Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Choose either your textbook readings or assigned group articles and respond as follows: Jacobs, Ma | Max paper


Choose either your textbook readings or assigned group articles and respond as follows:

Jacobs, Masson, & Harvil: (Ch. 7, 12, 16)

Brown, N (2009).Counterproductive group member behaviors, Becoming an effective group leader. Pearson.

Stockton, R., Morran, D.K., & Nitza, A. G. (2000). Processing group events: A conceptual map  for leaders. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 25, 343-355.

Connections: How do the textbook readings or article readings connect to what you have already learned in class or to your experiences prior to this class?

Challenges: How do the readings or articles challenge your thinking or beliefs?  What new ideas extend or broaden your thinking in new directions?

Concepts: Identify the top 3-5 key concepts that are important to remember from your readings this week.  Please define each concept.   

Changes: What changes in your attitudes, thinking, or action would you need to make to apply what is suggested in your readings?

Professor comments on last assignment “I wish that you elaborated a little more on your thinking related to your reading.” Please she wants you to elaborate more..



Person-Centered Approach

to Group Work

Small Group Process for the Health

Fall 2016

Laurette Olson Ph.D. OTR/L FAOTA

Key concepts and Assumptions of

the Person-Centered Approach to


Clients are basically trustworthy and have the
potential for self-direction. Because of this, there
is a minimum of directions on the part of the
leader. Too much direction would undermine
respect for group members.

Emphasizes personal qualities of group leader
rather than techniques for leading the group.
The leader creates a CLIMATE where healing
can occur.

Key concepts and assumptions

Genuineness, unconditional positive regard and
empathic understanding of members’ subjective
world are the core therapeutic conditions for

External measures such as diagnosis, testing,
interpretation, advice giving are not useful for
group work.

Group members are the central focus of the
group. Group members are as facilitative or
more facilitative of the group process than the
group leader.

(Corey, 2000)


Leader Functions

Conveying Warmth and Empathy

Attending to Others

Understanding Meaning and Intents

Conveying Acceptance


The Leader adopts what Rogers called “the therapist’s
hypothesis”. This is the belief that the capacity for self-
insight, problem-solving, and growth resides in the
clients. This means that the central questions for the
therapist are not ‘What can I do for the person or group
members? or even “How do I see these group members”
but rather “How does these group members see
themselves and their situation?”


Fundamental Components of

Leader/therapist attributes

Acceptance, Respect and Positive Regard

Being Authentic and Congruent



Expressed verbally and nonverbally though
messages such as “I follow you,” “I’m with you”
or “I understand,” empathy is the Therapist’s
(listener’s) effort to hear the other person deeply,
accurately, and non-judgmentally. A person who
sees that a therapist (listener) is really trying to
understand his or her meanings will be willing to
explore his or her problems and self more

Empathy is surprisingly difficult to achieve. We
all have a strong tendency to advise, tell, agree,
or disagree from our own point of view.

Empathy in a group

Is a shared responsibility and a resource for the


Primary task of a group leader to model empathy

and encourage members to be empathic. It

contributes to the development of cohesion and

for a group to be productive by building trust and

safety, forging connections among members,

making members feel included, encouraging

emotional expression and promoting a

willingness to engage in self-exploration.

If a leader want to build

therapeutic alliances, help

members feel better, solve

problems, improve

relationships, and change


the leader needs to demonstrate high

levels of empathy for group members.


The capacity to be empathic

An openness to experience

An awareness of here and now feelings.

Emotional regulation and control

Psychological boundary strength

The skill of accurately expressing what you are

experiencing and feeling

Trust in self to differentiate experiences from

own personal issues (projection, transference)

Ability to recognize empathic failures and repair


Psychological Boundary

Your psychological boundary is where you

end and others begin.

Group members may have poor

psychological boundaries, it is important

as a leader to work on your own


Leaders who have issues with

psychological boundaries may:

Push members for deeper disclosures

than they are ready to share.

Insist that members do what the leader

tells them to do.

Become enraged when attacked,

criticized, or charged with an error.

Do things that are intrusive to members.


