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.
Gender and Group Leadership: Using the Research to Improve Counseling Practice
Gender is an unavoidable dynamic in group counseling. Gender differences have received more recent attention in the literature as one element of multicultural competent practice (McAuliffe, 2008). Historically, gender differences in counseling were explored extensively in the late 1970s and early 1980s. More recently, gender differences between client and counselor have received some attention, but little has been done to explore how gender impacts groups. Research has been conducted on a variety of issues related to gender and has concluded that gender influences both group leaders and members (Jackson, Engstrom, & Emmers-Sommer, 2007; NeSmith, Wilcoxon, Satcher, 2000; Rosenberg, 1996). The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of gender on leaders and identify how to use this information to improve group counseling in practice. First, typical characteristics of female and male group leaders will be addressed and then these differences will be discussed in relation to the group configuration (e.g., all male, all female, etc.). Lastly, recommendations will be made on how to increase group leaders’ awareness of gender differences, which operate in most groups, and how to use this awareness to improve the effectiveness of group work.