Group counseling in accordance to gestalt theory
Group counseling is where people benefit from experiences that they share together in a group. It is a form of therapy where people meet together in order to address the problems that they are facing as individuals then they share them together in order to look for the solutions. According to gestalt theoretical approach people involved in the group counseling groups are assisted to be aware of what they are currently working on, the way in which they are doing it and what they can do to bring a change to their lives as well as other peoples’ lives. Group counseling makes people develop more skills as well as increasing their confidence. It majorly involves a group of people commonly in small numbers who come up with their own certain objectives share their problems, provide empathy and support to the others and also in turn try and change the behaviors that are challenging in their life . The group members involved in group counseling is also assisted in developing their already existing skills so as to be able to deal with their interpersonal problems. Group counseling is commonly used in schools, colleges and universities, mental health clinics and other human service agencies. These assist the people in these places to come up with solutions to their problems. Normally, group counseling is aimed at focusing on a certain issue for example stress management. The manager of the group counseling is a therapist who manages the group but all members make their contributions which are taken to consideration because they are part of the group and that they share the same issues. Gestalt theoretical approach makes each person believe that he or she is a potentially health person with all material that can be used to give satisfaction in life (Corey, 2012). In group counseling the leader should be able to reach each individual both at individual and group levels. This makes every group member comfortable and confident while sharing or addressing a certain problem.
Some ethical issues involved in group counseling
There are major issues that should be done in group counseling that demonstrate ethics and enhance continuation and strength of the group. These issues are helpful to the individuals of the group. Demonstration of respect and honesty to all members of the group from the leaders is one key issue which promotes cooperation. Leaving the group by any member should have a concrete reason to the leader but not leaving anyhow without a notice. Another key ethical issue is that the responsibilities of each group member should be emphasized by the leaders. Some of these responsibilities are openness in the group, being able to provide feedbacks, punctuality and regularity in attending whenever there is a meeting held. Finally, the group members should observe confidentiality in the group with issues that are shared by friends (Ehly & Dustin, 1989).
Gestalt approach in group counseling
In accordance to gestalt theory, the members are taught on how to accept themselves in the way they are as well as giving value to themselves. Gestalt theoretical approach applied in group counseling has been proved to be one of the most effective in situations where time is a limiting factor. It is majorly applied in different kinds of problems which happen to common with children, adolescents, and adults. Group counseling provides opportunities to these groups of people for experimenting with ideas, behaviors or personality quirks (Woldt & Toman, n.d.).
Counseling techniques using gestalt theory
In gestalt theory there are various techniques that are used in order to achieve the objectives of the counseling group. The leader of the group should use certain techniques which create awareness within the group. One of them is making observations within the group. Other techniques used can be use of exaggeration awareness experiments, unfinished business, reversals, using fantasy approaches and use of rehearsal. One of the major counseling techniques is the empty chair technique. This involves the client addressing an empty chair as if there was a person sitting on it. This kind of technique focuses on assisting a client to explore him or herself. It is made use of by therapists in order to assist patients in self adjustment. The use of unfinished business is a technique whereby anything that concerns about the past is not expressed during counseling. This is where things like rage, hatred, pain, anxiety, grief, guilt, abandonment as well s resentment are not expressed as they take the client to deep thought or more stress. This may make the counseling session difficult such that the client cannot express herself to share out his orb her problems. The other counseling technique is the exaggeration technique whereby Counselors involved in counseling session exaggerates mannerism of client or asks the client to exaggerate mannerism in order to make client aware of true feelings (Ash, 1995).
Challenges and opportunities in group counseling
Challenges in group counseling occur both to the client and the counselor. There are several challenges that arise in group counseling. One of the major challenges faced by counselors is the failure of the client to open up to speak his or her problem. The openness of the client during a counseling session depends on the counseling technique used and the level of experience of the counselor. Foe example beginners may face a lot of challenges because they may not have enough experience to handle different types of clients (Gazda, 1978).
Again the technique used determines whether the client will open up or not. It is important that counselors have different ways to approach clients so as to encourage them to share their problems. This will enable them get their solutions. This creates difficultness in the counseling session as the counselor will not be able to know how to handle the client. Some of these are; unaware assumptions, attitudes and beliefs created on other group members including the group leaders. Another challenge in counseling is insufficiency of knowledge by the counselor. This limits counseling in that the client may not be able to get solutions to his or her problems hence goes back with the same problem. In this case counselors should ensure that they have adequate knowledge in counseling so as to help the clients. Other challenges include time limitation, where the counseling session may be too short for the counselor to carry out effective counseling. Lack of privacy and confidentiality with counselor may discourage clients from sharing their problems. Lack of respect between the counselor and the client may lead to ineffective counseling. This is common with male counselors who may be handling female clients. The counselor may use ways to console the client which may be unethical and hence may make the client to lose confidence with the counselor of vice versa (Houston, 2003).
On the other hand, counseling has enhanced several opportunities in the society. For example, counseling done by professional has improved from performing to active provision of education and mental health care to clients who posses different capabilities. Counseling has aided in provision of respect for human dignity and diversity in most of the professional activities. Counseling has also provided employment opportunities because it has now become a profession (Corey, 2012).
From the discussion it can be concluded that, counseling is one of the most important activities that should be carried out to assist individuals who undergo several problems. The problems that arise in counseling should be addressed so as to assist individuals in the society. Educators also should give enough knowledge to the counselors to avoid insufficiency in counseling sessions. It is also important to address some of the ethical issues to be practiced during counseling to avoid the clients losing confidence.
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