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Group Counselor

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Summary

Help a group of people overcome a specific hardship shared by all.

What does a Group Counselor do?

At heart, most humans are pack animals. Spending time in a group to share information and support one another somehow seems more comforting than facing an issue alone with no peers in sight. Group Counselors take advantage of this preference. They preside over group meetings, keeping participants engaged, active, and talking.

Group Counselors work in a variety of settings, including addiction treatment centers, group homes, summer camps, and correctional facilities. When you’re a Group Counselor, the type of counseling support you provide depends heavily on the people in your groups. Discussing heroin addiction with boy scouts makes no sense at all, for example. But there are some basic principles that hold true, no matter where you work.

Everyone in your group looks to you for support and direction. At the beginning of the meeting, you provide a topic for discussion. If no one will speak, you ask someone to begin. As the conversation sparks and the talk becomes lively, you work as a Referee, making sure everyone can be heard and behavior stays under control.

Sometimes, the group needs words of advice from you about a particularly thorny issue. While holding forth in a long lecture isn’t appropriate in this setting, spending a few moments to outline a philosophical viewpoint or describe a physical process might help the participants develop a clear understanding so they can move forward without fighting.

Psychiatric patients may be under the care of Doctors or Police Officers, so you take careful progress notes at the end of each meeting, detailing how well the person is coming along in treatment. Other types of attendees may not require such detailed paperwork.

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