, SUNY
    • Liane Dornheim, Florida International University
    • Timothy R. Elliott, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • Denise Emer, Daemen College
    • James Fauth, Antioch New England Graduate School
    • Laurie B. Fleckenstein, University of Georgia
    • Amelia Fleming, Bowling Green State University
    • Addie J. Fuhriman, Brigham Young University
    • Michael Tlanusta Garrett, Western Carolina University
    • Michael A. Gass, University of New Hampshire
    • Deborah A. Gerrity, University at Buffalo, SUNY
    • Lenoir Gillam, Columbus State University
    • H. L. “Lee” Gillis, Georgia College & State University
    • Samuel T. Gladding, Wake Forest University
    • Les R. Greene, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
    • Alaina L. Haub, University of Denver
    • Donna A. Henderson, Wake Forest University
    • Stacey E. Holmes, University of Maryland at College Park
    • Arthur M. Horne, University of Georgia
    • Sharon G. Horne, University of Memphis
    • Keith Humphreys, Stanford University
    • Jennifer Johnson, Brigham Young University
    • Cynthia R. Kalodner, Towson University
    • Nathalie Kees, Colorado State University
    • Elizabeth A. Kincade, Indiana University at Pennsylvania
    • Dennis M. Kivlighan Jr., University of Maryland at College Park
    • Elena Klaw, San Jose State University
    • Kathryn Kominars, Florida International University
    • Kenin M. Krieger, Indiana University
    • Gina B. Lasky, University of Denver
    • Nancy Leech, University of Colorado-Denver
    • Heidi M. Levitt, University of Memphis
    • Michele Litchy, Pittsburg Sate University
    • Rebecca R. MacNair-Semands, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    • Laura Marshak, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Andrew W. Meisler, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
    • Robert D. Morgan, Texas Tech University
    • D. Keith Morran, Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis
    • John S. Ogrodniczuk, University of British Columbia
    • Sherlon P. Pack-Brown, Bowling Green State University
    • Betsy J. Page, Kent State University
    • Trica L. Peterson, University at Buffalo, SUNY
    • Loan T. Phan, University of New Mexico
    • David Pilkey, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
    • William E. Piper, University of British Columbia
    • Lynn S. Rapin, Private Practice University of Cincinnati
    • Angie H. Rice, FamilyStrength
    • Maria T. Riva, University of Denver
    • Patricia Rivera, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • Jonathan P. Schwartz, Louisiana Tech University
    • Milton Seligman, University of Pittsburgh
    • Zipora Shechtman, University of Haifa
    • Brian C. Sirois, Kaiser Permanente
    • Rex Stockton, Indiana University
    • Edil Torres Rivera, University at Buffalo, SUNY
    • James P. Trotzer, ETC3 Professional Services, Hampton, NH
    • Emily Tucker, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • Maximillian Wachtel, Mental Health Corporation of Denver
    • Michael Waldo, New Mexico State University
    • Donald E. Ward, Pittsburg State University
    • Susan A. Wheelan, GDQ Associates, Inc.
    • Martyn H. Wittingham, Indiana University
    • Tow Yee Yau, University of Pittsburgh
  • Conclusions

    General Comments

    As we began to plan and organize this handbook, we were energized and overwhelmed by the number of topics and issues that we wanted to address. As we finish this process, our feelings have not changed. We are still both energized and overwhelmed, but for very different reasons. The energy comes from the realization than there are many people committed to advancing the field of groups, both group practitioners and researchers, and that much has been accomplished in terms of theory, research, and practice in this area. However, the overwhelmed feeling comes from the realization that much of what has been written in the field of groups is based on theory and counseling practice. Research has been conducted in some areas and with certain types of groups, but there is still much more that we need to know about how to effectively facilitate groups.

    Part I, Current and Historical Perspectives on the Field of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy looks back at the winding road that group counseling and psychotherapy has traveled. Groups are widely practiced as a therapeutic intervention with research supporting their efficacy. Research in areas like group process, therapeutic factors, and leadership behavior has improved as methodology, statistical analyses, and measurement instruments have become more sophisticated.

    Part II, Best Practices in Groups, provides the most up-to-date information about how to conduct group counseling and psychotherapy effectively. The training of group leaders as well as specific interventions are highlighted, including the choice of activities and leader interventions, how to process group events, selection of assessment instruments, supervision, and ethical considerations.

    Several themes emerge from Part III, Multicultural Groups. One is that group leader competence is critical, specifically multicultural group counseling skills. In addition, knowledge of other cultural worldviews and values and how these may inhibit or increase a potential group member's willingness to participate and behavior in group is essential. Each chapter on specific cultural groups identified cultural values, beliefs, or behaviors that may conflict with a traditional Western view of group counseling as well as aspects of each culture that promote acceptance of groups. Acculturation was also noted as an important variable in predicting the behavior of potential group members. Effective groups must help members to understand themselves and others as individuals within the context of their culture and choose interventions and methods of change based on the interplay between the individuals and their worldviews.

    Part IV, Groups Across Settings, includes examples of psychoeducational, counseling, and psychotherapy groups in a variety of settings. This part presents readers with a look at the various settings within which a variety of different types of groups are used. From the schools to the Veteran's Administration, from college counseling centers to correctional facilities, and from the workplace to private practice, groups are well utilized in a variety of settings for people of diverse ages with different presenting problems. The setting typically determines the type of groups that fit best with the needs of the participants. While psychoeducational groups are used in each of these settings, counseling and psychotherapy groups are used more often in college/university counseling centers, private practice, and community mental health centers than in the workplace (which focuses on task groups). The breadth of the impact of group interventions across settings is impressive.

    Groups Across the Life Span, Part V, emphasizes and describes the commonalities and differences in groups by age and gender. There is support for conducting groups that are homogeneous in age and gender because of the impact of cognitive development and different life tasks across age groups on the purpose and content of the group. The structure of the group, types of exercises, focus on process versus content, and group goals are all determined by the abilities and needs of the group members.

    Part VI, Special Topic Groups, includes examples of psychoeducational, counseling, and psychotherapy groups that address specific psychological concerns that affect millions of people. Focusing on different types of groups used to treat people with interpersonal and developmental issues, including grief, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, and others, this part provides the reader with hands-on strategies for developing a group on these topics, along with theoretical and empirical support for psychoeducational, counseling, and psychotherapy groups to treat the issue.

