• Describe the advantages of group counselling. • Explain when group counselling is not suitable. 4.1 WHAT IS GROUP COUNSELLING? An alternative to individual counselling is group counselling. Three or more persons form a group to address a problem that is common to them. The group members meet regularly to solve the problem. Group counselling is based on the assumption that it is therapeutic. Recently, research findings have confirmed that assumption. As a result, group counselling has become a very popular mode of counselling. 4.2 TYPES OF GROUPS • GUIDANCE GROUPS They are also known as: - Education groups - Discussion groups - Reaction groups -Planning groups -Information groups -Career groups The size of a guidance group is usually between twelve to twenty five members. Some members choose to join and others may be selected to participate according to their needs. 29
This type of a group focuses on issues pertaining to education, vocation, personal information and planning. The main goal is increasing the members’ knowledge and skills on how to deal with their environment more effectively and improve their ability of decision making. Guidance groups are usually associated with educational setting such as schools and colleges. The duration of the group is usually pre-determined by the material to be covered. Each session normally lasts between 10 to 55 minutes. • COUNSELLING GROUPS (Group Counselling) These are usually small groups of between 6 – 12 members each. Some members may choose to participate but others may be selected according to their need for change. This type of counselling group focuses on observable, and measurable behaviours of the members. Further, they focus on ‘here and now’ behaviours and the interaction patterns of the members. The main goal of group counselling is to provide a conducive environment for the members’ self-exploration and practice alternative behaviours in a less threatening and supportive climate. 30
The duration of the group is determined by the nature of the members’ needs. However the group duration is normally 5 – 25 meetings of 1-2 hours per session. The setting may be educational, religious or community. • THERAPY GROUPS These groups are also called group therapy or group psychotherapy. The groups are usually very small of between four to ten members. Members may choose to participate or are selected because of a perceived need to change their behaviours. Therapy groups focus on members’ behaviours in and outside the group. They are also interested in psychological history of the members. The main goal is to help the members change disturbing behaviours in their lives. Unlike the other groups, the duration of therapy groups may range from a few weeks to several years. Each session lasts between one to two hours.