severe mental illness typically take place H u m a n i t i e s

severe mental illness typically take place H u m a n i t i e s

Discussion #1 Introduction

Kristin C.

This student is looking forward to this course and learning to effectively run group therapy sessions. She wishes to learn the necessary skills for group therapy and is interested in learning how typical psychotherapy modalities are applied in a group setting.

While this student does not possess any previous experiences with group therapy, she has plenty of experience in her current and previous professions teaching and supervising groups of 15-24 children from Pre-K to second grade ages. Her most recent experience is in a 1st grade classroom, now 2nd grade, as teachers in her school “looped” or moved to the next grade with their class from last year due to the unprecedented shutdown last spring due to Covid-19. This student loves working with children and has seen first-hand the social, emotional, and psychological influence of other children and adults outside the family which is provided in the group classroom setting. Emotional or adjustment problems predispose students and children to develop maladaptive study habits and poor attitudes towards academic work that can lead to a rejection of the teacher’s authority, lack of achievement, and rejection of authority in society (Berg et al., 2013). The prevention of these maladaptive habits and academic experiences through healthy and positive social experiences in the classroom with peers and teachers can enable children to acquire the educational experiences essential for them to make positive contributions to themselves and society (Berg et al., 2013). This writer has found that the interactions students receive from the group classroom setting allows children to develop adaptive or maladaptive skills and mindsets as they discover others, develop interpersonal awareness, and begin to define themselves, much as one does during group therapy.


Berg, R. C., Fall, K. A., & Landreth, G. L. (2013). Group Counseling : Concepts and Procedures: Vol. 5th ed. Routledge.

Michael B.

I have some experience in running groups, but it has been primarily out of a set curriculum. When I first entered human services, I was frequently tasked with running a substance abuse group through a Cognitive-Behavioral workbook curriculum. Doing those groups, I often felt clumsy and unprepared as the conversations became more in-depth and questions expanded outside of the curriculum’s scope. My experience in running a therapeutic group correctly is minimal, and I would really like to learn how to run the most effective groups I can. For example, I work on an ACT team here in Connecticut, and we have talked about developing stage-wise groups for substance use disorders and groups for our clients with severe mental illness. Knowing the best approaches for different types of groups is one of my main goals for this class.

According to Caruso et al. (2013), group interventions for clients with severe mental illness typically take place and share similar characteristics such as providing the members and opportunity to learn about themselves and their interpersonal and intra-psychic function by creating a safe atmosphere that encourages interaction and invited reflection (Caruso et al., 2013). Another type of group that I would like to facilitate is psycho-education groups such as a wellness group that provides clients with information about their psychiatric disorders, pharmacological treatments, and other healthy living components such as exercise and nutrition (Caruso et al., 2013).

As Berg, Fall, and Landreth (2013) point out, one rationale for providing group therapy is an expedient method for meeting the needs of ever-growing caseloads, but this has not motivated working with groups. Gazda, et al. (2001) asserts that group counseling can provide individuals with the opportunity to learn to function effectively and to develop a tolerance for stress and anxiety and to find ways to develop satisfaction in social and professional relationships (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). The latter rationale is what I have been more in line with my experiences in facilitating groups. From this week’s reading, I also feel that group therapy is a valuable outlet for clients who might feel intimidated by one-to-one counseling because it offers a degree of anonymity (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Some group members may begin to feel anxious or fearful, and the group allows the client to remain completely involved by considering what the other members share (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). I have seen this occur many times, and I can relate to the value that the group provides these group participants. every week


Berg, C., Fall, A., & Landreth, L. (2013). Group counseling: Concepts and procedures: Vol. 5th ed. Routledge.

Caruso, R., Grassi, L., Biancosino, B., Marmai, L., Bonatti, L., Moscara, M., Rigatelli, M., Carr, C., & Priebe, S. (2013). Explored experiences in therapeutic groups for patients with severe mental illness: development of the Ferrara group experiences scale (FE- GES). BMC Psychiatry, 13, 242.