    The goal for Part VII, Critical Issues and Emerging Topics, was to capture the zeitgeist at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries. It is difficult to grasp the cutting edge of a field that is actively growing and changing. However, the chapters in this part give a significant glimpse into the evolution of the field. The overall theme of these chapters is that there is a growing need for counseling and supportive services, and that group interventions are an integral part of the services that mental health professionals provide. However, online groups and mutual support groups are frequently not administered by professionals. More involvement, research, and cooperation by group specialists are needed to reach a much wider population of individuals. Preventative and brief interventions can be effective and may ameliorate problems before they become more serious. There is also a call for deepening the focus of research to cover a comprehensive set of variables, link process with outcome, increase sample sizes, and apply the findings to practice and training of group specialists.

    Across all of these chapters, there are three major themes. With regard to practice, new and innovative techniques need to be encouraged and continue to be developed. Systematic descriptions of interventions that have been proven effective have begun to be published, but there is much room for innovation and growth in the field. In regard to research, more studies are needed with larger samples, rigorous designs, and diverse populations. As for training and continuing education, the field needs to provide students with the building blocks and foundation to lead groups and also provide education opportunities through professional organizations to continue to develop practitioner skills and add competencies in additional areas.

    Ending Comments

    Our hope is that this book will serve as a reference for both group counselors and researchers alike. We have tried to provide a theoretical context along with guidelines and suggestions based on group counseling practice. In addition, whenever possible, suggestions for psychoeducational groups as well as counseling and therapy groups have been included as an acknowledgment of the importance of education and prevention in the counseling field. Wherever possible, relevant research has been described to aid group practitioners in selecting effective interventions. Our scope has been wide, including groups across the life span, in different settings, and with different therapeutic goals. This book is a testament to the educators, practitioners, and researchers in the realm of group practice. It is with pride that we realize that as we write this conclusion, new and evolving developments are occurring in this vibrant and growing field.

    Appendix A: Association for Specialists in Group Work: Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers

    Revision Approved by the Executive Board, January 22, 2000
    Prepared by F. RobertWilson and Lynn S.Rapin, Co-Chairs, and LvynnHaley-Banez, Member, ASGW Standards Committee
    Consultants: Robert K.Conyne and Donald E.Ward
    Preamble

    For nearly two decades, the Association for Specialists in Group Work (herein referred to as ASGW or as the Association) has promulgated professional standards for the training of group workers. In the early 1980s, the Association published the ASGW Training Standard for Group Counselors (1983), which established nine knowledge competencies, seventeen competencies, and clock-hour baselines for various aspects of supervised clinical experience in group counseling. The focus on group counseling embodied in these standards mirrored the general conception of the time that whatever counselors did with groups of individuals should properly be referred to as group counseling.

    New ground was broken in the 1990 revision of the ASGW Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers with (a) the articulation of the term, group work, to capture the variety of ways in which counselors work with groups, (b) differentiation of core training, deemed essential for all counselors, from specialization training required of those intending to engage in group work as part of their professional practice, and (c) the differentiation among four distinct group work specializations: task and work group facilitation, group psychoeducational, group counseling, and group psychotherapy. Over the ten years in which these standards have been in force, commentary and criticism has been elicited through discussion groups at various regional and national conferences and through published analyses in the Association's journal, the Journal for Specialists in Group Work

    In this Year-2000 revision of the ASGW Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers, the foundation established by the 1990 training standards has been preserved and refined by application of feedback received through public discussion and scholarly debate.

    The Year-2000 revision maintains and strengthens the distinction between core and specialization training with requirements for core training and aspirational guidelines for specialization training. Further, the definitions of group work specializations have been expanded and clarified. Evenness of application of training standards across the specialization has been assured by creating a single set of guidelines for all four specializations with specialization specific detail being supplied where necessary. Consistent with both the pattern for training standards established by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program accreditation standards and past editions of the ASGW training standard, the Year-2000 revision address both content and clinical instruction. Content instruction is described in terms of both course work requirements and knowledged object while clinical instruction is articulated in experiential requirements and skill objectives. This revision of the training standards was informed by and profits from the seminal ASGW Best Practice Guidelines (1998) and the ASGW Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers (1999).

    Although each of these documents have their own form of organization, all address the group work elements of planning, performing, and processing and the ethical and diversity competent treatment of participants in group activities.

    Purpose

    The purpose of the Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers is to provide guidance to counselor training programs in the construction of their curricula for graduate programs in counseling (e.g., master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees and other forms of advanced graduate study). Specifically, core standards express the Association's view on the minimum training in group work all programs in counseling should provide for all graduates of their entry level, master's degree programs in counseling, and specialization standards provide a framework for documenting the training philosophy, objectives, curriculum, and outcomes for each declared specialization program.

    Core Training in Group Work. All counselors should possess a set of core competencies in general group work. The Association for Specialists in Group Work advocates for the incorporation of core group work competencies as part of required entry-level training in all counselor preparation programs. The Association's standards for core training are consistent with and provide further elaboration of the standards for accreditation of entry-level counseling programs identified by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 1994). Mastery of the core competencies detailed in the ASGW training standards will prepare the counselor to understand group process phenomena and to function more effectively in groups in which the counselor is a member. Mastery of basic knowledge and skill in group work provides a foundation which specialty training can extend but does not qualify one to independently practice any group work specialty.

    Specialist Training in Group Work. The independent practice of group work requires training beyond core competencies. ASGW advocates that independent practitioners of group work must possess advanced competencies relevant to the particular kind of group work practice in which the group work student wants to specialize (e.g., facilitation of task groups, group psychoeducational, group counseling, or group psychotherapy). To encourage program creativity in development of specialization training, the specialization guidelines do not prescribe minimum trainee competencies. Rather, the guidelines establish a framework within which programs can develop unique training experiences utilizing scientific foundations and best practices to achieve their training objectives. In providing these guidelines for specialized training, ASGW makes no presumption that a graduate program in counseling must provide training in a group work specialization nor that adequate training in a specialization can be accomplished solely within a well-rounded master's degree program in counseling. To provide adequate specialization training, completion of post-master's options such as certificates of post-master's study or doctoral degrees may be required. Further, there is no presumption that an individual who may have received adequate training in a given declared specialization will be prepared to function effectively with all group situations in which the graduate may want to or be required to work. It is recognized that the characteristics of specific client populations and employment settings vary widely. Additional training beyond that which was acquired in a specific graduate program may be necessary for optimal, diversity-competent, group work practice with a given population in a given setting.

