Students: Reflection Questions

Here you will find some open-ended questions to reflect on as you read the chapters in your Group Counseling text.

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Chapter 1

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List and discuss four of the basic elements of group facilitation and provide examples of how you might create them in group.
Review the elements listed in Chapter 1.
What is meant by the group providing a "dynamic pressure for growth"?
As the group develops, it will create a flow of its own, which can push every member to "catch up" with the group. Also, in group, as other members share, provide feedback, and make progress toward goals, all members benefit from seeing that change is possible.

Chapter 2

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List and define the five dimensions of the social-justice model discussed in the text.
Should discuss naivety, multicultural integration, liberatory critical consciousness, empowerment and social-justice advocacy.
Think about your own diversity development and discuss your growth up to this point and how you might continue to explore and evolve.
Personal reflection.
List some "isms" you are most aware of and how you might address these in a group setting.
Personal reflection, but some isms are mentioned in the book. Should be able to identify a few and tie them to group process.
The text states, "As a group facilitator, make sure your group is comfortable with outside-of-group advocacy. In the spirit of social justice, you do not want to force your ideas or values on the group. This would be oppression in action. What does this mean and how would you guard against it?
Group leaders must be aware of their own values and make sure that they are not imposing them on the group. Group leaders can consider how much advocacy is appropriate given the nature and goal of the group. Group leaders can also consider how willing the group members are to consider advocacy as a part of their group process.

Chapter 3

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What is the role of theory in group work?
Theory provides a guide for how people in groups develop, struggle, and change. Theory provides a consistent model for conceptualization of the group process and the individual and group goals.
Discuss your own theory and how it was developed.
Personal process.
Discuss what your theory will look like in group.
Personal process tied to some example of theory in group.
Define the three core conditions of person-centered theory and give examples of how you would facilitate them in group.
(1) Empathy: reflection of feeling; (2) Unconditional positive regard: valuing each member of the group as a unique individual; (3) Genuineness: using immediacy as a process observation.
In Gestalt group work, how can you use the group to create here-and-now awareness?
Examples may include using experiments to foster here-and-now experiencing, could also focus on what each member is doing or feeling in the moment.
In Adlerian groups, what is meant by reorientation?
Reorientation is the taking of insight and putting it into action to produce a change. This can happen in the group or outside the group.

Chapter 4

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List and define the three different leadership styles. 
(1) Authoritarian: directive, makes most if not all of the group decisions; (2) Democratic: egalitarian, shares in the decision-making; (3) Laissez-faire: passive, allows the group to make most if not all of the decisions.
List and define the "Action Conditions". 
(1) Genuineness: the ability to be one's real self in a relationship with another person; (2) Confrontation: the ability to tell the other just the way it is and to point out discrepancies between words and actions and perceived realities; (3) Immediacy: the ability to understand the feelings and experiences that are going on between oneself and another person.
List and define the "Facilitative Conditions". 
(1) Empathy: the ability to merge temporarily with another person and see the world through that person's eyes, to understand the experiences and feelings of the other person; (2) Respect: the ability to communicate caring for and belief in the potential of another person; (3) Concreteness: the ability to assist another person to be specific about the feelings and experiences that person is talking about.
Discuss the pros and cons of two training models discussed in the book.
Should discuss two of the models presented in the book.
What is your preferred leadership style and why?
Personal reflection.

Chapter 5

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Describe how you would discuss confidentiality with your group.
Personal reflection, but should include a mention of the fact that the counselor, not the group, is bound by confidentiality. This can open the discussion to the importance of confidentiality to the establishment of trust within the group and allows the group to brainstorm ways they can individually commit to keeping things within the group.
Discuss how you would handle a situation where a group member breaks confidentiality.
Answer should demonstrate that the group members are not ethically bound to keep information confidential, but it is important to the process. At a mimimum, the group leader should discuss the breach with the group, and the outcome could range from letting the group decide the consequence to the leader making the decision.
Explain why dual realtionships are unethical and how they would impact the group process.
Dual relationships are unethical because of the inherent power differential that exists between leader and member. The power differential increases the opportunity for exploitation and harm to the member. It can impact the group process by interfering with the member's growth and can cause confusion and resentment within the members who are not participating in the inappropriate relationship.
Choose one of the Taoist quotes from the book and apply it to group leadership.
Personal reflection.
Explore how gaining practice in group leadership effects the internal experience of the group leader.
According to the text, practice is the primary method for exploring the strengths and areas for growth as a developing group leader. It is a place to realize one's strengths and gain supervision in areas that need improvement.

