Group work is an important part of the therapeutic process. When individuals partake in individual counseling, it is imperative that they participate in some form of “group work” as well. This type of work allows a client to speak up about their concerns and frustrations concerning their circumstances. Additionally, listening to the different stories of other men and women who have experienced or are experiencing similar challenges can provide solace and comfort to them. During the group process, Existential moments occur within the client. Corey (2009) Existential therapy is best considered as an invitation to clients to recognize the ways in which they are not living fully authentic lives and to make choices that will lead to their becoming what they are capable of being. During this time, clients start evolving and realizing their full potential as it pertains to making appropriate changes concerning the direction of their life.
Jane attends group therapy, because she was a victim of domestic violence. At first, she felt isolated, scared, and guilty for breaking up her family. After a couple of group sessions and careful reflections, she considers the following:
- She will be okay.
- It is smart to leave a bad situation.
Jane's dominant thoughts changed because during group sessions, she had the opportunity to hear the stories of other domestic violence survivors and began to feel validated and empowered. Group work for this specific clientele is very essential because these women need a safe place in which to vent their pain and frustrations, and the healing validation that can only come from other survivors of domestic violence. In these groups, the over arching theme is “You are not alone, and Your voice matters”. Corey (2009) Group work became popular in the 1970s as a way for women to discuss their lack of voice in many aspects of society. Consciousness raising groups initially provided an avenue for women to share their experiences of oppression and powerlessness.
Corey, G. (2009) Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. 9th Edition. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning; Belmont, CA.
Heather B. Duke is a marriage and family counselor in training. She will be completing her internship this summer in Chicago, Illinois. It is her passion to work with couples that are experiencing relational issues due to marriage, divorce, and custody arrangements.