    Definitions

    Group Work: is a broad professional practice involving the application of knowledge and skill in group facilitation to assist an interdependent collection of people to reach their mutual goals which may be interpersonal, interpersonal, or work-related. The goals of the group may include the accomplishment of tasks related to work, education, personal development, personal and interpersonal problem solving, or remediation of mental and emotional disorders.

    Core Training in Group Work: includes knowledge, skills, and experiences deemed necessary for general competency for all master's degree-prepared counselors. ASGW advocates for all counselor preparation programs to provide core training in group work regardless of whether the program intends to prepare trainees for independent practice in a group work specialization. Core training in group work is considered a necessary prerequisite for advanced practice in group work.

    Specialization Training in Group Work: includes knowledge, skills, and experiences deemed necessary for counselors to engage in independent practice of group work. Four areas of advanced practice, referred to as specializations, are identified: Task Group Facilitation, Group Psychoeducational, Group Counseling, and Group Psychotherapy. This list is not presumed to be exhaustive and while there may be no sharp boundaries between the specializations, each has recognizable characteristics that have professional utility. The definitions for these group work specializations have been built upon the American Counseling Association's model definition of counseling (adopted by the ACA Governing Council in 1997), describing the methods typical of the working stage of the group being defined and the typical purposes to which those methods are put and the typical populations served by those methods. Specialized training presumes mastery of prerequisite core knowledge, skills, and experiences.

    Specialization in Task and Work Group Facilitation:
    • The application of principles of normal human development and functioning
    • through group based educational, developmental, and systemic strategies
    • applied in the context of here-and-now interaction
    • that promote efficient and effective accomplishment of group tasks
    • among people who are gathered to accomplish group task goals.
    Specialization in Psychoeducational Group Leadership:
    • The application of principles of normal human development and functioning
    • through group-based educational and developmental strategies
    • applied in the context of here-and-now interaction
    • that promote personal and interpersonal growth and development and the prevention of future difficulties
    • among people who may be at risk for the development of personal or interpersonal problems or who seek enhancement of personal qualities and abilities.
    Specialization in Group Counseling:
    • The application of principles of normal human development and functioning
    • through group-based cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies
    • applied in the context of here-and-now interaction
    • that address personal and interpersonal problems of living and promote personal and interpersonal growth and development
    • among people who may be experiencing transitory maladjustment, who are at risk for the development of personal or interpersonal problems, or who seek enhancement of personal qualities and abilities.
    Specialization in Group Psychotherapy:
    • The application of principles of normal and abnormal human development and functioning
    • through group-based cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies
    • applied in the context of negative emotional arousal
    • that address personal and interpersonal problems of living, remediate perceptual and cognitive distortions or repetitive patterns of dysfunctional behavior, and promote personal and interpersonal growth and development
    • among people who may be experiencing severe and/or chronic maladjustment.
    Core Training Standards
    Coursework and Experiential Requirements
    Coursework Requirements

    Core training shall include at least one graduate course in group work that addresses such as but not limited to scope of practice, types of group work, group development, group process and dynamics, group leadership, and standards of training and practice for group workers.

    Experiential Requirements

    Core training shall include a minimum of 10 clock hours (20 clock hours recommended) of observation of and participation in a group experience as a group member and/or as a group leader.

    Knowledge and Skill Objectives
    Nature and Scope of Practice
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • the nature of group work and the various specializations within group work
      • theories of group work including commonalties and distinguishing characteristics among the various specializations within group work
      • research literature pertinent to group work and its specializations
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • preparing a professional disclosure statement for practice in a chosen area of specialization
      • applying theoretical concepts and scientific findings to the design of a group and the interpretation of personal experiences in a group
    Assessment of Group Members and the Social Systems in Which They Live and Work
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • principles of assessment of group functioning in group work
      • use of personal contextual factors (e.g., family-of-origin, neighborhood-of-residence, organizational membership, cultural membership) in interpreting behavior of members in a group
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • observing and identifying group process
      • observing the personal characteristics of individual members in a group
      • developing hypotheses about the behavior of group members
      • employing contextual factors (e.g., family of origin, neighborhood of residence, organizational membership, cultural membership) in interpretation of individual and group data
    Planning Group Interventions
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • environmental contexts, which affect planning for group interventions
      • the impact of group member diversity (e.g., gender, culture, learning style, group climate preference) on group member behavior and group process and dynamics in group work
      • principles of planning for group work
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • collaborative consultation with targeted populations to enhance ecological validity of planned group interventions
      • planning for a group work activity including such aspects as developing overarching purpose, establishing goals and objectives, detailing methods to be used in achieving goals and objectives, determining methods for outcome assessment, and verifying ecological validity of plan
    Implementation of Group Interventions
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • principles of group formation including recruiting, screening, and selecting group members
      • principles for effective performance of group leadership functions
      • therapeutic factors within group work and when group work approaches are indicated and contraindicated
      • principles of group dynamics including group process components, developmental stage theories, group member roles, group member behaviors
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • encouraging participation of group members
      • attending to, describing, acknowledging, confronting, understanding, and responding empathetically to group member behavior
      • attending to, acknowledging, clarifying, summarizing, confronting, and responding empathetically to group member statements
      • attending to, acknowledging, clarifying, summarizing, confronting, and responding empathetically to group themes
      • eliciting information from and imparting information to group members
      • providing appropriate self-disclosure
      • maintaining group focus; keeping a group on task
      • giving and receiving feedback in a group setting
    Leadership and Co-Leadership
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • group leadership styles and approaches
      • group work methods including group worker orientations and specialized group leadership behaviors
      • principles of collaborative group processing
    • Skill Objectives. To the extent opportunities for leadership or co-leadership are provided, demonstrate skill in:
      • engaging in reflective evaluation of one's personal leadership style and approach
      • working cooperatively with a co-leader and/or group members
      • engaging in collaborative group processing
    Evaluation
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • methods for evaluating group process in group work
      • methods for evaluating outcomes in group work
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • contributing to evaluation activities during group participation
      • engaging in self-evaluation of personally selected performance goals
    Ethical Practice, Best Practice, Diversity-Competent Practice
    • Knowledge Objectives. Identify and describe:
      • ethical considerations unique to group work
      • best practices in group work
      • diversity competent group work
    • Skill Objectives. Demonstrate skill in:
      • evidencing ethical practice in planning, observing, and participating in group activities
      • evidencing best practice in planning, observing, and participating in group activities
      • evidencing diversity-competent practice in planning, observing, and participating in group activities
    Specialization Guidelines
    Overarching Program Characteristics
    • The program has a clearly specified philosophy of training for the preparation of specialists for independent practice of group work in one of the forms of group work recognized by the Association (i.e., task and work group facilitation, group psychoeducational, group counseling, or group psychotherapy).
      • The program states an explicit intent to train group workers in one or more of the group work specializations.