Chapter 6

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Discuss the clinical rationale for co-leadership and two ways to maximize its impact.
The clinical rational for co-leadership is that the relationship between the leaders is an agent for change within the group. One can maximize the impact by working on the relationship through processing the group before and/or after group, supervision, etc.
List and discuss three disadvantages to co-leadership.
(1) Power struggles; (2) Incompatibility issues; (3) Cost.
Explain how conflict can be vital to the co-leadership relationship and how it can be helpful to the group.
Like the group developmental stages, experience with and resolution of conflict brings the relationship to a deeper level of trust. As co-leaders understand that they can disagree and the relationship can survive and even thrive, then a real working partnership can begin. This can benefit the group via a better co-leader team, but the group can also witness a healthy resolution of conflict which can aid them in their working through conflict as well.
Discuss how the reflective process is used by co-leaders to enhance the group work.
The reflective process is a detailed method for processing and working on the co-leader relationship. The answer can cite the graphic in the text.

Chapter 7

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Discuss why some people might struggle with creating a group. What aspect of group formation would be most difficult for you?
Groups are often more difficult to initiate than other forms of counseling. In many training programs, people were never taught how to market a group. Personal reflection.
Define the steps of group development and the importance of each.
(1) Genesis: Every group begins with an idea. (2) Research: Explore the literature and learn what information exists on your idea. Good research helps focus the group, establishes a need, and gives you clues to what has and has not worked in the past. (3) Organizing the specifics: This is where you make all the decisions about the organization and logistics of your group. Obviously, the details provide the necessary structure for your group. (4) Recruitment and marketing: Network and advertise your group. This helps bring in group members. (5) Pre-group interview: An individual session to select your group members. This is your chance to screen.
Explain why pregroup interviews are important to the group process.
Pre-group interviews provide an opportunity to screen members, orient members to the group process, go over group rules, and begin the healthy norming process.
If you were creating a psycho-educational group for adolescent boys on the topic of healthy relationships, what would you screen out of your group? What would you look for in a good group member?
Answers should demonstrate knowledge of screening procedures and be applied to the specific example.
Define four curative factors and give examples of how they could be facilitated in group.
  1. Imparting of information. Included in this function is didactic instruction by the counselor, as well as advice, suggestions, or direct guidance about life problems offered by either the counselor or other group members.
  2. Instillation of hope. Pregroup high expectations for success, and hope and faith in the treatment mode, have been demonstrated to be related to positive outcomes in groups. Example may include acknowledging change as it happens in group, no matter how small.
  3. Universality. The participation in a group experience often teaches people that they are not alone or isolated with the “uniqueness” of their problems, which are shared by others. This knowledge frequently produces a sense of relief. Linking can increase universality.
  4. Altruism. Group members help one another by offering support, suggestions, reassurance, and insights and by sharing similar problems with one another. It is often important to group members’ self-image that they begin to see themselves as capable of mutual help. A group leader can faciliate feedback from member to member.
  5. The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group. Groups resemble families in several significant ways. Many group members have had unsatisfactory experiences in their original families; the group offers an opportunity to work through and restructure important family relationships in a more encouraging environment.  Group leaders can illuminate family roles and how they are operating in the group and include these dynamics in individual goals.
  6. Development of socializing techniques. Although methods may vary greatly with the type of group, from direct skill practice to incidental acquisition, social learning takes place in all groups. The development of basic social or interpersonal skills is a product of the group counseling process that is encouraged by member-to-member feedback.
  7. Imitative behavior. A group member often observes the work of another member with similar problems. Through “vicarious” therapy, the group member can incorporate or try out new behaviors suggested or modeled by the group leader or other members.
  8. Interpersonal learning. Human beings are social animals living in communities. The group functions as a social microcosm providing the necessary therapeutic factors to allow corrective emotional experiences. Group members, through validation and self-observation, become aware of their interpersonal behavior. The group, through feedback and encouragement, helps the member see maladaptive social/interpersonal behavior and provides the primary supportive environment for change.
  9. Group cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is defined as the attractiveness a group has for its members. More simply, it is we-ness, groupness, or togetherness. Cohesiveness in a group is analogous to the rapport or relationship between individual counselor and client. The acceptance and support demonstrated by the group, after a member has shared significant emotional experiences, can be a potent healing force.
  10. Catharsis. The group provides members with a safe place to ventilate their feelings rather than holding them inside. The process encourages learning how to express feelings toward the leader and other group members. It is important to note that there are two vital aspects of catharsis: ventilation of emotion and acceptance by the group. It is the leader’s role to facilitate the emotional release, while also ensuring that the group create a safe container for the processing of that emotion.
  11. Existential factors: The givens of existence (meaninglessness, death, freedom and isolation) occur in all facets of life so it makes sense that they would operate in group as well. Group leaders are aware of the anxiety that is produced when confronting any of the givens, and works with each member within the group to explore how the anxiety is being used in healthy or unhealthy, paralyzing ways.

