Leading Counseling Groups with Adults: A Demonstration of the Art of Engagement
by Ed Jacobs, PhD & Christine Schimmel
How do group therapists deepen engagement while keeping things moving? In this video, watch two experienced co-leaders demonstrate core techniques for successful group therapy with adults.
Facilitating successful group therapy is a delicate balancing act—and without the proper preparation, it can easily go awry. Keeping group members engaged, interspersing psychoeducation where appropriate, and managing cross-communication are just a few of the pressing issues that effective leaders must understand. In this comprehensive video, Drs. Ed Jacobs and Christine Schimmel demonstrate these skills and more as they co-facilitate a counseling group for eight women. Using a variety of interventions and techniques, these seasoned clinicians provide an insightful look at the key elements of this approach.

You’ll observe the group move through three distinct phases as the women work collaboratively on a wide range of issues including divorce, addiction, anxiety, and parenting. Jacobs and Schimmel invite members to support one another through reflection, role-play, and crosstalk, while modeling many techniques themselves and providing thoughtful activities to keep everyone engaged and focused. Voice-over commentary breaks down these skills even further, so that viewers can identify them as they’re presented.

The importance of having a variety of theoretical approaches to group therapy is stressed, and you’ll watch Jacobs and Schimmel integrate tools from Adlerian, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis and Rational Emotive Therapy into their work. Interventions abound here, and you’ll find a host of ideas to stimulate your thinking about group dynamics, deepening and shifting focus, the use of props and handouts, and teaching concepts and ideas.

By the end, the women are clearly moved, expressing new hope about their lives, gratitude for a shared experience of camaraderie, and an increased sense of self-confidence. Regardless of your theoretical orientation, if you’re interested in different approaches to group work with adults, you’ll find this video invaluable.
In Depth
Successful group therapy requires clinicians to contend with simultaneous moving parts. At its best, a therapy group presents ample opportunities for members’ self-reflection, meaningful interaction, insight, and growth—and group leaders must be skilled in creating the conditions for this. Given the plethora of approaches to this type of work, therapists can benefit from solid primers. This video offers just that, a comprehensive overview of the core skills and techniques of leading therapy groups with adults.

Here, Drs. Ed Jacobs and Christine Schimmel demonstrate a wide range of group therapy essentials with a gathering of eight women. For the purposes of producing a training video, these sessions all took place in one day, creating a condensed but nonetheless realistic microcosm of the experience of ongoing group therapy. Divorce, addiction, anxiety, and parenting are addressed and explored collaboratively, as the women support each other through reflection, crosstalk, and role-play activities.

Skills and techniques covered include asking good, deepening questions; using rounds to engage members; drawing out; holding, deepening and shifting focus; teaching concepts and ideas; use of props and chairs; and much more. With plenty of useful tips shown in a real group, this is an invaluable resource for any clinician who conducts group therapy.

By watching this video, you will:
  • Understand the arc of a successful therapy group, including its distinct phases.
  • Learn techniques to establish group rapport, deepen the therapy, and keep members engaged.
  • Identify the necessary skills for facilitating crosstalk, focusing on members’ needs, and linking common issues.

Length of video: 2:57:39

English subtitles available

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-456-8

Individual ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-456-7

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-457-6

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-457-4

Ed Jacobs, PhD, is the program coordinator of the Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology department at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia where he has taught group counseling for more than 40 years. He is the co-author of three books on group counseling: Leading Groups in Corrections, How to Select and Apply Change Strategies in Groups, and Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills.

Christine Schimmel, EdD, coordinates the school counseling program in the Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology department at West Virginia University. She is the co-author of three books: Impact Therapy: The Courage to Counsel, How to Select and Apply Change Strategies in Groups, and Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills.
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