The purpose of a group counseling session varies from one group to another, and its success relies heavily on the leader. The techniques and procedures used while conducting these sessions must ensure that the program is effective, and they should be realistic and practicable for the given situation. The group leader should set a method to ensure all members maintain punctuality, keep the information received private, and ensure respect is held. Members found to be exposing other peoples’ data to the outside world should be expelled. All areas touched in a group session should always seek to improve the overall well-being of each group member.
In conducting group counseling, I will use the cognitive theory developed by psychotherapist Aaron Beck in the 1960s. This counseling theory’s success in career development is big (Rottinghaus et al., 2018). Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective in helping individuals facing anxiety, eating disorders, and depression (Curwen et al.,2018). CBT is known to cure short-term mental illnesses and long-term problems (Kodal et al., 2018). This counseling theory is effective in group psychotherapy, group therapy, support groups, group counseling, and group cohesion (Burlingame et al., 2018). These listed advantages are only a sample that makes a counselor choose to go for cognitive theory while conducting a group counseling session.
The expected duration for this group is short-term, and it consists of college students who are to graduate in a few years. The group population will include male and female students most likely to be in their early to mid-twenties. The program will be developmental in that it seeks to counsel college students on how to be better in whichever career they choose. It is the role of the group leader to guide the students on the correct path using their skills in counseling approaches. The “SMART” guiding tool will help the leader set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. The group’s mission will be to ensure each student is well guided to choose the correct career path in psychology and other rated disciplines by enhancing self-awareness. To achieve this cognizance, each group member has to be aware of their feelings, thoughts, behaviors, past experiences, and current state of mind.
The rationale for this group is to prevent individual therapy, which would be more costly than group sessions. Also, the ability for the students to be able to talk out their experiences with one another with the guidance of the trained expert may encourage self-analysis, making the student understand themselves better. The group meeting will be held in a designated lecture hall known to be soundproof since most of the information shared shall be private and confidential. The meeting shall be held twice a week, preferably on Tuesdays between 3:00 pm and 4: 30 pm and between the exact times on Fridays. These time schedules shall be communicated with the school of social sciences to ensure there is no friction. An impromptu meeting to address an urgent or critical issue shall be held on rare occasions. Evaluations shall be done using questionnaires filled by the group members monthly. They shall also be done by having each student take an individual therapy session with a different specialist every two months.
The group population will include male and female students most likely to be in their early to mid-twenties. The group will target a maximum of 20 members, and the target population will be all psychology students. This group will be voluntary for all members, but once a person becomes a member, it will be mandatory to attend group sessions and follow its rules and regulations. If the number of students who want to join the group exceeds 20, the selection will be made on a first-come basis, with each gender allocated ten slots. Thus, the group composition will compose an equal number of ladies and gentlemen unless one gender has less than ten applications.
The group leader will be a qualified expert in psychotherapy, and their role shall be to be the facilitator of the group. Different group members should be able to help each other in making good career decisions by doing simple acts like listening. The leader should evaluate the group’s goals regularly to check if they have been achieved. Since cognitive theory focuses on how people’s thinking affects their decisions and behavior, the leader as the expert should promote deep thinking among the group members, bringing better self-understanding. Non-traditional traditional techniques such as hypnotherapy and guided imagery could facilitate thinking among the members (Shenefelt, 2018). Each individual should set personal goals that will be reviewed and evaluated with the group leader every two months.
Session Format and Flow
There will be no screening as all psychology class students will be qualified to participate. However, members should ensure they follow an ethical guideline provided by the group leader, and confidentiality shall be given a top priority. Talking, joking, or discussing group matters outside the confines of the group may lead to punishments, including expulsions. This rule shall be communicated verbally and in written form, and each group member shall give a copy of the expected code of conduct. The leader shall mail the contents to all members.
This group will follow Bruce Tuckman’s five stages of group formation. The five include; forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Josephson, 2021). During the forming stage, the members will be expected to know each other hence time for acquaintanceship will be provided. The leader should encourage interaction between all members. The storming stage brings conflict and misunderstanding; therefore, leaders should mitigate this for proper functioning. After the storming stage will come norming phase, where there will be consensus and agreement between group members. The leader should ensure all members understand their responsibilities in this stage. The group will be agreed to have reached the fourth stage when the relationship among the members is clear and stable. At this phase, the leader should look to ensure that each individual needs in the group are met. The final stage, according to Tuckman, is where the members part ways, called the adjourning stage. In doing so, the leader should ensure that all the goals have been met.
The group under this case study uses cognitive theory due to its numerous advantages. In improving the well-being of each group member, the group leader should understand and formulate the theoretical framework to be used, an overview of the group, its membership, leadership, and sessions format. The group duration is short as it will be terminated when the students leave college and shall be comprised of 20 members. The group’s success will be dependent on many variables, with good leadership preeminent among them.
Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Yang, C. (2018). Cohesion in group therapy: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 384–398.
Curwen, B., Palmer, S., & Ruddell, P. (2018). Brief cognitive behavior therapy. Sage.
Josephson, K. B. (2021). Minding the competency gap from college to career: The value of virtual teaming and VLEs for skill development. Developments in Virtual Learning Environments and the Global Workplace (pp. 268-288). IGI Global.
Kodal, A., Fjermestad, K., Bjelland, I., Gjestad, R., Öst, L.-G., Bjaastad, J. F., Haugland, B. S. M., Havik, O. E., Heiervang, E., & Wergeland, G. J. (2018). Long-term effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth with anxiety disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 53(53), 58–67.
Rottinghaus, P. J., Falk, N. A., & Park, C. J. (2018). Career assessment and counseling for STEM: A critical review. The Career Development Quarterly, 66(1), 2-34.
Shenefelt, P. D. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive hypnotherapy and skin disorders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 61(1), 34–44.