COUN 612: Mental Health Ethics, Law and Practice
April 28, 2011
Group counseling offers multiple relationships to assist an individual in growth and problem solving. Groups are an excellent treatment choice for numerous intrapersonal and interpersonal issues, and in helping people to change. Groups provide a sense of community to its members allowing them to see that they are not alone. In group therapy sessions, members are encouraged to discuss the issues that brought them to therapy openly and honestly. It is the responsibility of the counselor to work to create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance that encourages members to support one another. This atmosphere is developed and …show more content…
Counselors must still seek informed consent from all members, even involuntary members. According to Corey et al. (2010), the purpose of group is to help group members find their own answers through group, not do what others feel is appropriate. Many may feel coerced into disclosing private information if not informed and protected (Corey et al., 2010). When a group is made up of voluntary and involuntary members, conflict may arise because of the distinct levels of commitment and motivation of the two sub groups within the group. Voluntary members may resent involuntary members because they are not as invested. Counselors should strive to build group consensus on the types of participation expected of the group (Barsky, 2010).
Group Work with Diverse Populations The American Counseling Association Ethical Code notes Multicultural/Diversity Considerations under B.1.Respecting Client Rights (ACA, 2005). It mentions that counselors must be sensitive, respectful and aware regarding different cultures. The Association for Specialists in Group Work has developed a workbook on the Principles for Diversity-Competent Group Workers. In it, ASGW describes a diverse-competent group worker as “recognizing the limits of their competencies and expertise with regard to working with group members who are different from them” (ASGW, 1998, p. 1). Therapists must know their own background and be willing to learn about others and where they came from. It is