Group Counseling

My practice includes group counseling in South Jersey.

The groups are largely homogeneous — members have similar issues. The focus is firmly on the “here and now” so that our work is conducted in the present moment. This discourages clients from dwelling on the past or worrying excessively about the future.

My model for group counseling in South Jersey borrows from The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvan D.Yallom and the parent/child/adult conception of the Transactional Analysts.

Why attend group counseling rather than individual counseling? Some clients are uncomfortable with one-one-one interaction. And there are a range of curative factors that are unique to group. As described by Yallom, these include:

Universality – we share many common issues
Installation of Hope – we can surmount our challenges and personal growth can continue throughout our lives
Altruism – it feels good to help others
Socializing Techniques – the group serves as a microcosm of the larger society
Group Cohesion – a dynamic that parallels individual relationships

Transactional analysis identifies three basic aspects of ourselves: the “parent” or rule-maker/conscious, the “child” or emotional self and the “adult” or thinking/planning self.

Problem behavior generally results when we call on our “child” to make important life decisions. That’s because decision-making needs to come from our thoughtful adult.

As facilitator, I provide guidance toward greater client self-discovery. I avoid telling people how to think, how to feel or how to behave — except when it comes to matters of group safety.

There’s currently very little of this type of group counseling in South Jersey. Most groups are designed to treat specific addictions, domestic violence and a wide range of diagnosed mental “disorders”. Members of these groups are generally court ordered and have little or no motivation to grow.

My groups are voluntary and my interactions are almost exclusively “adult to adult”. I believe strongly that clients have all the inner wisdom they need to meet their challenges.