Chapter 8

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Discuss the precommitment stage of counseling. What will the group confront? How can the leader facilitate movement to the next stage?

The precommitment phase is characterized by intial anxiety and superfical discussion as the group members get to know one another and get acclimatized to the group process. As the stage progresses, dislosure becomes more personal and group-relationship focused. At the end of this stage, as trust increases, they will begin to be comfortable with confrontation and expressions of disagreement. The group often targets the leader for the first confrontation because the leader is a safe container for the confrontation.

Appropriate resolution of the conflict can help the group progress to the next stage. The leader can help facilitate movement through this stage by understanding what constitutes normal behavior for this stage and not pushing too hard on the group to go too deep too soon. Basic counseling skills such as reflections and linking help the group get comfortable and connect. During confrontation, it is important for the leader to facilitate in a nondefensive manner and model good group behavior.

Discuss the commitment stage of counseling. What will the group confront? How can the leader facilitate movement to the next stage?
The commitment stage is characterized by a growing comfort with confrontation and conflict and working on the issues of the group. Group members will take on more responsibility for the movement of the group and the leader will move into a process oberver role. The leader must be comfortable with this new role and try not to obstruct the work of the group while also watching out for obstacles as they occur. The group leader will take a more active role again as the group prepares to terminate.
Why is conflict resolution vital to the progression of the group?
Resolution of conflict is important because it allows the group to experience a level of safety even among disagreement. If the group feels free to disagree, then they will feel more comfortable with being themselves and sharing within the group.
Discuss the termination stage of counseling. What will the group confront? How can the leader facilitate movement to the next stage?
At termination, the group finishes the work of the group, ties up any unfinished business, translates group learning to outside relationships, and says goodbye. Often people have unhealthy goodbye experiences that can impact the group negatively. The leader must prepare the group for termination, set boundaries for the exit, and process the issues surrounding the end of the group.
Discuss some benefits and caveats related to the use of structure in group work.
Benefits: Structure provides direction, concreteness, and security for both the leader and the members. Highly structured techniques tend to provide both the group leader and group members maximal amounts of direction and security with the possible consequence of a reduction in personal responsibility. Structure can promote group cohesion as members more quickly begin to interact and focus on common problems. A significant benefit is that the frustration of not knowing what is expected can be largely avoided.  Caveats: Structuring may initially prevent group members from experiencing the responsibility of determining what content will be important in the group. Also, experientially learning how to cope with the anxiety and frustration of ambiguous situations is precluded. An additional concern is that the introduction of new topics or areas of focus for each meeting, as is recommended when strictly following some structural programs, may break the continuity of the discussions from meeting to meeting or prevent group members from introducing their own immediate concerns. 

Chapter 9

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Define resistance and explore its role and purpose in group work.
Resistance is both a window into how each group member confronts change and the interplay between individual dynamics and those of the group. From this holistic perspective, resistance can be viewed and assessed as inter- and intrapersonal phenomena.
Discuss a method for assessing resistance in groups.
(1) Consider the nature of the resistance. (2) Consider if the resistance represents a pattern for the group member. (3) Assess whether or not the resistance is normed. (4) Assess your role in the resistance. Which buttons are pushed by the resistance?
Discuss the difference between a working silence and a resistant silence.
Working: a working silence is usually experienced as being of short duration. Time seems to be condensed, and the silence is hardly noticed as members share through their own thoughts and feelings in the experience of the group. Indeed, the silence is not even experienced as silence. Often, silent periods become more acceptable and comfortable as members experience a growing sense of adequacy. Resistant: A nonworking silence is felt, is noticed, does drag on, and seems to say, “We are being silent.” Such a silence is characterized by darting glances around the group, shifting postures, busy hands or feet, nervous grins, avoidance of eye contact, and a feeling that everyone is waiting for someone to do something. 
Define the difference among a low, medium, and too-high cohesion group.
Low cohesion: distant, avoidant, poor attendance, superfical; Medium: working, good attendance and connection, comfort with wide range of depth; High: too close, often sticks to "feel good" topics, good attendance .
Discuss two forms of resistance that would create the highest probablity of difficulty for you as a leader.
Personal reflection.

