Conducting Great Counseling Groups

Conducting Great Counseling Groups

Group Processing Strategies That Challenge and Heal



James D. Sutton, EdD

P.O. Box 672

Pleasanton, TX 78064

(830) 569-3586


Program Focus:

This program relates to specialized instruction for conducting counseling or process groups with children and adolescents.

Participant Benefits:

–Experience increased effectiveness of your time and resources.

–Utilize the perspective and experience of peers for both confrontation and support.

¬†–Observe how youngsters become empowered to assist one another in and out of the group setting.


Needs Addressed by this Program:

Although children and adolescents do respond to individual support and counseling, they typically respond best to the feedback and input from other youngsters with similar problems, conflicts, and concerns. Many times, a youngster is better able to handle confrontation and support when it is comes from peers. With this in mind, this program presents a rationale, strategies, and a structure for reaching children and adolescents effectively through shared group experiences and processing.

Intended Audience of this Program:

Counselors, social workers, school nurses, teachers, special education personnel, residential facility staff, youth ministers, drug awareness specialists, and other child service professionals.

Program Objectives:

Through this workshop and materials, participants will be able to:

1. Grasp the value of a structured program of group processing for young people.

2. Express the benefits of acceptance, approval and affirmation available through the group experience.

3. Apply the three “requirements” of group membership, as well as 8 specific opportunities that membership affords each youngster.

4. Identify eight characteristics that make an effective group leader.

5. Optimize the logistics for great groups (permission, environment, seating, etc.).

6. Deal effectively with issue of confidentiality.

7. Handle disruptive members, while encouraging shy and withdrawn ones.

8. Adhere to three necessary rules for group.

9. Understand the three common behaviors of “first-timers” to the group.

10. Teach and expand two powerful models for understanding the nature of feelings and the process of healing.

11. Benefit from using the “tools” of whispering, humor, confrontation, questioning, and “power-passing” in group processing.

12. Encourage compliance through the use of “Starters” and “Directions.”

13. Utilize three structured formats for the first group, the second group, and subsequent groups.

14. Practice new skills by participating in a sample group experience.

Program Description:

Many times, children and adolescents respond more favorably to group experiences than to individual support. Utilizing lecture, audio-visual aids, case examples, and an actual demonstration of group processing, this program addresses the task of helping the counselor, teacher, social worker, or other child service professional to set up powerful process groups with children and adolescents. Specific attention is dedicated to the skills of logistics, of establishing rapport, and of quickly getting past “surface” issues and into real problems and concerns. Issues of confrontation, providing feedback, and completion of “Directions” are also covered.

NOTE: This program acknowledges the fact that there can be a connection between a youngster and a dysfunctional family system. This connection can involve drug/alcohol abuse or dependency, as well as other compulsive disorders. For this reason, this program is an excellent one for professionals working in the field of drug/alcohol awareness.

Qualifications of the Presenter:

James D. Sutton, EdD

Texas Psychologist License # 2790

Texas Professional Counselor License # 06979

Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology # 6154

Texas Education Agency certifications–see vita

Certified Speaking Professional

Credit Hours Granted:

This program was developed to provide six (6) clock hours of credit.

 Program Agenda:

8:30 — 10:00


The Group Experience

(How and why it works so well)

10:00 — 10:15


10:15 — 12:00

Healing, the Ultimate Corporate Act

Issues for Effectiveness

12:00 — 1:00


1:00 — 2:15

Setting Up Your Group

Live! (Doing a sample group)

2:15 — 2:30


2:30 — 4:00

Live! (Continuation of sample group)

Questions and Answers