Therapeutic Factors In Group Counseling

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A common therapeutic factor that is regularly used within group counseling is imitative behavior. This means that the clients are asked to imitate the healthy behaviors they see from either the group leader or other group members. By modeling their behaviors after someone else, this trial-like process enables them to discover what behaviors work well for them as individuals. It also demonstrates great learning and intrapersonal growth. Research has shown that group leaders alone exert a powerful influence on the communication patterns of group members by modeling certain behaviors. For example, counselors model active listening, giving nonjudgmental feedback, and offering support. Ideally, over time, members pick up on these behaviors and …show more content…
Several aspects must be formed first before any imitative exercises should be done; such as trusting relationships between the leader and other members, previous exploration of one’s self, exploration of what they want to change, and appreciation for the cultural diversity amongst the group. Several exercises that I think can be incorporated into group therapy for this purpose could be to encourage members to share about either recent events or past struggles that continue to impact them and ask members to recognize the similarity within the group. Meaning that as one group member shares, others are encouraged to reflect on times they have had similar experiences, thoughts or feelings. So as one member shares about a time where have felt isolated by family members, the leader could ask other members to raise their hands and share the common experience. Paying attention to how each person responds/behaves differently in similar situations; discussing those actions aloud and encouraging self-exploration about why they made the decision to react rather than respond or vice versa. A second way to evoke imitative behaviors could be to practice and experiment with new behaviors. This allows learners to try new behaviors and practice new skills within context of a judgement free zone and supportive learning environment. There is also the opportunity for suggestions and feedback from other learners. Meaning, while members are practicing a new skill, the leader could assist them and say “see how Joey is looking Maria in the eyes, nodding his head to show her he’s paying attention, but keeps his comments to himself until she has finished speaking her thought? Why don’t you try to focus on letting your partner finish sharing their thoughts before interrupting them mid-sentence to offer your support.” Similar to helping members turn

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