How does a new leader/therapist

develop empathy?

1. Be present-centered: Bring all attention to

what is currently taking place in the group and

with members.

2. Limit thoughts about the past or future

3. Limit trying to anticipate what you will need or

want to say. Carefully consider what you say, but

make your response a result of the present.

4. Be aware of your inner experience in the

present so that you can use it to better understand

the present: what is currently happening.

Developing Empathy

5. Work to consciously “sense” the inner world of different

members. Don’t jump from member to member, but stay

focused on the person who is speaking or a member who is

currently most focal to you. The more you practice, the

more proficient you will become in listening to content and

tuning in to the emotional piece of a person’s message.

6. Sit patiently and allow others to organize their thoughts.

Use active listening to help, but it is NOT empathic to

interrupt a speaker, finish the sentences of others, or tell

another what you believe that they are thinking.

Developing Empathy

Resist giving answers or advice

including proposing solutions or

alternatives, making decisions

for another.


What might an empathic failure

look like?
1. No responses were given to what a member


2. The topic was changed.

3. You became bored

4. Your mind drifted from the group and thought

about about there and then concerns.

5. You reacted something as trivial and

unimportant when another thought that it was


When there is an empathic failure, the

leader & group needs to:


Identify the empathic failure

Act to repair the empathic failure


Closely related to empathy. Acceptance means

having respect for a person for simply being a

person. Acceptance should be as unconditional

as possible. This means that the listener should

avoid expressing agreement or disagreement

with what the other person says. This attitude

encourages the other person to be less

defensive and to explore aspects of self and the

situation that they might otherwise keep hidden



Refers to openness, frankness, and genuineness on the
part of the listener. The congruent listener is in touch
with themselves. If angry or irritated, for example, the
congruent person admits to having this feeling rather
than pretending not to have it (perhaps because they are
trying to be accepting). They communicate what they
feel and know, rather than hiding behind a mask. Candor
on the part of the listener tends to evoke candor in the
speaker. When one person comes out from behind a
facade, the other is more likely to as well.

In some cases, the principle of congruence can be at
odds with the principles of empathy and acceptance.

Rogers’ definition of

Refers to focusing on specifics rather than vague
generalities. Often, a person who is has a problem will
avoid painful feelings by being abstract or impersonal,
using expressions like “sometimes there are situations
that are difficult” (which is vague and abstract), or “most
people want…” (which substitutes others for oneself).
The listener can encourage concreteness by asking the
speaker to be more specific. Foe example, instead of a
agreeing with a statement like “You just can’t trust a
manager. They care about themselves first and you
second”, you can ask what specific incident the speaker
is referring to.

Active Listening is

being able to hear and

understand direct and indirect

communication and conveying

your understanding to the other



Active listening Advantages:

Increases the listener’s understanding of
the other person

Help the speaker clarify his/her thoughts

Reassure the other that someone is willing

to attend to his or her point of view and

wants to help.

Active listening skills

– Reflection of feeling or content

– Paraphrasing

– Clarifying and questioning

– summarizing

– Support and encouraging

Reflection of Feeling or Content

A key point is that perceived feelings

should be clearly identified and labeled.

Same purposes as paraphrasing.


Developing Reflecting Skills is critical

Why: Because people do not always say

what they mean and leaders don’t always

understand what they hear.

Guidelines for Reflecting

Identify the underlying message and name

the emotion that you hear

Be tentative and paraphrase to check for


Be alert to connections or links to other



Paraphrasing: restating what has been

said without parroting.

Provides a speaker the opportunity to

clear up any misunderstanding.

Helps with reflecting on content

Reduces confusion and misunderstanding

that can easily occur.


Using Paraphrasing when

A speaker is overly general and more

specificity is needed.

A speaker’s comments suggest examples

of a topic to you. Examples can provide


Complicated directions are given or

complex ideas are shared.

Clarifying and Questioning

Clarifying goes with reflecting.

It illuminates intent and provides clearer


Developing Questioning Skills

Learn when not to ask questions. In some

situations, it is more helpful to make

statements than to ask questions.

