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 Pedagogy: A Comparison of Counselor Training Groups and Clinical Growth Groups

Allison L. Spargo, Jonathan Orr, and Catherine Chang


The Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) commissioned the foundational document, ASGW Professional Standards for the Training of Group Workers (ASGW, 2000), to clarify their professional niche, articulate common values, and enhance the professionalism of group work training and practice (Wilson, Rapin, & Haley-Banez, 2004). These documents described best practices and minimal training standards for the broad field of group work, raising the standards to which group workers may aspire. The ASGW Standards have been translated directly into training goals that address components of high quality instruction, including knowledge acquisition, experiential involvement, skill development, and supervised experience. Current training practices are guided by ASGW Standards and include delineated skill development and the explicit requirements for experiential work in a group, as a member or as a leader. Additionally, the 2009 Counseling for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards will require accredited counseling programs to include “direct experiences where students participate in a small group activity, approved by the program, for a minimum of 10 clock hours over the course of one academic term” (p. 12).

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