      The program states an explicit philosophy of training, based on the science of group work, by which it intends to prepare students for independent practice in the declared specialization(s).

    • For each declared specialization, the program specifies education and training objectives in terms of the competencies expected of students completing the specialization training. These competencies are consistent with
      • the program's philosophy and training model,
      • the substantive area(s) relevant for best practice of the declared specialization area, and standards for competent, ethical, and diversity sensitive practice of group work
    • For each declared specialization, the program specifies a sequential, cumulative curriculum, expanding in breadth and depth, and designed to prepare students for independent practice of the specialization and relevant credentialing.
    • For each declared specialization, the program documents achievement of training objectives in terms of student competencies.
    Recommended Coursework and Experience
    • Coursework Specialization training may include coursework that provides the student with a broad foundation in the group work domain in which the student seeks specialized training:
      • Task/Work Group Facilitation: courseworkincludes but is not limited to organizational development, management, and consultation, theory and practice of task/work group facilitation
      • Group Psychoeducational: coursework includes but is not limited to organizational development, school and community counseling/psychology, health promotion, marketing, program development and evaluation, organizational consultation, theory and practice of group psychoeducation
      • Group Counseling: coursework includes but is not limited to normal human development, health promotion, theory and practice of group counseling
      • Group Psychotherapy: coursework includes but is not limited to normal and abnormal human development, assessment and diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders, treatment of psychopathology, theory and practice of group psychotherapy
    • Experience. Specialization training includes
      • Task/Work Group Facilitation: a minimum of 30 clock hours (45 clock hours recommended) supervised practice facilitating or conducting an intervention with a task or work group appropriate to the age and clientele of the group leader's specialty area (e.g., school counseling, student development counseling, community counseling, mental health counseling)
      • Group Psychoeducational: a minimum of 30 clock hours (45 clock hours recommended) supervised practice conducting a psychoeducational group appropriate to the age and clientele of the group leader's specialty area (e.g., school counseling, student development counseling, community counseling, mental health counseling)
      • Group Counseling: a minimum of 45 clock hours (60 clock hours recommended) supervised practice conducting a counseling group appropriate to the age and clientele of the group leader's specialty area (e.g., school counseling, student development counseling, community counseling, mental health counseling)
      • Group Psychotherapy: a minimum of 45 clock hours (60 clock hours recommended) supervised practice conducting a psychotherapy group appropriate to the age and clientele of the group leader's specialty area (e.g., mental health counseling)
    Knowledge and Skill Elements

    In achieving its objectives, the program has and implements a clear and coherent curriculum plan that provides the means whereby all students can acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following areas:

    Nature and Scope of Practice

    The program states a clear expectation that its students will limit their independent practice of group work to those specialization areas for which they have been appropriately trained and supervised.

    Assessment of Group Members and the Social Systems in Which They Live and Work

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate competence in the use of assessment instruments and methodologies for assessing individual group member characteristics and group development, group dynamics, and process phenomena relevant for the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to:

    • methods of screening and assessment of populations, groups, and individual members who are or may be targeted for intervention
    • methods for observation of group member behavior during group interventions
    • methods of assessment of group development, process, and outcomes
    Planning Group Interventions

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate competence in planning group interventions consistent with the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to:

    • establishing the overarching purpose for the intervention
    • identifying goals and objectives for the intervention
    • detailing methods to be employed in achieving goals and objectives during the intervention
    • selecting methods for examining group process during group meetings, between group sessions, and at the completion of the group intervention
    • preparing methods for helping members derive meaning from their within-group experiences and transfer within-group learning to real-world circumstances
    • determining methods for measuring outcomes during and following the intervention
    • verifying ecological validity of plans for the intervention
    Implementation of Group Interventions

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate competence in implementing group interventions consistent with the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to:

    • principles of group formation including recruiting, screening, selection, and orientation of group members
    • standard methods and procedures for group facilitation
    • selection and use of referral sources appropriate to the declared specialization
    • identifying and responding constructively to extra-group factors which may influence the success of interventions
    • applying the major strategies, techniques, and procedures
    • adjusting group pacing relative to the stage of group development
    • identifying and responding constructively to critical incidents
    • identifying and responding constructively to disruptive members
    • helping group members attribute meaning to and integrate and apply learning
    • responding constructively to psychological emergencies
    • involving group members in within-group session processing and ongoing planning
    Leadership and Co-Leadership

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate competence in pursuing personal competence as a leader and in selecting and managing the interpersonal relationship with a co-leader for group interventions consistent with the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to:

    • characteristics and skills of effective leaders
    • relationship skills required of effective co-leaders
    • processing skills required of effective co-leaders
    Evaluation

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate competence in evaluating group interventions consistent with the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to methods for evaluating participant outcomes and participant satisfaction.

    Ethical Practice, Best Practice, Diversity-Competent Practice

    All graduates of specialization training will understand and demonstrate consistent effort to comply with principles of ethical, best practice, and diversity-competent practice of group work consistent with the program's declared specialization area(s). Studies should include but are not limited to:

    • ethical considerations unique to the program's declared specialization area
    • best practices for group work within the program's declared specialization area
    • diversity issues unique to the program's declared specialization area
    Implementation Guidelines

    Implementation of the Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers requires a commitment by a program's faculty and a dedication of program resources to achieve excellence in preparing all counselors at core competency level and in preparing counselors for independent practice of group work. To facilitate implementation of the training standards, the Association offers the following guidelines.

    Core Training in Group Work

    Core training in group work can be provided through a single, basic course in group theory and process. This course should include the elements of content instruction detailed below and may also include the required clinical instruction component.

