Setting the Stage
The selected population for group counseling would be adolescent girls in a public high school. Many individuals encounter rapid cognitive, behavioral, and physical body changes during middle to late childhood. These developments could trigger various challenges, such as depression, loss of self-esteem, and reduced coping abilities. Those who begin to experience their first menstrual cycles could remain disoriented and unwilling to engage in the learning process. In some cases, high school girls could become victims of bullying from their counterpart boys. The biological changes in the body associated with adolescence could affect most girls (Verhoeven, Poorthuis, & Volman, 2019). For example, the growth of pubic hair and breasts could also have negative effects, thereby resulting in reduced self-esteem. Proper counseling and guidance procedures could help most of the individuals and make it easier for them to achieve their maximum potential in the learning environment.
The suggested group to implement is that of personal improvement. The beneficiaries will receive timely insights, counseling, and guidance to ensure they are aware of the immediate surroundings and the rapid changes in their bodies. Specifically, the developed group will be intended to promote growth and ensure that the beneficiaries understand that adolescence could present numerous challenges (Verhoeven et al., 2019). During adolescence, some girls would encounter psychological and emotional challenges due to body changes. Some of the individuals might become withdrawn or disinterested in the learning process. The absence of proper guidance and counseling could disorient the learners and make it impossible for them to record positive experiences.
Based on this background, the purpose of the suggested group is to use counseling methods to empower the targeted girls and ensure that they experience personal growth. The use of counseling techniques would help the individuals to improve their self-esteem, develop a positive self-image, and become aware of their feelings and values. The insights will empower them to identify evidence-based approaches to address their problems and eventually accept their social positions. These attributes reveal that the type of the intended group would be psycho-educational (Bakalım & Karahan, 2020). Under such a team, the counselor is interested in educating beneficiaries about their conditions and offering evidence-based ideas to improving their coping abilities.
School counselors would find these concepts and theoretical frameworks applicable in any learning environment. When done properly, the identified students will appreciate that the cognitive and emotional developments taking place during adolescent are normal. The proposed intervention intended to encourage the individuals to appreciate their situations and consider desirable approaches to improve their level of coping (Verhoeven et al., 2019). The intended learners will find overcoming some of the identified challenges easier and eventually engage in the learning process. The achievement will eventually make it possible for them to achieve the intended goals.
The concept of group therapy is practical and capable of empowering young individuals to re-pattern their life experiences and become more resolute. During adolescence, most of the teenagers experience new transformations and health problems that might disorient their future experiences. Therapists propose the use of group therapy as an important strategy to help adolescents experiencing various interpersonal challenges. In the first article, “The Role of School in Adolescents’ Identity Development. A Literature Review” by Verhoeven et al. (2019), it was reported that over 73 percent of teenagers would need group therapy to become more aware of themselves and overcoming the challenges of adolescence. During this phase of development, young individuals begin to develop new social and physical abilities that lead them to new challenges. For instance, chances of starting to experiment with addictive substances and unprotected sex emerge during this phase. The emerging psychosocial vulnerability makes them primary targets of bullying from their peers. Some might become uncomfortable due to the rapid emotional and physical body changes.
Counseling groups relying on the power of therapy have the potential to create room for social learning. This information is evident from the second source, “Effect of a Group Leader Training Program on the Group Counseling Skills of Psychological Counselor Candidates”. The psycho-educational group approach has gained prominence due to its ability to meet the demands of young individuals (Bakalım & Karahan, 2020). During such a process, counselors relying on this form of therapy will find it easier to provide timely information. The beneficiaries will learn more about the challenges they encounter. Such individuals will know that most of the body changes are normal and acceptable (Jacobs, Masson, Harvill, & Schimmel, 2012). The professionals will guide the individuals to become more involved and find better ways to cope with their challenges (Bakalım & Karahan, 2020). This form of group counseling remains common since it has the potential to provide a sense of empowerment. The individuals become supportive and capable of guiding one another.
Some analysts have gone further to offer evidence-based approaches for implementing successful psycho-educational groups. For instance, the third article, “Enrich Schematization in Children: Play as the Tool for Cognitive Development,” by Bhagat, Haque, and Jaalam (2018) suggest that competent therapists begin by providing an environment or environment setting that is safe and capable of encouraging the beneficiaries. The professional will then focus on the power of active participation. The individuals will learn new approaches towards continuous learning. The therapy would be the best opportunity for presenting coping strategies and influencing desirable change. Bhagat et al. (2018) believe that effective group therapy would be possible when the professionals consider the provision of adequate resources and support. A multidisciplinary approach could also be applied to ensure that the psycho-educational group records positive experiences and outcomes.
