ACT 3: Group Dynamics

Hours: 45 hours

Credits: 3 credits

Course Prerequisite: Community Addictions Training Certificate.

Professional Certification

Graduates of this course may be eligible for certification through the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC) in cooperation with the Canadian Counsellors and Therapists.

Course Description

This course will provide instruction to help students understand how groups function.  Observation of the training group itself during the week of training enhances the learning process.

Purpose of Course

This course is intended to do the following:

  • To provide students with general background knowledge on group development and functioning, focusing on:
  • Group involvement as a personal experience;
  • The internal dynamics and developmental cycle of the group;
  • The relationship of group dynamics to ACT 1: One to One Counselling, and ACT 2: Family Dynamics.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to learn, discuss and demonstrate introductory skills in designing, planning and leading both task and supportive counselling groups.
  • To build on ACT 1 and 2 to discover how some of the earlier models, such as stages of development, roles, and needs, apply to groups.
  • To provide an introduction to different models and concepts to help students design, plan and encourage successful groups.
  • To provide an introduction to instruments used to assess leadership and group membership skills and attitudes.
  • To begin skills development in observing and understanding group dynamics.

The goal of this course, however, is not to produce group therapists.

Course Expectations

During this course students will:

  • Examine their personal attitudes, feelings and values about groups in order to separate these out from those of other systems: clients, agency, or communities.
  • Consider groups from both an Aboriginal and non Aboriginal context.
  • Actively participate in the in-class discussions, activities, and will complete all class related assignments, including the written assessment.
  • Develop and enhance their group assessment skills through role-plays, reading, supervision, ongoing professional development and, as needed, their own personal therapy.

Course Objectives

The objectives may be thought of as a road map of the learning journey ahead.  They indicate what the students can expect to learn during the course. They can also be used as a study guide when the students review what has been learned prior to completing the written assessment at the end of the course. The written assessment at the end of the course will be based on these objectives.

When the students have completed this course, they will be able to:

  1. Define group dynamics.
  2. Discuss the following types of groups: open and closed; homogeneous and heterogeneous; process (relationship) and task.
  3. Identify the six factors to consider when starting a group.
  4. Discuss the four major purposes of groups based on the Medicine Wheel.
  5. Identify the four stages of development in a process (relationship) group and describe the task(s) or issue(s) to be resolved in each stage.
  6. Identify the four stages of development in a task group and describe the task(s) or issue(s) to be resolved in each stage.
  7. Discuss categories of group roles and identify examples of each category.
  8. Identify examples of group roles and describe the effect of these roles on the group’s development.
  9. Name and discuss the four basic needs of group members.
  10. Discuss strategies to help the group resolve its developmental tasks.
  11. Identify the impact emerging issues may have on the dynamics within various groups.
  12. Describe the personal characteristics and skills of an effective leader.
  13. Describe the benefits of conflict.
  14. Explain the five parts of the conflict management grid.
  15. Identify fears leading to resistance.
  16. Name the two intents of behavior and explain the consequences of each.

Instructional Methods

  • Lecture
  • Large and small group work and discussion
  • Skill building through small group and individual exercises and role plays
  • Individual and small group homework assignments and readings
  • Personal journaling
  • Support groups
  • Written assessment

Course Evaluation

  • Attendance 10 %
  • Participation 10 %
  • Journaling 5 %
  • Support Group 15 %
  • Written Exam 60 %

In this course, 60 % of the final grade will be based on the written exam score, and 10 % will be based on attendance, 10 % will be based on participation, 15 % will be based on required support group, and 5 % will be based on journaling.  The written assessment or test will consist of a series of multiple-choice questions which are based on the learning objectives for the course. There may be one or more question for each learning objective. This means that the students may be tested on any part of the content contained in the Student Manual and accompanying course material.

Attendance and punctuality in all aspects of training are mandatory including assigned evening support group meetings. Attendance and participation marks are forfeited as follows:

  • Absence for each half hour – 1 mark deducted from participation.
  • Absence from Cultural Resource Evening – 5 marks deducted from participation. The required hours for this course are 45 contact hours.

Course Materials

  • Student Manual, Group Dynamics
  • Corey, Gerald and Schneider Corey, Marianne. Groups, Process and Practice. Sixth Edition. Pacific Grove, CA: Thomson Learning Inc., 2002.