CSD 5620: Group Counseling



INSTRUCTOR:         Dr. Steven R. Conn

OFFICE:                     2112 Buzzard Hall                    OFFICE HOURS:      To be announced

PHONE:                      217-581-7242                         E-MAIL:                     cfsrc@eiu.edu



COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course is designed to provide both theoretical and

experiential understanding of the group counseling purpose, development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group approaches.


PREREQUESITE:  CSD 5530 (Pre-Practicum).  If you have not completed this requirement, or are presently enrolled in a department other than Counseling and Student Development, see me as soon as possible.




Corey, G. & Corey, M. S.  (2002).  Groups: Process and Practice, 6th Ed.


Donigian, J. & Hulse-Killacky, D.  (1999).  Critical Incidents in Group Therapy, 2nd Ed.





Students will:


a.                   Understand principles of group dynamics including group process components,

                        developmental stage theories, and group members' roles and behaviors.


b.         Understand leadership styles and approaches including characteristics of various types of 

group leaders and leadership styles, as well as professional preparation standards for

group leaders.


c.         Understand theories of group counseling including commonalities, distinguishing      

characteristics, and pertinent research and literature.


d.         Understand group counseling methods including group counselor orientations and

behaviors, ethical standards, appropriate selection criteria and methods, and methods of evaluation of effectiveness.


e.             Understand approaches used for other types of group work, including task groups,

prevention groups, support groups, therapy groups, and intervention with diverse



f.              Understand ethical and legal considerations.





            This model is constructed to take advantage of the collective energy people generate when working together by building learning communities.  Learning is viewed as an interaction between the student and critical aspects of the school and home environment and focuses on the whole ecosystem, not just the learner.  The model is designed to lead students to define problems, explore various perspectives on the problem, and study together to master information, ideas, and skills.

            Methods of instruction will include: analysis of group responses, observation, participation in group sessions, role-playing, and individual leadership of groups.






I.          Experiential Group Involvement:


            Your presence in class in very important, but it is especially important in the experiential sessions.  Unless you are ill I expect your participation.  This attendance credit is the only direct evaluation of your participation in experiential sessions.  Otherwise the nature and quality of your participation in experiential sessions does not affect your grade.  This is arranged intentionally so that you will feel less evaluative threat from your group facilitator(s) in the experiential session, and therefore can be more relaxed and "yourself" in these sessions.  There are, however, two exceptions to the participation credit in experiential sessions: (1) if you come to a session exhibiting evidence of having consumed any mind altering substance, you will be asked to leave class and you will not receive credit for that session; or (2) if for some reason (e.g., breaking confidentiality) your experiential group asks you to leave the group and you cannot find another group, you will not receive any credit for any subsequently missed sessions.

            I must also emphasize that the things you share in the experiential group are confidential, and you and all group members must agree to respect this.  You are not required to self-disclose issues that you might not want me (the instructor) to know about.  Even if you do, it will not affect your grade.  However, it is theoretically possible that such information could be used in making departmental decisions about your suitability for the program.  I emphasize that this possibility is mainly theoretical because I have never seen such a scenario take place, but I feel I must at least let you know about such a possibility.  I wish to further emphasize that class evaluation is based on academic performance, not on information about your past or events in your life outside of class.


WARNING:  Taking this course could change your life in ways you might not expect.  It is possible that you might feel worse at the end of a group session than you did at the beginning.




II.        Reaction Papers (to Experiential Sessions):

            For each of your experiential sessions, you will be required to submit a one-page (at most) reaction to each counseling session you attend.  You reaction paper is due at the beginning of the next class scheduled following a given session.  In your reaction, include the following topics:


A.     What are your thoughts about how the session went?  What issue(s) brought up by other members in your group that you believe were not fully addressed?

B.     How did you hold back or avoid issues so that you did not involve yourself as fully as possible with your own issues and the group issues emerging in the session.

C.     What are your feelings (not thoughts or opinions) and emotional responses to the events that unfolded in the session.  What are your feelings toward other group members and the facilitator?

D.     What have you written about this session that you would like to share with your group?  What would you be afraid to share?  Is there anything you wish you had said in the session but didn't think of it or you were afraid to say it?


Whatever you write in your reaction papers is confidential, and you may include specifics of actual events and issues dealt with by group members.  The inclusion of such material will not constitute breach of confidentiality since I and your facilitator will be considered members of all experiential subgroups.


            NOTE:  To obtain a grade of “B” for this course, you are required to submit at least 10 Reaction Papers during the semester.  You will not be able to complete a Reaction Paper for any group sessions you miss.



III.       Critical Incident Presentation:


Students will be assigned to a small group of 4 – 5 members for the purpose of presenting to the class a selected Critical Incident.  The presentations should follow a “round-table discussion” format.

            For the presentation, each group member will present one theoretical orientation followed by a discussion of how the specific therapist using that theory would handle the critical incident.  After your presentation, you should be prepared to take questions and comments from other class members.



IV.       Examinations (Optional):


            There will be a midterm exam and a final exam in the course.  Each exam will consist of both multiple-choice and essay questions.  You will be responsible for all material from assigned text readings that correspond to the course notes.  The Midterm Exam will cover Chapters 1 – 4 of the Corey & Corey textbook and the Final Exam will cover Chapters 5 – 8 of the Corey & Corey textbook.  The dates of the exams will be announced.






            There are no points assigned to these two issues, but if either of them becomes significantly evident, your grade may be lowered by at least one letter grade.  It is possible for you to hurt yourself in these areas by being consistently negative, critical, arrogant or otherwise resistant.  Please do not come to class under the influence of any mind-altering drug.  Please come to class on time.  Your ability to manage time will influence how you work with clients.






Text Box: To obtain a grade of “B” in this course, you must complete the following:

1.	Participate in group counseling, and
2.	Complete at least 10 Reaction Papers, and
3.	Participate in the Critical Incident Presentation.

To obtain a grade of “A” in this course, you must complete the following:

1.	Compete all the activities listed above, and
2.	Obtain a combined average score of 85% on both the Midterm and Final exams.














No cell phones, beepers or other contact with the outside world is permitted during group sessions.  Please make arrangements ahead of time so that this does not become a problem.  You may make phone calls during our break periods.



DISABILITIES          If you have a documented disability and wish to receive academic accommodations, please contact the Coordinator of the Office of Disability Services (581-6583) as soon as possible.