In the fourth article, “Combining Cognitive Therapy with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Depression: A Group Therapy Feasibility Study”, the reader observes that numerous intervention techniques are possible to empower teenage girls. However, the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) model is more promising depending on the nature of the identified issue. Hallis, Cameli, Bekkouche, and Knäuper (2017) identify the approach as action-oriented in nature, whereby clients are guided to behave in a positive manner while accepting their values. The model promotes mindfulness and skills for acceptance. Individuals will learn how to cope with emerging experiences that are uncontrollable in nature. Hallis et al. (2017) identify six core attributes or procedures capable of leading to successful ACT therapy. The first one would be acceptance, followed by cognitive diffusion. The third and fourth include being present and appreciating self as a context (Bhagat et al., 2018). The last two would be valuing and engaging in a committed action. The beneficiaries of ACT find new ways to embrace their experiences and thoughts.
The selected sources offer a detailed analysis and approach for launching a psycho-educational group successfully. The model would help form the group by identifying young high school girls who could benefit from the exercise. The activity would focus on some of the challenges and cognitive issues affecting the youth in general (Hallis et al., 2017). The sources go further to outline an effective form of intervention that could work more efficiently for the selected group. The inclusion of parents, teachers, and counselors would help deliver a multidisciplinary team and ensure that the much needed outcomes are recorded. The beneficiaries would find new ways of accepting their situations and learn how to cope.
Theoretical Orientation and Therapeutic Factors
To support the needs of the selected girls, Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory would form the basis of the intended psycho-educational group. The theoretical orientation would be applicable to the individuals since they would be in the formal operational phase of development (Bhagat et al., 2018). According to Piaget, teenage is a unique period whereby individuals experience improved deductive reasoning and the ability to analyze ideas critically. They will identify hypothetical issues and propose workable solutions. During the same growth period, adolescents experience deep emotional, physical, and psychological changes. These exciting changes could also become comfortable or disorient the overall goals of young girls.
The second theory that supports the proposed group therapy is psychoanalytic theory. This model views adolescence as a troublesome period crisis by a unique form of crisis. During this growth phase, most of the young individuals would experience mood changes and anxiety. Some may panic and become vulnerable to depression and suicidal thoughts. In most cases, increasing cases of low esteem and self-worth tend to be reported. When individuals lack proper guidance or support, they might have confidence issues or challenges. In another study, Bakalım and Karahan (2020) observed that adolescents were at risk of encountering a number of problems, including early marriages, teenage pregnancy, mental tensions, and peer pressure. These occurrences could trigger increased psychological and mental problems.
The combination of these two theories would help operationalize the intended group. Specifically, the proposed therapy would become the guiding principle for identifying the specific areas to target. The beneficiaries will be informed about the possible challenges they could face. Piaget’s theory would be resourceful toward matching the intervention with the developmental achievements many teenagers record (Bhagat et al., 2018). Combining such ideas will support the group and ensure that the inventions put in place deliver the much needed results or outcomes.
Throughout the intervention period, some of Yalom’s therapeutic attributes would be resourceful towards empowering the selected girls. The first curative factor to put into consideration would be that of interpersonal learning output and input (Hauber, Boon, & Vermeiren, 2019). This attribute would allow the beneficiaries to identify the intrinsic and extrinsic aspects that could dictate the learning process. The second one would be the power of guidance. Under this factor, the identified girls would receive timely ideas for pursuing their goals and engaging in decisions that resonate with their respective challenges. The third appropriate factor for curative outcomes is the instillation of hope (Hauber et al., 2019). These beneficiaries will receive timely incentives that can allow them to remain optimistic and engage in actions and decisions that can result in improved confidence and self-esteem.
The suggested group will have 24 members. The rationale behind this choice is that the increased number of beneficiaries will present increased chances for success. The individuals will be supportive of each other and focus on the best coping strategies. This manageable number would also allow the therapist to support most of the troubled girls in the selected institution (Bhagat et al., 2018). To recruit the best candidates, I would liaise with teachers to recommend specific girls who could benefit from the group therapy. The identified individuals would then be allowed to join freely without coercion.
To make the group successful, it would be appropriate to liaise with the school counselors and ensure that they identify other members of the school community to be involved in the process. To make sure that the therapy does not interfere with learning activities, the sessions would be held over the weekends. Possible group members would be screened by asking them a few questions related to personal challenges associated with teenage development. Those who have increased problems would be recommended or included in the group (Verhoeven et al., 2019). To ensure that positive results are recorded, interested individuals will not be exempted from the sessions. However, girls who are engaging in other therapies might be not been appropriate members.
The group needs to be open to increase chances of delivering positive results. Each session would be for two hours. A total of six sessions would be required to offer effective support. The members will be meeting in the school compound. The counselor needs to remain the leader of the group. Key rules would include respect for one another, mutual support, and confidentiality. These rules would be established by guiding the individuals to appreciate their unique challenges and strive to help one another. They will also appreciate the importance of not sharing the issues and activities undertaken during the therapy with non-members (Verhoeven et al., 2019). The goals include helping the participants, ensuring that they re-pattern their experiences, and identifying evidence-based ideas for supporting more girls in the future. The responses and testimonies of the beneficiaries would help me to know whether such aims have been realized.