Become aware of your habit or tendency

related to asking questions is an important

step in learning.


Questions: Don’ts and Do’s

Beware of asking too many questions. People

can feel attacked and may not experience the

questions as a display of interest but a hostile


Be conscious that many questions are

statements that signal what the speaker wants to

hear or feels is important.

Questions are important and can be very


– Use questions for gathering facts and

initiating clarifications


Tying together key elements that were


Encouraging and supporting

Being too supportive is counterproductive

and promotes dependency.


Strategies for encouraging and support

Focus on how members have made positive movements

and developments on their problems or concerns

Become aware of positive changes and shifts members


Demonstrate your faith in members’ abilities and

competencies by your words and actions

Solicit and consider members’ input

Listen to ideas that may be off beat or different, don’t

discourage new ideas.

Try to use a part of everyone’s input

Some Common Mistakes when

practicing active listening:

Stereotyped Reactions. Constantly repeating a phrase like “you feel
that …” or “you’re saying that …”
Pretending Understanding. If you get lost, say “sorry, I didn’t get
that. What are you saying?”.

Overreaching. Ascribing meanings that go far beyond what the other
has exprcssed, such as by giving psychological explanations or by
stating interpretations that the other considers to be exaggerated or
otherwise inaccurate.

Under-reaching. Repeatedly missing the fcelings that the other
conveys or making responses that understate them.

Long-windedness, Giving very long or complex responses. These
emphasize the listener’s massive effort to undcrstand more than
they clarifv the other person’s point of view. Short, simple responses
are more effective.

Inattention to nonverbal cues. Facing or leaning away
from the other, not maintaining eye contact, looking
tense, or presenting a “closed” posture by crossing the
arms arc only a few of the nonverbal cues a listener
should avoid. “Correct” verbal responses arc of little use
when accompanied by nonverbal signals that contradict

Violating the other person’s expectations. Giving
reflective responses when they are clearly not
appropriate to the situation. For example, if the other
person asks a direct question and obviously expects an
answer, simply answering the question is often best. In
other words, if someone says: “what time is it?” you
don’t usually say “You’re feeling concern about the


Other Skills:

Reframing and Redirecting
When you reframe, you repeat what

someone said and giving it another

perspective. Very useful when the

speaker focuses on deficiencies,

weaknesses or mistakes

Redirecting is similar to reframing, but you

are actively asking the person to go in

another direction.

Another Skill for Group

Leadership: Blocking
• Skill used to protect group members from

attacks or proceeding in the wrong way. Could

be interpreted as redirecting, but the term

blocking is used when emotional intensity is high

or displaced onto other members. Blocking is

also useful when a group member rambles and

tells long stories instead of being focused or

getting to the point.

• Blocking must be done carefully.

Another Skill: Linking

Helps especially when a discussion

appears to be disjointed, fragmented or


It is bringing together underlying ideas,

themes, concepts, understandings when

the associations are not apparent on the



Questions to ponder about yourself as

a leader using active listening in the

beginning stage of a group

Do you talk too much or too soon?

Are you concerned with answers more than

Are you quick to give advice?

Do you ask many closed ended questions?

Do you like being directive?

Do you tend to listen subjectively to confirm your
hunches about people?

How much attention do you pay to subtle
meanings behind content and words?

Corey 2000

In the working stage, questions to

Can you tolerate the expression of negative
feelings within a group including accepting those
feelings directed at you?

Are you able and willing to share your own
reactions in an appropriate manner with group

Can you be yourself or is your professional role
central to your identity within a group?

Do you trust members with your feelings and tell
them how they are affecting you?

(Corey, 2000)

In the final stages, questions to


Are you able to facilitate rather than direct

a group?

Can you be supportive and confrontive?

Can you be nurturing and challenging at

the same time?

Corey, 2000


Key References

Brown, N. W. (1998). Psychoeducational

Groups. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Brown, N.W. (2009). Becoming a Group

Leader. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson


Corey, G. (2000). Theory and Practice of

Group Counseling 5th Edition. Wadsworth.

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