    Content Instruction

    Consistent with accreditation standards (CACREP, 1994; Standard II.J.4), study in the area of group work should provide an understanding of the types of group work (e.g., facilitation of task groups, psychoeducational groups, counseling groups, psychotherapy groups); group development, group dynamics, and group leadership styles; and group leadership methods and skills. More explicitly, studies should include, but not be limited to, the following:

    • principles of group dynamics including group process components, developmental stage theories, and group member's roles and behaviors;
    • group leadership styles and approaches including characteristics of various types of group leaders and leadership styles;
    • theories of group counseling including commonalties, distinguishing characteristics, and pertinent research and literature;
    • group work methods including group leader orientations and behaviors, ethical standards, appropriate selection criteria and methods, and methods of evaluating effectiveness;
    • approaches used for other types of group work, including task groups, prevention groups, support groups, and therapy groups; and,
    • skills in observing member behavior and group process, empathic responding, confronting, self-disclosing, focusing, protecting, recruiting and selecting members, opening and closing sessions, managing, explicit and implicit teaching, modeling, giving and receiving feedback.
    Clinical Instruction

    Core group work training requires a minimum of 10 clock hours of supervised practice (20 clock hours of supervised practice is recommended). Consistent with CACREP standards for accreditation, the supervised experience provides the student with direct experiences as a participant in a small group, and may be met either in the basic course in group theory and practice or in a specially conducted small group designed for the purpose of meeting this standard (CACREP, 1994; Standard II.D). In arranging for and conducting this group experience, care must be taken by program faculty to assure that the ACA ethical standard for dual relationships and ASGW standards for best practice are observed.

    Specialist Training in Group Work

    Though ASGW advocates that all counselor training programs provide all counseling students with core group work training, specialization training is elective. If a counselor training program chooses to offer specialization training (e.g., task group facilitation, group psychoeducational, group counseling, group psychotherapy), ASGW urges institutions to develop their curricula consistent with the ASGW standards for that specialization.

    Content Instruction

    Each area of specialization has its literature. In addition to basic course work in group theory and process, each specialization requires additional coursework providing specialized knowledge necessary for professional application of the specialization:

    • Task Group Facilitation: course work in such areas as organization development, consultation, management, or sociology so students gain a basic understanding of organizations and how task groups function within them.
    • Group Psychoeducation: course work in community psychology, consultation, health promotion, marketing, and curriculum design to prepare students to conduct structured consciousness-raising and skill training groups in such areas as stress management, wellness, anger control and assertiveness training, and problem solving.
    • Group Counseling: course work in normal human development, family development and family counseling, assessment and problem identification of problems in living, individual counseling, and group counseling, including training experiences in personal growth or counseling group.
    • Group Psychotherapy: coursework in abnormal human development, family pathology and family therapy, assessment and diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders, individual therapy, and group therapy, including training experiences in a therapy group.
    Clinical Instruction

    For Task Group Facilitation and Group Psychoeducational, group specialization training recommends a minimum of 30 clock hours of supervised practice (45 clock hours of supervised practice is strongly suggested). Because of the additional difficulties presented by Group Counseling and Group Psychotherapy, a minimum of 45 clock hours of supervised practice is recommended (60 clock hours of supervised practice is strongly suggested). Consistent with CACREP standards for accreditation, supervised experience should provide an opportunity for the student to perform under supervision a variety of activities that a professional counselor would perform in conducting group work consistent with a given specialization (i.e., assessment of group members and the social systems in which they live and work, planning group interventions, implementing group interventions, leadership and co-leadership, and within-group, between-group, and end-of-group processing and evaluation).

    In addition to courses offering content and experience related to a given specialization, supervised clinical experience should be obtained in practical and internship experience.

    Following the model provided by CACREP for master's practical, we recommend that one quarter of all required supervised clinical experience be devoted to group work:

    • Master's Practicum: At least 10 clock hours of the required 40 clock hours of direct service should be spent in supervised leadership or co-leadership experience in group work, typically in Task Group Facilitation, Group Psychoeducational, or Group Counseling (at the master's practicum level, experience in Group Psychotherapy would be unusual) (CACREP, 1994; Standard III.H.1).
    • Master's Internship: At least 60 clock hours of the required 240 clock hours of direct services should be spent in supervised leadership or co-leadership in group work consistent with the program's specialization offering(s) (i.e., in Task Group Facilitation, Group Psychoeducational, Group Counseling, or Group Psychotherapy).
    • Doctoral Internship: At least 150 clock hours of the required 600 clock hours of direct service should be spent in supervised leadership or co-leadership in group work consistent with the program's specialization offering(s) (i.e., in Task Group Facilitation, Group Psychoeducational, Group Counseling, or Group Psychotherapy).
    References
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1998). ASGW Best Practice Guidelines. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 23, 237–244http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01933929808411397
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1999). ASGW Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 24, 7–14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01933929908411415
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1983). ASGW Professional Standards for Group Counseling. Alexandria, VA: Author.
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1990). Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers. Alexandria, VA: Author.
    Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) (1994). CACREP Accreditation Standards and Procedures Manual. Alexandria, VA: Author.
    SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from Association with Specialists in Group Work

    SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from Association with Specialists in Group Work.

    Appendix B: Association for Specialists in Group Work: Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers

    Approved by the Executive Board, August 1, 1998
    Prepared by LynnHaley-Banez and SherlonPACK-BROWN, and BogusiaMolina
    Consultants: Michael DAndreaPatriciaArrendondoNilouferMerchant, and SandraWathen
    Preamble

    The Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) is committed to understanding how issues of diversity affect all aspects of group work. This includes but is not limited to: training diversity-competent group workers; conducting research that will add to the literature on group work with diverse populations; understanding how diversity affects group process and dynamics; and assisting group facilitators in various settings to increase their awareness, knowledge, and skills as they relate to facilitating groups with diverse memberships.

    As an organization, ASGW has endorsed this document with the recognition that issues of diversity affect group process and dynamics, group facilitation, training, and research. As an organization, we recognize that racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and so forth, affect everyone. As individual members of this organization, it is our personal responsibility to address these issues through awareness, knowledge, and skills. As members of ASGW, we need to increase our awareness of our own biases, values, and beliefs and how they impact the groups we run. We need to increase our awareness of our group members' biases, values, and beliefs and how they also impact and influence group process and dynamics. Finally, we need to increase our knowledge in facilitating, with confidence, competence, and integrity, groups that are diverse on many dimensions.

    Definitions

    For the purposes of this document, it is important that the language used is understood. Terms such as “dominant,” “nondominant,” and “target” persons and/or populations are used to define a person or groups of persons who historically, in the United States, do not have equal access to power, money, certain privileges (such as access to mental health services because of financial constraints, or the legal right to marry, in the case of a gay or lesbian couple), and/or the ability to influence or initiate social policy because of unequal representation in government and politics. These terms are not used to denote a lack of numbers in terms of representation in the overall U.S. population. Nor are these terms used to continue to perpetuate the very biases and forms of oppression, both overt and covert, that this document attempts to address.

    For the purposes of this document, the term “disabilities” refers to differences in physical, mental, emotional, and learning abilities and styles among people. It is not meant as a term to define a person, such as a learning disabled person, but rather in the context of a person with a learning disability.

