Many children and adolescents experience cognitive and developmental problems in the society. While adults who struggle with stressful situations and life challenging events may seek professional help, children and adolescents are entirely alone in handlings these situations (Kitaeff, 2011). Unsurprisingly, most children and adolescents find it difficult to seek such help, and some often refuse to accept the guidance or counseling when offered (Zunker, 2011). However, advocating for group counseling plan for children and adults is a way of handling these issues if the society wants to ensure psychological wellness and development of children and adolescents.
Group Counseling Plan for Children
Background of the Child
The member of the counseling plan in this group is an elementary school child girl who is in her fifth grade. The child is still learning the aspect of emotions and feelings that enable her to think about the effect of her behavior on adults and peers. The child has not fully acquired the skill of thought and needs help to make some decisions. (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). Often, the child interacts with peers in both planned and unplanned events that drive him to emotional maturity. Referring this child to the counseling group is essential because it helps him overcome emotional and social difficulties. In brief, the counseling plan will help this child make appropriate decisions in his teenage.
Background of the Adolescent
The adolescent in this group is a fourteen-year-old boy in the middle school. In particular, the boy is in his first year of high school. Sincerely, this member has a firm cognitive grasp regarding emotions. Besides, he can tell the differences in feelings and knows when to be angry or sad. Even though the member is simultaneous to reason or thinks in the abstract, he is struggling with ambivalence (Zunker, 2011). As a young adolescent, feelings sometimes become intense and confusing depending on the situation. Therefore, the boy is reactive, labile and self-centered. The good thing is that the member can involve in the original thinking process and his interaction in groups gives them a leeway to learn a lot about life. Also, he has demonstrated his ability to solve problems. Referring to this teenager in the counseling group will make him realize the difficulties in life and equips him with the necessary knowledge on how to make the right decisions in his adult age.
Client's Ecosystemic Context
Family, community, and school influence the child and the adolescent in different ways. If a child in a family in need of help, the nearest treatment of choice is family therapy. Unfortunately, some parents are not free to discuss challenges in the presence of the child and the adolescent (Kitaeff, 2011). One possible solution can be to see the family together which triggers the exploration of the ways the family view parents.
In the same way, a traumatic event such as the death of a parent, then the initial treatment of choice is working with the siblings (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). The community also plays a vital role in this case. For instance, the society can volunteer to help children who suffer traumatic experience due to sexual abuse, domestic violence, fire or a disaster. Here, financial, physical, emotional or any moral support conducted by the community will influence counseling (Zunker, 2011). Schools also intervene by providing guidance and counseling programs regarding the curriculum activities and social life of the child and the adolescent.
Group Topic, Theory, and Rationale
The topic behind this plan is group psychotherapy. According to Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson (2000), group psychotherapy is the treatment of children and adolescents in groups by professional counselors or psychotherapists through a process known as psych-education. The reason for creating this group is to explore various facets of current behaviors in children and adolescents and to foster self-esteem in the group members (Zunker, 2011). For that reason, the entire sessions in this counseling program will facilitate the exploration of the identity of the members of the group by applying the indivisible self-model of wellness. The group will use mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy interventions to increase the self-esteem of children and adolescents. The program will also use two main theoretical orientations: - cognitive and psychodynamic perspectives. Psychodynamic psychotherapy will be used to understand the behaviors of the members of the group whereas cognitive intervention will determine the reasoning and intelligence of children and adolescents (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). Undoubtedly, the cognitive behavioral theory is the most preferred approach in this program because it will provide the best support for the clinical needs of the child and the adolescent.
Group Objectives, Plan, and Sample Group Exercise
The primary objective of the group is to enhance self-esteem by discovering identity through factors that promote a self-model of wellness of a person. These factors include coping self, essential self, creative self, social self and physical self (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). Although all the five factors are critical in the counseling plan, the group will focus on the coping self. In this case, it will be imperative to emphasize on exploring the strengths and skills of the members as well as helping the group members adapt to new skills. The counseling plan will influence the development of self-esteem in children and adolescents by creating acceptance and commitment training model where the group members will learn cognitive and coping skills (Kitaeff, 2011). The training will also introduce mindfulness skills that will aim at increasing the self-esteem of the group members.
Because the counseling program is part of the learning process, the program is designed to take about four years for children and around five years for teenagers. In other words, the group will guide the children and the adolescents until they become adults who can make decisions on their own (Kitaeff, 2011). It will, therefore, be appropriate for the members to meet during weekends, that is, Saturdays and Sundays for them to equip themselves with skills such as cognitive, emotional and psychosocial developments. Each session will depend on the age groups of the members. The session for children from 9 to 12 years will take about two to three hours whereas teenagers will go for about three to four hours. Extra time will also be allowed to enable children and adolescents to socialize and share some life situations. In general, the program will have a maximum of 288 and 384 sessions for children and adolescents respectively.
One group exercise that will be implemented for achieving the objectives is evaluation information. This exercise is an integral part of a reflective, ethical and professional practice in this plan. As such, the group leaders need to process and assess the operation of the members of the group, colleagues, and supervisors. In this assessment, the facilitators will spend about 30 minutes evaluating and following orientation sessions (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). The group facilitators will also participate in weekly feedback assessment with the members of the group. At the end of every session, the supervisors will ask the members of the group to fill out a weekly feedback evaluation form. The purpose of this process will be to determine whether the participants are happy with the counseling program and to identify the setbacks they are facing. This will help the group leaders to identify the possible solutions to the challenges and adjust the services in future.
Legal and Ethical Issues Plan
According to Kitaeff (2011), group facilitators experience unique ethical issues that are different from the ones the members undergo in the counseling setting. Although the leaders must strict to the code of ethics that dictate how they carry out themselves in the counseling program, they also need to adhere to the law of ethics that govern how they relate with the group. The possible ethical concerns that might affect the group include co-facilitation issues; confidentiality; training of the group leaders; and issues regarding referral, consultation, and termination (Thompson, Rudolph, & Henderson, 2000). Co-facilitating counseling groups have both positive and negative impacts on the group.
On the positive side, they enhance the sharing of group responsibilities and models new behaviors to members. On the negative side, they lead to relationship problems like leadership competition, ineffective communication, and overdependence (Zunker, 2011). To deter any ethical issue arising, the group leaders should spend about half an hour after every session to do a recap of the occurrences in the group sessions, their reactions to each other and their views on strengths and weakness of the facilitators. Personal therapy can also help to address the ethical issues as it will stimulate the ability of the group therapists respect and understand each other and the members of the group (Kitaeff, 2011). On a legal point of view, the therapists must consider must conduct their plans within the premise of the constitution. For instance, they need to consider the rights of the children as stipulated in the children's act.
Childhood and counseling plan for children and adolescents is significant in the social, physical and emotional life of these groups. Child counseling program prepares young children in their teenage and adolescent periods. It is important to note that adolescence is a critical stage where most teenagers mind about themselves and what they want to be. This critical period may come with various assaults on the self-esteem of a person. By designing a group counseling program, the parents, guardians and the society can have hope that the children and adolescents can be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and understanding. By doing so, the child and adolescent can live his adult life with a strong sense of self-esteem and dependence.
Kitaeff, J. (2011). Handbook of police psychology. Abingdon: Routledge.
Thompson, C. L., Rudolph, L. B., & Henderson, D. A. (2000). Counseling children. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.
Zunker, V. (2011). Career counseling: A holistic approach. Ontario: Nelson Education.
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