VISTAS Group Counseling

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Group Counseling Curriculum - A Developmental Humanistic Approach

Carrie Lynn Bailey and Adele Logan O’Keefe


Counselor educators are faced with the challenge of preparing counselors in training to effectively facilitate safe, honest, and open psychological exploration through connection with others. Irvin D. Yalom, a leader in group psychotherapy theory and practice, emphasizes that the interpersonal process between group therapy members is of primary importance. Coining the interpersonal process in groups as “group cohesiveness,” Yalom teaches, “group cohesiveness is not only a potent therapeutic force in its own right. It is a pre-condition for other therapeutic factors to function optimally,” (Yalom, 2005, p. 55). This leads to the primary focus of a master’s level group counseling course—to begin the process of teaching counseling students how to create the necessary conditions in their groups in order for the functions of groups to be successful. Just as group leaders facilitate interpersonal and intrapersonal learning as clients make new discoveries about themselves while sharing feelings of connectedness with others, group counseling instructors can instill an environment of collaborative learning and shared experience for students. As such, a powerful instructional method integrating the concepts of both cognitive developmental and humanistic theory for a master’s-level group counseling curriculum is presented. 

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