    Given the history and current cultural, social, and political context in which this document is written, the authors of this document are limited to the language of this era. With this in mind, we have attempted to construct a “living document” that can and will change as the sociopolitical and cultural context changes.

    The Principles
    Awareness of Self
    Attitudes and Beliefs
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate movement from being unaware to being increasingly aware and sensitive to their own race, ethnic and cultural heritage, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), sexual orientation, abilities, and religion and spiritual beliefs, and to valuing and respecting differences.
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate increased awareness of how their own race, ethnicity, culture, gender, SES, sexual orientation, abilities, and religion and spiritual beliefs are impacted by their own experiences and histories, which in turn influence group process and dynamics.
    • Diversity-competent group workers can recognize the limits of their competencies and expertise with regard to working with group members who are different from them in terms of race, ethnicity, culture (including language), SES, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, religion, and spirituality and their beliefs, values, and biases. (For further clarification on limitations, expertise, and type of group work, refer to the training standards and best practice guidelines, Association for Specialists in Group Work, 1998; and the ethical guidelines, American Counseling Association, 1995.)
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate comfort, tolerance, and sensitivity with differences that exist between themselves and group members in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, SES, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, religion, and spirituality and their beliefs, values, and biases.
    Knowledge
    • Diversity-competent group workers can identify specific knowledge about their own race, ethnicity, SES, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, religion, and spirituality, and how they personally and professionally affect their definitions of “normality” and the group process.
    • Diversity-skilled group workers demonstrate knowledge and understanding regarding how oppression in any form—such as, racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, discrimination, and stereotyping—affects them personally and professionally.
    • Diversity-skilled group workers demonstrate knowledge about their social impact on others. They are knowledgeable about communication style differences, how their style may inhibit or foster the group process with members who are different from themselves along the different dimensions of diversity, and how to anticipate the impact they may have on others.
    Skills
    • Diversity-competent group workers seek out educational, consultative, and training experiences to improve their understanding and effectiveness in working with group members who self-identify as Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities, particularly with regard to race and ethnicity. Within this context, group workers are able to recognize the limits of their competencies and: (a) seek consultation, (b) seek further training or education, (c) refer members to more qualified group workers, or (d) engage in a combination of these.
    • Group workers who exhibit diversity competence are constantly seeking to understand themselves within their multiple identities (apparent and unapparent differences), for example, gay, Latina, Christian, working-class and female, and are constantly and actively striving to unlearn the various behaviors and processes they covertly and overtly communicate that perpetuate oppression, particularly racism.
    Group Worker's Awareness of Group Member's Worldview
    Attitudes and Beliefs
    • Diversity-skilled group workers exhibit awareness of any possible negative emotional reactions toward Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities that they may hold. They are willing to contrast in a nonjudgmental manner their own beliefs and attitudes with those of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities who are group members.
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate awareness of their stereotypes and preconceived notions that they may hold toward Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities.
    Knowledge
    • Diversity-skilled group workers possess specific knowledge and information about Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people and group members who have mental/emotional, physical, and/or learning disabilities with whom they are working. They are aware of the life experiences, cultural heritage, and sociopolitical background of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and group members with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities. This particular knowledge-based competency is strongly linked to the various racial/minority and sexual identity development models available in the literature (Atkinson, Morten, & Sue, 1993; Cass, 1979; Cross, 1995; D'Augelli & Patterson, 1995; Helms, 1992).
    • Diversity-competent group workers exhibit an understanding of how race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual identity, different abilities, SES, and other immutable personal characteristics may affect personality formation, vocational choices, manifestation of psychological disorders, physical “dis-ease” or somatic symptoms, help-seeking behavior(s), and the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the various types of and theoretical approaches to group work.
    • Group workers who demonstrate competency in diversity in groups understand and have the knowledge about sociopolitical influences that impinge upon the lives of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities. Immigration issues, poverty, racism, oppression, stereotyping, and/or powerlessness adversely impacts many of these individuals and therefore impacts group process or dynamics.
    Skills
    • Diversity-skilled group workers familiarize themselves with relevant research and the latest findings regarding mental health issues of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities. They actively seek out educational experiences that foster their knowledge and understanding of skills for facilitating groups across differences.
    • Diversity-competent group workers become actively involved with Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities outside of their group work/counseling setting (community events, social and political functions, celebrations, friendships, neighborhood groups, etc.) so that their perspective of minorities is more than academic or experienced through a third party.
    Diversity-Appropriate Intervention Strategies
    Attitudes and Beliefs
    • Diversity-competent group workers respect clients' religious and/or spiritual beliefs and values, because they affect worldview, psychosocial functioning, and expressions of distress.
    • Diversity-competent group workers respect indigenous helping practices and respect Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities and can identify and utilize community intrinsic help-giving networks.
    • Diversity-competent group workers value bilingualism and sign language and do not view another language as an impediment to group work.
    Knowledge
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate a clear and explicit knowledge and understanding of generic characteristics of group work and theory and how they may clash with the beliefs, values, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities.
    • Diversity-competent group workers exhibit an awareness of institutional barriers that prevent Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered members and members with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities from actively participating in or using various types of groups, that is, task groups, psychoeducational groups, counseling groups, and psychotherapy groups or the settings in which the services are offered.
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate knowledge of the potential bias in assessment instruments and use procedures and interpret findings, or actively participate in various types of evaluations of group outcome or success, keeping in mind the linguistic, cultural, and other self-identified characteristics of the group member.
    • Diversity-competent group workers exhibit knowledge of the family structures, hierarchies, values, and beliefs of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities. They are knowledgeable about the community characteristics and the resources in the community as well as about the family.
    • Diversity-competent group workers demonstrate an awareness of relevant discriminatory practices at the social and community level that may be affecting the psychological welfare of persons and access to services of the population being served.
    Skills
    • Diversity-competent group workers are able to engage in a variety of verbal and nonverbal group-facilitating functions, dependent upon the type of group (task, counseling, psychoeducational, psychotherapy), and the multiple, self-identified status of various group members (such as Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities). They demonstrate the ability to send and receive both verbal and nonverbal messages accurately, appropriately, and across/between the differences represented in the group. They are not tied down to one method or approach to group facilitation and recognize that helping styles and approaches may be culture-bound. When they sense that their group facilitation style is limited and potentially inappropriate, they can anticipate and ameliorate its negative impact by drawing upon other culturally relevant skill sets.
    • Diversity-competent group workers have the ability to exercise institutional intervention skills on behalf of their group members. They can help a member determine whether a “problem” with the institution stems from the oppression of Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons and persons with physical, mental/emotional, and/or learning disabilities, such as in the case of developing or having a “healthy” paranoia, so that group members do not inappropriately personalize problems.
    • Diversity-competent group workers do not exhibit a reluctance to seek consultation with traditional healers and religious and spiritual healers and practitioners in the treatment of members who are self-identified Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos/Latinas, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons and/or group members with mental/emotional, physical, and/or learning disabilities when appropriate.
    • Diversity-competent group workers take responsibility for interacting in the language requested by the group member(s) and, if not feasible, make an appropriate referral. A serious problem arises when the linguistic skills of a group worker and a group member or members, including sign language, do not match. The same problem occurs when the linguistic skills of one member or several members do not match. This being the case, the group worker should (a) seek a translator with cultural knowledge and appropriate professional background, and (b) refer to a knowledgeable, competent bilingual group worker or a group worker competent or certified in sign language. In some cases, it may be necessary to have a group for group members of similar languages or to refer the group member for individual counseling.
    • Diversity-competent group workers are trained and have expertise in the use of traditional assessment and testing instruments related to group work, such as in screening potential members, and they also are aware of the cultural bias/limitations of these tools and processes. This allows them to use the tools for the welfare of diverse group members following culturally appropriate procedures.
    • Diversity-competent group workers attend to as well as work to eliminate biases, prejudices, oppression, and discriminatory practices. They are cognizant of how sociopolitical contexts may affect evaluation and provision of group work and should develop sensitivity to issues of oppression, racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and so forth.
    • Diversity-competent group workers take responsibility in educating their group members to the processes of group work, such as goals, expectations, legal rights, sound ethical practice, and the group worker's theoretical orientation with regard to facilitating groups with diverse membership.
    Conclusion