Chapter 10

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List and define the various levels of evaluation of group work.
(1) Leader evaluation of self and the group; (2) Member evaluation of self and the group.
Discuss the purpose and process of the Hill Interaction Matrix.
The HIM is one of the most useful measuring tools for the leader to use in conceptualizing group dynamics and process by examining verbal interaction between members. It also is one way to objectively help determine the extent to which a group is progressing toward meeting its goals. The model assesses various "styles" and plots them in a quadrant system. The lower right-hand section of the HIM is the power quadrant. The assumption is that the more time a group spends in speculative–personal, speculative–relationship, confrontive–personal, and confrontive–relationship interaction patterns, the greater will be the gain for individuals and the group. 
Why is evaluation important in group work?
Provides an opportunity for the leader to assess the progress and impact of the group as well as strengths and weaknesses of leadership skills. It provides the group members an opportunity to provide feedback to the group leader about aspects of their group experience as well as self-reflect on individual progress and areas that still need work.
Discuss the appropriate uses of a follow-up session.
Scheduling a follow-up session two to three months after the group's termination and apprising members of such can provide an impetus for members to continue to work on growth-promoting areas of change. Facilitators should (1) plan a follow-up session; (2) develop a referral source of professionals to whom they can refer group members when continued professional involvement by the facilitator is not possible; and (3) inform group members of other sources of assistance. 
You are facilitating a counseling group for recently unemployed men. Discuss how you would evaluate this group.
Personal reflection and application of various levels of assessment.

Chapter 11

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Discuss how children communicate and how play therapy groups can be helpful.
Children are not as capable as adults of verbally expressing themselves. Their natural means of interaction are play and activity oriented. Indeed, for children younger than 9 or 10 years of age, the natural means of communication is play. In group-counseling relationships, children experience the therapeutic releasing qualities of (a) discovering that their peers have problems too; and (b) a diminishing of the barriers of feeling all alone. 
Define the three broad categories of toys and materials to use in a play room and provide examples.
 Three broad categories of (1) real-life toys, such as a doll, a bendable doll family, a dollhouse and furniture, a nursing bottle, play dishes, a small car, an airplane, and a telephone;  (2) acting-out or aggressive-release toys, such as handcuffs, a dart gun, toy soldiers, a pounding bench, a rubber knife, and inflatable punching toys; and (3) toys for creative expression and emotional release, such as crayons, newsprint, blunt scissors, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, Play-Doh, hand puppets, a Nerf ball, sticky tape, and nontoxic glue or paste.
Explain how filial therapy is different from group play therapy.
Group play therapy utilizes the skills of a play therapist, as group leader, with a group of children. Filial therapy, which trains parents in basic child-centered play therapy skills, is unique among parent-training programs in that the objective of filial therapy is to train parents to become therapeutic agents in their children's lives. 
Discuss two ways filial therapy can help children and two ways it can help parents.

Filial therapy helps the child (1) develop a more positive self-concept; (2) assume greater self-responsibility; (3) become more self-directing; (4) become more self-accepting; (5) become more self-reliant; (6) engage in self-determined decision-making; (7) experience a feeling of control; (8) become sensitive to the process of coping; (9) develop an internal source of evaluation; (10) become more trusting of self.

Filial therapy helps parents (1) develop a more positive concept of self as parents; (2) recognize the importance of play in the lives of their children; (3) increase self-confidence in parenting abilities; (4) decrease feelings of chaos and frustration; (5) develop a wider array of parenting skills; (6) assume a greater level of responsibility in the parenting of their children; (7) experience a feeling of control; (8) increase levels of empathy and acceptance of their children; and (9) develop patience.

Chapter 12

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Discuss some of the general considerations for working with adolescents in groups.
Answer should mention the elements of creating a comfortable setting such as room consistency, minimal distractions, and ability to sit comfortably in a circle, and also discuss size and duration issues. Ideally, groups will be 5-10 members in size, and last for 1 to 1.5 hours. Most groups will exist across the span of a normal school term.
Explain why a pre-group interview is important to the process in adolescent groups.
Pre-group interviews are vital for the success of any group but are especially important with adolescents. The individual time allows for the counselor to begin building rapport with the client, provides an orientation to the group process, and screens out people not suitable for the group. As a part of the rapport building, group leaders are encouraged to expect resistance and to work through it by helping the clients find their own reason for being in the group.
Why is it important for group leaders to not try to act "cool" in adolescent groups?
This usually occurs because the group leader is attempting to get the adolescent members to see him or her as different from the other adults they experience. As a result, the leader tries to demonstrate allegiance and similarity be adopting the mannerisms, likes, and language of the teens. This does not work for several reasons. Mainly, the adolescents will see right through the attempt because the leader is NOT an adolescent. The group will see you as a fraud or as someone who is trying to trick them. It is helpful to remember that you are trying to be different from other adults in the way you treat and interact with the members. This has nothing to do with talking like them or liking the things they like.
Discuss the three themes that often arise in counseling groups with adolescents.
(1) Trust; (2) Independence vs. Dependence; (3) Identity Issues.