Big Picture Planning
Some of the possible topics to include in this group include self-awareness, anxiety, depression, leadership, teamwork, personal improvement, and self-esteem. These topics are practical and capable of empowering young girls to become resolute and be willing to overcome the burden of adolescence (Jacobs et al., 2012). The provision of guidance and empowerment would allow the young girls to become more involved and be ready to re-pattern their lives. They will become more aware of their conditions and engage in desirable activities. The specific topics for inclusion during the beginning phase of the phase include anxiety and depression (Bhagat et al., 2018). The middle stage would be the best opportunity for guiding beneficiaries on self-awareness, self-esteem, and personal improvement. During the last phase, the selected beneficiaries could be guided to embrace the concepts of leadership and the power of teamwork.
Sample Session Plan
The selected sample session is “Session #3 – Working Stage”. During this phase, the goal was to present the proposed intervention. The purpose of the session is to apply acceptance and commitment theory (ACT) to guide beneficiaries to appreciate their present situation. The rationale is that such an approach is evidence-based and resonates with the needs of the learners. This session would take place during the middle stage of the implementation. The session will entail a specific activity revolving around identifying troublesome behaviors among the members (Bhagat et al., 2018). The best approach would be to introduce a guest speaker to provide additional insights (Jacobs et al., 2012). The professional will apply ACT to guide them to accept such issues since they are normal during adolescence. With such an activity, it will be easier to empower the beneficiaries to become committed and ready to improve their self-esteem. The activity will also be in line with the ultimate purpose of the group, which is the application of ACT to make the targeted girls more resilient.
Leader Role and Skills
To achieve the outlined therapy goals, my personal orientation will revolve around the notion of transformation. I appreciate the fact that I have to present a sense of leadership while guiding the members to change their perceptions and understanding of their cognitive issues. During each group stage, I will play the role of a leader by providing a sense of direction. I will empower the individuals and present specific examples and guidelines for ensuring that positive results are recorded (Bhagat et al., 2018). I will also embrace the concept of collaboration to empower and guide most of the members to remain involved and supportive to each other.
Five skills are applicable to the group therapy. These include teamwork, attentive listening, empathy, leadership, and critical thinking. All these competencies are specific in nature and help therapists remain engaged, provide a sense of direction, and analyze contributions critically. I will listen attentively, promote group empathy, and present a sense of teamwork. The use of such skills will ensure that most of the participants are mentored and willing to share their experiences. Being a skilled leader, I would be able to consider or identify a member who is problematic (Hauber et al., 2019). A good example is the presence of a chronic talker. I will apply the power of leadership to listen to the individual and allow the members to present their views in an ordered manner. Each person would get adequate time while allowing the other participants to listen attentively.
During the group therapy process, it would be necessary to identify and consider all ethical issues that might emerge. The first consideration for the proposed group is the idea of informed consent. As indicated earlier, the participants would be allowed to join the psycho-educational group freely without any form of coercion. This approach would ensure that all involved individuals are aware of their personal challenges and the possible outcomes. The second ethical consideration throughout the study would be the issue of confidentiality. As a rule, all members will be required to maintain the highest level of integrity. I will provide additional guidelines to ensure that that they do not share the deliberations of the therapy with non-members (Bakalım & Karahan, 2020). I would address this issue by explaining to them how the outlined issues affect many young people. The participants would appreciate the importance of confidentiality since they will be interested in improving their self-esteem and personal awareness.
Upon launching the group, it would be necessary to formulate and evaluation strategy. Specifically, I will be using journal entries for the sessions and identify what would have gone well and some of the identifiable challenges. I will then rely on the recorded observations to improve the subsequent meeting. The approach would also help me identify some individuals who could need additional support or empowerment (Bakalım & Karahan, 2020). The insights emerging from the evaluation would help provide personalized guidelines to some of the beneficiaries could be experiencing some challenges. This evidence-based approach has the potential to make the group therapy successful.
Bakalım, O., & Karahan, F. Ş. (2020). Effect of a group leader training program on the group counseling skills of psychological counselor candidates. International Journal of Human and Behavioral Science, 6(2), 1-11.
Bhagat, V., Haque, M., & Jaalam, K. (2018). Enrich schematization in children: Play as the tool for cognitive development. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 8(7), 128-131.
Hallis, L., Cameli, L., Bekkouche, N. S., & Knäuper, B. (2017). Combining cognitive therapy with acceptance and commitment therapy for depression: A group therapy feasibility study. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 31(3), 171–190.
Hauber, K., Boon, A. E., & Vermeiren, R. (2019). Therapeutic factors that promote recovery in high-risk adolescents intensive group psychotherapeutic MBT programme. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 13(2).
Verhoeven, M., Poorthuis, A. M. G., & Volman, M. (2019). The role of school in adolescents’ identity development. A literature review. Educational Psychology Review, 31(1), 35-63.
Jacobs, E. E., Masson, R. L., Harvill, R. L., & Schimmel, C. J. (2012). Group counseling: Strategies and skills (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.