Discussion #2 Theory

Gloria M

The first theory in which absolutely value and can be used in therapy regardless of suggestive strategies is the Person-Centered theory established by Carl Rogers (Berg, Landreth & Fall, 2013). This theory emphasized the importance of asserting core conditions vital to human progression. As we all may know Person Centered therapy surrounds the concept of unconditional regard amongst various other unique aspects such as empathy, genuineness and active listening. This theory also holds the client as the expert and is one of the considerably less directive orientations of therapy. This theory would be perfect to use as a group leader in virtually in setting because it allows the clients to gain awareness of not only the power they have over their destiny, as well as insight on how truly loving, empathetic and supportive the setting in which they are expected to share their most intrusive and traumatizing experiences is (Berg, Landreth & Fall, 2013). Person centered therapy allows for an environment where the client is accepted for who they are and no matter how challenging the journey ahead is the counselor is constantly reassuring the client in their progression while also providing a gentle push towards a healthier lifestyle. Carl Rogers formed a model of stages which are specific for development of the group with respect to the core conditions of PCT. These steps allow for a semi-structures method to be established in order to promote and facilitate a progressive experience with each client while also showing respect to the non-directive aspect of PCT as well. Overall, PCT is exceptional in facilitating growth, independence and positive exploration in therapy.

In fact, in a study where the health behaviors of clients were assessed in terms of intervention through person centered values the results supports the idea that motivational encouragement and gentle guidance were indeed effective in the promotion of health behaviors (Worawong, Borden, Cooper, Pérez, & Lauver, 2018). It is a common reality that when servicing the community in any form of health care and/or professionalism the clients motives for healthy behaviors can differ drastically from the professionals. This, of course, is not desirable in any situation. That is why the promotion of positive reinforcement and motivational encouragement is exceptional because it shows the client the desired or more healthy lifestyle without making them first feel bad about what they are doing wrong, while also not strong-arming them into seeing things your way. Nevertheless, one possible limitation can arise in the sense that no matter how much inspirational talking you do, or how much motivational encouragement is given some people still lack the desire and/or courage to become the healthiest possible person they can be (Worawong, Borden, Cooper, Pérez, & Lauver, 2018).

The second theory in which I found applicable to my future as a professional counselor is the Gestalt theory. Gestalt emphasized the here and now, which I absolutely connect with on so many levels. Although I am no professional counselor (yet), I have come across many distressed individuals who draw too much focus on their past mistakes, interactions and even successes. Therefore, this fixation has been an increasing and consistent issue for their current state because those actions and/or experiences no longer benefit their present self. While we all can agree on the benefits of drawing focus on a client’s past, such as analyzing their childhood experiences, or analyzing their experiences with a caregiver, too much focus on the past, which is unchangeable at this point in life, is pointless. While the aspect of Adlers’ (1956) approach pertaining to viewing every action as a meaningful occurrence is also insightful, even this outlook can create tension and anxiety within certain cohorts (Berg, Landreth & Fall, 2013). This is why Gestalts theory of keeping the client focused and encouraged to literally live in the moment and develop in life with the mindset of essentially “how can I improve my tomorrow?” is supportive for virtually any circumstance. This is also great for group therapy because it allows the group to confront, accept and move on from their hindering behaviors with the knowledge that it is never too late to keep working on yourself. Altogether many of the therapies mentioned throughout this text are applicable to group sessions but as a group leader I believe Gestalt and Carl express two of the more genuine, self-advocating and effective forms of therapy for emotionally vulnerable, yet large group settings.


Berg, R., Landreth, G. L., & Fall, K. A. (2013). Group counseling: Concepts and procedures. New York: Routledge.

Worawong, C., Borden, M. J., Cooper, K. M., Pérez, O. A., & Lauver, D. (2018). Evaluation of a Person-Centered, Theory-Based Intervention to Promote Health Behaviors. Nursing Research, 67(1), 6-15.

Darren E.

Hello class and Professor

After viewing the required reading the two theories that the writer will use in his career will first be the Person-Centered

theory. This theory allows the members to flow in the direction the atmosphere will go, only being influenced by the counselor

and not being controlled by the counselor. The counselor must show a certain level of care during the group sessions to help

keep the members motivated in their recovery process because they start to believe in themselves and other members of the group.