    This document is the “starting point” for group workers as we become increasingly aware, knowledgeable, and skillful in facilitating groups whose memberships represent the diversity of our society. It is not intended to be a “how to” document. It is written as a call to action and/or a guideline and represents ASGW's commitment to moving forward with an agenda for addressing and understanding the needs of the populations we serve. As a “living document,” the Association for Specialists in Group Work acknowledges the changing world in which we live and work and therefore recognizes that this is the first step in working with diverse group members with competence, compassion, respect, and integrity. As our awareness, knowledge, and skills develop, so too will this document evolve. As our knowledge as a profession grows in this area and as the sociopolitical context in which this document was written changes, new editions of these Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers will arise. The operationalization of this document (article in process) will begin to define appropriate group leadership skills and interventions as well as make recommendations for research in understanding how diversity in group membership affects group process and dynamics.

    References
    American Counseling Association. (1995). Code of ethics and standards. Alexandria, VA: Author.
    Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. (1996). Multicultural competencies. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1991). Professional standards for training of group workers. Together, 20, 9–14.
    Association for Specialists in Group Work. (1998). Best practice guidelines. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 23, 237–244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01933929808411397
    Atkinson, D. R., Morten, G., & Sue, D. W. (Eds.). (1993). Counseling American minorities (4th ed.). Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.
    Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4, 219-236. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J082v04n03_01
    Cross, W. E. (1995). The psychology of Nigrescence: Revising the cross model. In J. G.Ponterotto, J. M.Casas, L. A.Suzuki, & C. M.Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp. 93–122). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    D'Augelli, A. R., & Patterson, C. J. (Eds.). (1995). Lesbian, gay and bisexual identities over the lifespan. New York: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195082319.001.0001
    Helms, J. E. (1992). A race is a nice thing to have. Topeka, KS: Context Communications.

    Appendix C: Association for Specialists in Group Work: Best Practice Guidelines

    Approved by the Executive Board, March 29, 1998
    Prepared by Lynn S.Rapin and LindaKeel, ASGW Ethics Committee Co-Charis
    Preamble

    The Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) is a division of the American Counseling Association whose members are interested in and specialize in group work. We value the creation of community; service to our members, clients, and the profession; and value leadership as a process to facilitate the growth and development of individuals and groups.

    The Association for Specialists in Group Work recognizes the commitment of its members to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (as revised in 1995) of its parent organization, the American Counseling Association, and nothing in this document shall be construed to supplant that code. These Best Practice Guidelines are intended to clarify the application of the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to the field of group work by defining Group Workers' responsibility and scope of practice involving those activities, strategies and interventions that are consistent and current with effective and appropriate professional ethical and community standards. ASGW views ethical process as being integral to group work and views Group Workers as ethical agents. Group Workers, by their very nature in being responsible and responsive to their group members, necessarily embrace a certain potential for ethical vulnerability. It is incumbent upon Group Workers to give considerable attention to the intent and context of their actions because the attempts of Group Workers to influence human behavior through group work always have ethical implications. These Best Practice Guidelines address Group Workers' responsibilities in planning, performing and processing groups.

    Section A: Best Practice in Planning
    Professional Context and Regulatory Requirements

    Group Workers actively know, understand and apply the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Best Practice, the ASGW Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers, these ASGW Best Practice Guidelines, the ASGW diversity competencies, the ACA Multicultural Guidelines, relevant state laws, accreditation requirements, relevant National Board for Certified Counselors Codes and Standards, their organization's standards, and insurance requirements impacting the practice of group work.

    Scope of Practice and Conceptual Framework

    Group Workers define the scope of practice related to the core and specialization competencies defined in the ASGW Training Standards. Group Workers are aware of personal strengths and weaknesses in leading groups. Group Workers develop and are able to articulate a general conceptual framework to guide practice and a rationale for use of techniques that are to be used. Group Workers limit their practice to those areas for which they meet the training criteria established by the ASGW Training Standards.

