Groups for Children and Adolescents

Introduction
Group counseling for children and adolescents can occur in schools, private practice, mental health facilities, and community agencies. Regardless of where you end up working, it will be important that you understand the unique needs of children and adolescents when it comes to group counseling.
In addition to your studies on group counseling for children and adolescents, you will participate in group crisis situations. When working in this field you will experience many crises with your clients in a group setting. For example, as a school counselor, you may have a group of students approach you to tell you that another student is contemplating suicide. As a mental health counselor you may be running a group where a client has a seizure and you need to deal with the emotions of the other clients. It is important for a counselor to understand how to react when an unexpected situation occurs. This is important both in individual counseling as well as group counseling. This is an opportunity for you to practice skills you already possess and at the same time identify which areas you need to work on to be a prepared crisis counselor. Certain types of counseling are more prone to crises than others, but all must be taken seriously and approached with confidence.
Objectives
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Research and critique an article pertaining to a specific population of children or adolescents.
2. Respond to crisis and trauma situations that occur within or during a group.
3. Reflect on your experience of and response to crisis situations within a group counseling setting. Learning Activities
Unit 7 Study 1
Studies Readings
Texts
Use the Corey, Corey, and Corey text to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 10, “Groups in School Settings,” pages 325–366.
Use the Corey, Corey, and Haynes DVD and workbook to complete the following:
• View the DVD, Second program: Challenges Facing Group Leaders, Part 1.
• Workbook pages 67–84.
Articles
Use the Library to complete the following:
• Read Ritchie and Huss’s 2000 article, “Recruitment and Screening of Minors of Group Counseling,” from Journal for Specialists in Group Work, volume 25, issue 2, pages 146–156.
• Read Shechtman and Gluk’s 2005 article, “An Investigation of Therapeutic Factors in Children’s Groups,” from Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, volume 9, issue 2, pages 127–134.
• Read Akos’s 2000 article, “Building Empathetic Skills in Elementary School Children Through Group Work,” from Journal for Specialists in Group Work, volume 25, issue 2, pages 214–223.
• Read Bemak’s 2005 article, “Reflections on Multiculturalism, Social Justice, and Empowerment Groups for Academic Success: A Critical Discourse for Contemporary Schools,” from Professional School Counseling, volume 8, issue 5, pages 401–406.
• Read Sirosky-Sabdo’s 2005 article, “Empowerment Groups for Academic Success: An Innovative Approach to Prevent High School Failure for At-Risk, Urban African-American Girls,” from Professional School Counseling, volume 8, issue 5, pages 377–389.

Discussion 1:1 page needed with minimum of 250 words and 2 references.
Children or Adolescents
Within the setting of your chosen field (for example: school counseling, addictions, marriage and family, et cetera.), select a topic that applies to a specific population of children or adolescents. This must be a different population and topic than the one you chose for your course project. Research and find at least one article on your topic and population and critique the article. Please be sure that your article (journal article) has been published in the last 10 years. Your critique should include:
• Article citation.
• Summary.
• Key points.
• Strengths.
• Weaknesses.
• Ways you might apply the article to your future work as a counselor.

Discussion 2: 1 page needed with minimum of 250 words and 2 references.
Crisis Experience
Earlier, you participated in responding to crisis situations that can occur in counseling. Now, take some time to explore that experience for yourself. How was it for you to react to the situations with little time to prepare? What type of crisis situations are you most fearful of as you become a professional counselor? Which types of crisis situations do you feel you are most capable of handling at this point?
First scenario.
You are a high school counselor. As you enter your room to begin your morning group, your group of five students inform you that another student in your school attempted suicide last night and now is in the hospital recovering. One of the students who has come in today was actually the one who called 911 when her friend stopped talking on the phone. All of the students in your office are close friends to the student who attempted suicide and are worried and scared about the situation.
What is the first thing you should do as the counselor in this scenario?
• Indicate to the students that you will call the hospital right away to determine what the status of the student is so you are aware of the severity of their current condition.
• Ask the students to tell you more about the situation, what happened and how this came about.
• Ask the students to identify their friend to you so you can determine if this is a student on your caseload and whom you have a relationship with as a counselor.
• Tell the students you will be right back and report the incident to your principal, then return to talk to the group of students in your office.

Second scenario.
You are a private practitioner who is scheduled to begin running a crisis response group in a local community that has recently experienced a series of tornados, hurricanes, and floods. A large number of people in the community have died, become homeless, are without food and water, and have family members missing. This group that you will run has eight members who are all members of the community. Each of the group members has their own individual account of what happened and their own personal losses from the event.
After establishing the purpose for the group and the ground rules, what is the best way to start off the first session?
• Have group members introduce themselves to one another.
• Realizing power has been out, begin by stating some facts about the recent events (psycho-educational in nature) to be sure all group members understand what their fellow group members may have experienced.
• Have group members participate in ice breaker activities to get to know one another and establish group cohesiveness.
• Have each of the group members explain to the group why they are participating.

 

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