Berg, Fall, & Landreth, (2013, p. 23), states that Carl Rogers, person-centered group therapy can be labelled by the atmosphere

of the group as influenced by the counselor. The counselor must be congruent and show the core conditions of empathy, genuineness,

and positive reinforcement toward the group members. If the counselor can identify with the group within the three conditions,

a atmosphere of growth will be established that will enable the members to reach their own potentials.

Person-Centered theory gives the power of the therapy and the direction it will go to the members of thye group instead of

the group being dictated on how to think or behave during and after the group. A good quality that this theory will help this writer to

possess, is to care about each member in the group. This will gain a level of rapport with the members and have them to believe that

somebody love them. According to Ackerman, (2020) person-centered theory os a non-directive form of talk therapy, meaning that

it allows the client to control the conversation and the counselor does not try to direct the conversation in any way. This approach rests

on one important quality; non stop positive regard. This means the counselor refrains from judging the member for any reason,

providing a source of complete acceptance and support (Cherry, 2007).

The other theory that the writer will use in his career when providing group therapy sessions is the Adlerian theory. This

theory focuses on allowing the members of the group to become social with each other because their communication will be their

strength and healing process. This is another theory that will give the members of the group the control over their healing process

while growing a relationship with each other that will help them support each other. Berg, Fall, & Landreth, (2013, p. 23) states that

adlerian approach focuses on each member as a holistic, talkative being, whose every action has a purpose. The counselor can observe

each member’s behavior to be able to get a clearer understanding of the behavior. From an Adlerian perspective, the group acts as a

social laboratory, because all change occurs in a social context, the group is a perfect place to encourage behavior change.

These two theories can work together hand in hand because they help the members of the group to realize they have control

over their process, only needing somebody to help bring out what they had inside the entire time. The members for whatever

reason didn’t believe they had the solution to their problems, but these two theories help them to understand themselves so they can

change their behavior. According to Watts, (2014). Adlerian theory asserts that human construct, manufacturer, or narratize ways of

viewing and experiencing the world. It is an optimistic, positive psychological theory affirming that humans are not determined by

heredity and environment. Rather, they are creative, proactive, meaning-making beings, with the ability to choose and to be

responsible for their choices.


Ackerman, C. (2020). 10 Person-Centered therapy techniques inspired by Carl Rogers [+PDF].

Michael B

One concept important to diversity and social justice is that of naivety (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). When groups function in a state of naivety, the group members lack awareness of how diversity issues impact the interpersonal interactions within the group (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Within the naive group, the facilitator will assume that all interactions are universal and equal and dedicate little to no group time on conflict or feedback to social justice constructs (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Group leaders functioning in the dimension of naivety define their group as effective regardless of multicultural variables such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, or religion (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). A group operating in naivety risks group members that do not feel understood or valued, feelings of oppression, and group stagnation (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013).

Another important concept is multicultural integration, where the group leader more fully recognizes the richness of each member’s cultural elements (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). In multicultural integrated groups, group leaders view and help group members experience the richness associated with each group member feeling comfortable to share in the group experience (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). When each member is encouraged to share their cultural identity, those identities are interwoven into the group’s flow. They can focus on group and individual goals (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Each group member’s identity is honored and explored; the group leader needs to consider their own place within the group and consider how their identity is being perceived by the group and may represent an opportunity to share the power with the entire group (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013).

Perhaps the most important concept is that of empowerment (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). In the dimension of empowerment, the group leader helps create an atmosphere that promotes self-advocacy (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Through efforts to empower group members, the members often find their voice and develop the confidence and skills required to become self-sufficient (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013). Because the group is a microcosm of the greater community, the group offers clients the opportunity to learn and develop self-advocacy skills that can then be applied outside of the group (Berg, Fall & Landreth, 2013).

As a future group leader, this writer will understand how his values and beliefs will impact the entire group. During this unit, this writer has learned not to operate out of naivety and to strive to celebrate and honor each group member’s identity and celebrate what they bring to the group. This writer values multicultural integration and the importance of the empowerment of each member. For this reason, this writer fully believes in developing multicultural groups that understand the absolute importance that each member’s identity brings to one another. A homogeneous group with little diversity robs each member of the opportunity to learn and grow from somebody different from them.


