1. Individual counselling
2. Group Counselling.
Group guidance and group counseling:
Guidance is concerned with help given to individuals. This leads some authorities to conclude that there can be no such thing as group guidance or group counselling.
But teaching is also concerned with the individual, and yet we use the term “group testing”, meaning testing pupils in groups, but in each case it is the individuals in the group with whom we are concerned.
We can, in the same way, speak of group guidance. By this we may mean either one of two things:
1. That group procedures may be used when they are thought to be more effective and economical for helping individual pupils, or
2. That group guidance means the guidance of a group. Guidance in Groups
This is the term used by Bennett to indicate the value of group procedures in helping individuals in the solution of their problems.
The therapeutic value of group procedures has long been generally accepted. The knowledge that others in the group have the same problems helps the individual to realise that he is not the only person who is faced with this difficulty.
The opinion of the group regarding the best method of solving this problem is a powerful influence on the acceptance of the solution by the individual.
The results of experiments in the use of group methods indicate that in many cases they are more effective than individual counselling.
The values of group guidance are generally accepted, but the term “group counselling” is still rejected by many guidance authorities. Some believe that group counselling is an ‘anomaly’ and say that “it is as silly to speak of ‘group counselling’ as “group courtship”.
Many other clinical psychologists take the same position because they accept the definition of counselling as a “face-to-face”, “one-to-one” relationship, as in the interview. Such definitions automatically exclude any notion of the group; but this is merely circular argument and leads nowhere.
Psychologists and sociologists recognise that there is a group ‘entity’; the group is different from the sum of all the individuals in it.
There is a group purpose or objective that is not the same as the objective of any individual in the group. There is a definite group psychology.
Mob psychology is not only real but terribly effective for good or evil. Its power is seen not only in men but also in animals.
The stampede of horses and cattle and the “death march” of a herd of cattle around the body of a recently killed member are striking examples of mob psychology. Many times the individual in the mob is not even conscious of his existence as an individual—he is just a part of the mob.
In everybody lives, in community, in the home, in the school, problems appear which can be solved more effectively by the group.
In the school especially problems of a group often arise, that is, a problem common to the whole group and not merely to any one individual.
The group presents its problem to the principal who listens and stimulates discussion. Different members suggest methods that might be helpful in solving it, and a decision is reached. A group interview is held because the problem is a group problem and the solution a group solution.
Case Conference Procedures:
A technique that combines the techniques of “counselling in groups” and “group counselling” was used by Allen and practiced in the public schools. The method has much to commend it.
The purpose of this method was to provide the counsellor with an approach to the discussion of personal and social relationships by means of group thinking in order to obviate the need for ‘preaching’. Common problems of young people in the group were presented for study and discussion.
After the problem had been stated concretely by way of a case, each pupil reviewed his own experience-in a similar situation. Then the leader guided the group away from the more immediate and temporary advantages to be gained and toward more remote and permanent values.
Consideration was given to the effect of the proposed line of action upon others and to possible exceptions or other conditions that should be considered in deciding upon a plan of action.
Finally, conclusions were summarised in order to see what generalisations could be formulated which would be helpful in other situations. The entire process was really an experience in social thinking.
Allen makes several suggestions to ensure the success of his method. The attitude of the conference leader must be different from the typical attitude of the teacher in that the teacher knows the answers to the questions which he asks, and the pupils know that he knows.
A good leader never, under any circumstances, enters into the discussion by expressing approval or disapproval of any opinion or attitude or by voicing his own opinions.
On the contrary, the leader, without losing control, must be an impartial, open-minded, tactful, tolerant and courteous presiding officer who must see that all points of view have a hearing, especially the ‘wrong’ attitudes.
While care must be taken not to waste school time by aimless discussion, it must always be kept in mind that the conference cannot be hurried without loss of effectiveness since any conference is a leisurely procedure.
The counsellor need not always follow any particular order of questioning, for in some of the most successful conferences most of the questions have been asked by the pupils.
A good conference leader occasionally restates and summarises the group thinking at various stages. Sometimes conclusions may be noted on the blackboard, sometimes written by a secretary, and sometimes not recorded at all.
It is clearly the leader’s function to keep the case discussion moving forward a solution and to keep the members informed of the progress of the thinking.
Lastly, a conference group should be large enough to represent a diversified range of opinions but not so large as to prevent each member from taking an active part in the discussion.
Allen believes that many important results can be expected from this procedure. One result is that students get the view of the majority on personal and social problems.
A pupil is taught to think for himself and to defend his opinions. Everyone is so interested that even shy pupils get excited and talk.
The problems are real live topics of today and therefore have meaning for the participants in the case conference.
Because the facts sink in deeper when the same things are said by pupils, the conference helps determine the policy of a pupil who is debating the subject within himself.
Boys and girls discuss these things privately; why not bring them out into the open for frank debate in a situation where the teacher can learn much about the pupils?
When the teacher keeps his views out of the discussion, the pupils give more honest opinions and learn what is best for the group, not merely for the individual. The method keeps pupils to the point by using specific examples of modern problems.
It makes them more tolerant of the opinion of others, brings them “out of them”, and helps them analyse subjects that they might not otherwise think out.
It is a good test of one’s beliefs to stand up for them in the face of opposition. These and other values convinced Allen that the case conference method was a useful group guidance technique.
Froehlich has suggested the term “multiple counselling” to indicate the utilisation of group methods in the counselling of individuals. The purpose of such counselling is to assist the individual in the solution of his problems by utilising the group setting. This is not essentially different from the “case conference problems” of Allen or the “guidance in groups” of Bennett.
There seems to be no logical reason for calling this grov.p method “multiple counselling” just because many (multiple) problems are considered by many (multiple persons in one group).
The chief reason given by Froelich for the term ‘multiple’ is to avoid the criticism centering on the terms “group guidance” and “guidance in groups”. It also serves to emphasise the function of the group itself in the guidance of individuals through the utilisation of group therapy.
A modification of Bennett’s “guidance in groups” to “counselling in groups” might well be accepted.
This modification recognises that counselling of individuals may take place in a group sitting and that the group can be used effectively both for problems of the individuals in the group and for problems of the group itself.
This term, however, can never be accepted by those who still insist that counselling is a one-to-one, counsellor-client relationship.