10 -Starting and Running Individual and Group Sessions
Addiction Counselor Exam Review

 
 
00:00 / 43:55
 
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Tips for Individual and Group Counseling
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox and Addiction Counselor Exam Review

Objectives
• Review techniques to start and facilitate individual sessions
• Learn ways to facilitate
• Process groups
• Random and planned psychoeducational groups
General
• How you start and manage individual and group sessions depends largely on
• the counselor’s theoretical approach
• the personal characteristics of the client (age, cognitive functioning, distracting factors, presenting issue)
Individual Sessions
• The first session—
• Develop rapport/empower the client
• Ask the client what he or she hopes to accomplish
• Share your understanding of his/her situation to make sure you are on the same page
• Ask the client to prioritize which problem he/she wants to address first/which is most important
• Ask the client what he/she thinks might be helpful to approach the issue
• Share your theoretical approach and, based on the client’s responses, outline a proposal for the next steps.
Individual Sessions
• Subsequent sessions
• Humanistic approaches
• Acknowledge that people have within themselves the answers to improving their own lives.
• Recognize and respect the ability of human beings to employ reason, science, intuition, and creativity as tools for the achievement of goals.
• Don’t get unnecessarily side tracked. Stay on the issue at hand.
• Assert that wellness and health is best achieved through personal growth.
• Strategies
• Begin by summarizing what was covered in the last session
• Ask the client to share what has happened in the past week, emphasize positive changes and explore stuck points/challenges
• Use socratic questioning to draw connections between the last weeks events, current presenting issues and current skills

Individual Sessions
• Subsequent sessions
• Humanistic approaches
• Acknowledge that people have within themselves the answers to improving their own lives.
• Recognize and respect the ability of human beings to employ reason, science, intuition, and creativity as tools for the achievement of goals.
• Assert that wellness and health is best achieved through personal growth.
• Strategies
• Begin by summarizing what was covered in the last session
• Ask the client to share what has happened in the past week, emphasize positive changes and explore stuck points/challenges
• Use socratic questioning to draw connections between the last weeks events, current presenting issues and current skills

Individual Sessions
• Subsequent sessions
• Cognitive Approaches
• Assert that issues are caused by unhelpful thoughts and/or unhelpful behaviors.
• Seek to identify those thoughts and behaviors and help the client become more mindful of how these things impact their mood.
• Strategies
• Cognitive approaches tend to be much more structured.
• Begin by summarizing what was covered in the last session
• Review homework
• Ask the client to share what has happened in the past week, emphasize positive changes and explore stuck points/challenges
• Help client identify and address unhelpful thoughts and behaviors perpetuating stuck points.
Group Sessions
• Process Groups
• Psychoeducational Groups
• Structured
• Unstructured

Group Sessions
• Process Groups
• Central to the group process is the opportunity for members to talk as openly as they possibly can about their interactions and experiences of each other as well as any aspects of the group experience that may come to mind. (microcosm)
• Can be an excellent adjunct to psychoeducational groups which teach knowledge and skills.
• Process groups translate and generalize those skills to practice “How did it feel last week when you…” “What came up for you when…”
• Techniques
• Theme your modules (abandonment, grief and loss, shame and guilt, mothers/fathers empowerment, etc.)
• Consider choosing a book to give structure (Seeking Safety, Toxic Parents, Growing Up with a Borderline Parent, Journey to Recovery)
• Draw connections between members experiences
• Encourage mutual support and hope
Group Sessions
• Psychoeducation
• Detailed vs. Broad Concepts (Overview and Outline)
• Communicate Effectively
• Auditory
• Visual
• Kinesthetic
• Respect Process: Active and Reflective Learners
• Make it Relevant: Thinking vs. Feeling
• Make it Engaging: Gameify/Skits/Group Teaching
Group Sessions
• Psychoeducation
• Structured
• Follow a syllabus or workbook
• Begin by reviewing what was discussed last week and any homework (10 minutes)
• Present the topic for this week (10-20 minutes)
• Have the clients practice the new skill, use scenarios (20 minutes)
• Have clients share for the last 30 minutes…
• How this skill would have been useful last week
• How they think it will benefit them next week
• How they will remember to use it/integrate it

Group Sessions
• Psychoeducation
• Random
• Begin with a check in
• Identify common theme to serve as foundation for group
• Roomba philosophy. (List of topics)
• Identify the topic you will be discussing and how it is relevant to the majority presenting issues
• Present the topic for this week in an engaging way (15-20 minutes)
• Have clients share
• How this skill would have been useful last week
• How they think it will benefit them next week
• How they will remember to use it/integrate it

Progress Notes for Individuals
• At the beginning
• Have the client identify what goals he or she achieved or progress made over the prior week
• At the end of the individual
• Have the client summarize what the most salient points were for him or her in the session and how they will help him/her meet identified goals
• Have the client identify tasks/goals for the next week
• Remind the client of any referrals that were made during session
Progress Notes for Group
• Have each client fill out a worksheet
• Have a check sheet for the client to identify mood
• Have the client summarize what the most salient points were for him or her in the session and how they will help him/her meet identified goals
• Have the client identify tasks/goals for the next week with regard to the topic
• Have the client identify any necessary resources or problems he or she is having

Summary
• Translating everything learned in class to working with clients can be a daunting task