DSST Fundamentals of counseling

The focus is on sharing information and helping the

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ideas and feelings and these groups are effective only if the participants are comfortable with sharing. The focus is on sharing information and helping the groups members relate to and identify with each other’s issues and work together to make positive behavior changes. Therapy groups are designed for participants with intense psychological problems. Therapy groups first emerged during WWII to deal with high rates of psychiatric illness and a shortage of trained professionals. These therapy groups deal with individuals who are unable to function normally in society and who have deep-seated personality or other psychological disorders. Therapy groups continue for long periods of time and the counselor requires a great deal of skill and experience dealing with the presenting disorder. Encounter groups focus on expanding personal self-awareness and reaching one’s potential. These groups emerged as part of the human potential and new age movements. The purpose is to help otherwise “normal” individuals maximize their sense of fulfillment and self-actualization. Encounter groups, also called sensitivity groups, are intimate experiences characterized by a great deal of trust, sharing, and risk taking. Often there are many non-verbal or sensory exercises and commonly these groups take place over weekends and are called retreats. T-Groups focus on the group process itself and are designed to help participants become better group members. Called Training Groups, these T-Groups examine the roles of individuals in a group setting. The roles are then discussed and analyzed and each individual is trained on how to function more effectively in a group setting. Group norms refer to the formal and informal rules that govern an individual’s behavior within the group setting. Formal norms, or rules, are set at the beginning of the group formation. Common formal group norms are confidentiality and one person talks at a time. Informal norms evolve as the participants get to know one another and experience positive and negative reactions to their behavior. The basis of family therapy is that an individual’s dysfunctional behavior grows out of his or her interactions with the family unit as well as the community at large. Family therapy ascribes to the notion that families are systems and relationships. These relationships have profound effects on how the individual thinks, feels, and behaves in other social situations. Family counseling takes a systemic approach to therapy whereby it views the family as a interactive unit. This systemic approach views the client as one part of a larger system and in order to help the person change their behavior, their thoughts, feelings, and actions must be looked at in the context of how he or she deals with other people. The opposite of a systemic approach to therapy is the individualistic approach.
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