Berg, R. C., Fall, K. A., & Landreth, G. L. (2013). Group counseling : Concepts and procedures: Vol. 5th ed. Routledge.

Gloria M.

There are various essential concepts which are pertinent to diversity and social justice to the whole group. However a demand of the presence and awareness of ethic diversity into the mental health profession is the most valuable concept not only in the counseling profession, but in the world altogether. One of the psychologists within the video expresses the vitality of increasing awareness and diversity within the counseling field in order to avoid malpractices such as bias, racial microaggression and even pathologization (AGPA, 2013). This is exceptional to the diversity and social justice fight because it targets the, sometimes unconscious, yet still damaging reality of how people outside of a specific culture add to the disrespectful and prejudiced insults associated with diversity. People of color arguably have the most persistent and blatant forms of microaggression throughout their daily lives due to years of racism, segregation and overall disrespect. This has led to the unfair, and commonly automatic assumption about people of color based on what is visible on the outside, rather than what these individuals truly have to offer. The first speaker perfectly exemplifies this reality by explaining her southern background and immigrant status prior to expressing how many people only view her as an Asian rather than the first classification she categorizes herself by (AGPA, 2013). This occurs everyday , but mainly towards specific groups of people and even when these insults, or microaggressions are not intended to be harmful they still do contribute to the already challenging obstacles which impact the mental wellbeing of people’s daily lives. Passing judgement unconsciously is one of the purest forms of ignorance in which society as a whole, as well as individualism has surely influenced over the generations. Pathologizing people as being inferior, aggressive, or susceptible to mental diseases purely based on their differences is also a huge issue which should be addressed in counseling. This can be done by the professional as well as the participating members of the group and that is why it is always essential to pinpoint and address even the smallest forms of racial/diverse isolations and/or bias within the group. Showing people of the true nature and diversity amongst others, especially people from the same social and/or cultural groups, can actively minimize the ignorance and prejudice within the world (Berg, Landreth & Fall, 2013). Calling out injustices in a group setting may seem harmful and isolative but failure to address issues such as racial differences is not beneficial in the long run either. In fact, it can create an unspoken dynamic of discriminatory acceptance which will surely impact some participants more intensely and negatively than others. Nevertheless, there are calm and successful ways in which these differences and poor judgement can be handled in any setting without totally embarrassing any participant. As explained in the text, failing to address the underlying issues of systemic racism and prejudice will never make everyone feel secure and heard in reality. Even if the problem persists to the point of total blatant disrespect, it is in the best interests of the entire group to set aside a time to assist the individual in learning precisely how their behavior is detrimental to the overall dynamic of therapy, but more importantly the world.

However, there are also instances where people who are labeled as bigots or racists do not want to see the errors in their ways and that is another entire challenge to tackle. Altogether, diversity is not something that can be avoided and therefore it MUST be addressed and respected by all even in the unfortunate reality whereas the aggressor does not truly accept these differences. As an aspiring professional I have much work ahead of me pertaining to the diverse and social justice of others because whether we like to admit it or not we are all developed in a mannerism where biases towards customs and/or people different from our own arise. Working to accept all people regardless of orientation and origin, with respect to also avoid assuming certain, and often false, presumptions about them based on their diversity is truthfully a daily goal of mine. With the mindfulness I have developed over the years, extensive research on different cultures and cultural competency has led me to be the open-minded individual I am today. To continue in this path it is essential to consciously disregard certain social norms, past assumptions and move forward in understanding (even if I do not internalize) the different worldviews of all people. As a professional counselor personal biases are out of the window. In fact it is unethical to let personal views get in the way of effective therapeutic help. These values can sometimes seem as if they are helpful but in all reality they are furthering the client’s pain and suffering. That is why it is a core belief of mine that all practicing professionals should their their personal preferences at the door and step into therapy with the genuine intent to understand and administer help through diverse, accepting and non-judgemental lenses.


AGPA (2013). Cultural competence in group therapy-AGPA Racial & ethic diversity SIG. Retrieved from

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