    Assessment
    • Assessment of self. Group Workers actively assess their knowledge and skills related to the specific group(s) offered. Group Workers assess their values, beliefs and theoretical orientation and how these impact upon the group, particularly when working with a diverse and multicultural population.
    • Ecological assessment. Group Workers assess community needs, agency or organization resources, sponsoring organization mission, staff competency, attitudes regarding group work, professional training levels of potential group leaders regarding group work; client attitudes regarding group work, and multicultural and diversity considerations. Group Workers use this information as the basis for making decisions related to their group practice, or to the implementation of groups for which they have supervisory, evaluation, or oversight responsibilities.
    Program Development and Evaluation
    • Group Workers identify the type(s) of group(s) to be offered and how they relate to community needs.
    • Group Workers concisely state in writing the purpose and goals of the group. Group Workers also identify the role of the group members in influencing or determining the group goals.
    • Group Workers set fees consistent with the organization's fee schedule, taking into consideration the financial status and locality of prospective group members.
    • Group Workers choose techniques and a leadership style appropriate to the type(s) of group(s) being offered.
    • Group Workers have an evaluation plan consistent with regulatory, organization and insurance requirements, where appropriate.
    • Group Workers take into consideration current professional guidelines when using technology, including but not limited to Internet communication.
    Resources

    Group Workers coordinate resources related to the kind of group(s) and group activities to be provided, such as: adequate funding; the appropriateness and availability of a trained coleader; space and privacy requirements for the type(s) of group(s) being offered; marketing and recruiting; and appropriate collaboration with other community agencies and organizations.

    Professional Disclosure Statement

    Group Workers have a professional disclosure statement which includes information on confidentiality and exceptions to confidentiality, theoretical orientation, information on the nature, purpose(s) and goals of the group, the group services that can be provided, the role and responsibility of group members and leaders, Group Workers' qualifications to conduct the specific group(s), specific licenses, certifications and professional affiliations, and address of licensing/credentialing body.

    Group and Member Preparation
    • Group Workers screen prospective group members if appropriate to the type of group being offered. When selection of group members is appropriate, Group Workers identify group members whose needs and goals are compatible with the goals of the group.
    • Group Workers facilitate informed consent. Group Workers provide in oral and written form to prospective members (when appropriate to group type): the professional disclosure statement; group purpose and goals; group participation expectations including voluntary and involuntary membership; role expectations of members and leader(s); policies related to entering and exiting the group; policies governing substance use; policies and procedures governing mandated groups (where relevant); documentation requirements; disclosure of information to others; implications of out-of-group contact or involvement among members; procedures for consultation between group leader(s) and group member(s); fees and time parameters; and potential impacts of group participation.
    • Group Workers obtain the appropriate consent forms for work with minors and other dependent group members.
    • Group Workers define confidentiality and its limits (for example, legal and ethical exceptions and expectations; waivers implicit with treatment plans, documentation and insurance usage). Group Workers have the responsibility to inform all group participants of the need for confidentiality, potential consequences of breaching confidentiality and that legal privilege does not apply to group discussions (unless provided by state statute).
    Professional Development

    Group Workers recognize that professional growth is a continuous, ongoing, developmental process throughout their career.

    • Group Workers remain current and increase knowledge and skill competencies through activities such as continuing education, professional supervision, and participation in personal and professional development activities.
    • Group Workers seek consultation and/or supervision regarding ethical concerns that interfere with effective functioning as a group leader. Supervisors have the responsibility to keep abreast of consultation, group theory, process, and adhere to related ethical guidelines.
    • Group Workers seek appropriate professional assistance for their own personal problems or conflicts that are likely to impair their professional judgment or work performance.
    • Group Workers seek consultation and supervision to ensure appropriate practice whenever working with a group for which all knowledge and skill competencies have not been achieved.
    • Group Workers keep abreast of group research and development.
    Trends and Technological Changes

    Group Workers are aware of and responsive to technological changes as they affect society and the profession. These include but are not limited to changes in mental health delivery systems; legislative and insurance industry reforms; shifting population demographics and client needs; and technological advances in Internet and other communication and delivery systems. Group Workers adhere to ethical guidelines related to the use of developing technologies.

    Section B: Best Practice in Performing
    Self-Knowledge

    Group Workers are aware of and monitor their strengths and weaknesses and the effects these have on group members.

    Group Competencies

    Group Workers have a basic knowledge of groups and the principles of group dynamics, and are able to perform the core group competencies, as described in the ASGW Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers. Additionally, Group Workers have adequate understanding and skill in any group specialty area chosen for practice (psychotherapy, counseling, task, psychoeducational, as described in the ASGW Training Standards).

    Group Plan Adaptation
    • Group Workers apply and modify knowledge, skills and techniques appropriate to group type and stage, and to the unique needs of various cultural and ethnic groups.
    • Group Workers monitor the group's progress toward the group goals and plan.
    • Group Workers clearly define and maintain ethical, professional, and social relationship boundaries with group members as appropriate to their role in the organization and the type of group being offered.
    Therapeutic Conditions and Dynamics

    Group Workers understand and are able to implement appropriate models of group development, process observation and therapeutic conditions.

    Meaning

    Group Workers assist members in generating meaning from the group experience.

    Collaboration

    Group Workers assist members in developing individual goals and respect group members as co-equal partners in the group experience.

    Evaluation

    Group Workers include evaluation (both formal and informal) between sessions and at the conclusion of the group.

    Diversity

    Group Workers practice with broad sensitivity to client differences including but not limited to ethnic, gender, religious, sexual, psychological maturity, economic class, family history, physical characteristics or limitations, and geographic location. Group Workers continuously seek information regarding the cultural issues of the diverse population with whom they are working both by interaction with participants and from using outside resources.

    Ethical Surveillance

    Group Workers employ an appropriate ethical decision-making model in responding to ethical challenges and issues and in determining courses of action and behavior for self and group members. In addition, Group Workers employ applicable standards as promulgated by ACA, ASGW, or other appropriate professional organizations.

    Section C: Best Practice in Group Processing
    Processing Schedule

    Group Workers process the workings of the group with themselves, group members, supervisors or other colleagues, as appropriate. This may include assessing progress on group and member goals, leader behaviors and techniques, group dynamics and interventions; developing understanding and acceptance of meaning. Processing may occur both within sessions and before and after each session, at time of termination, and later follow up, as appropriate.

    Reflective Practice

    Group Workers attend to opportunities to synthesize theory and practice and to incorporate learning outcomes into ongoing groups. Group Workers attend to session dynamics of members and their interactions and also attend to the relationship between session dynamics and leader values, cognition and affect.

    Evaluation and Follow-Up
    • Group Workers evaluate process and outcomes. Results are used for ongoing program planning, improvement and revisions of current group and/or to contribute to professional research literature. Group Workers follow all applicable policies and standards in using group material for research and reports.
    • Group Workers conduct follow-up contact with group members, as appropriate, to assess outcomes or when requested by a group member(s).
    Consultation and Training with Other Organizations

    Group Workers provide consultation and training to organizations in and out of their setting, when appropriate. Group Workers seek out consultation as needed with competent professional persons knowledgeable about group work.

    Reprinted with permission from Association for Specialists in Group Work.

    Author Index


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