Children and adolescents group treatments have progressed well since their beginning. Therapeutic groups often apply expressive media for emotional communication (Schamess, 2008). These activities encourage the participants to expressive themselves without being pressured. Therapists have to learn to understand these non-verbal forms of communication. There are many financial and institutional factors limiting the mental health practitioners from conducting empirical research in this field (Schamess, 2008).
However, many influential authors have worked toward these limitations and have tried merging theoretical and technical issues to differentiate adult therapy groups from children’s. One of these authors is Zipora Shechtman, who has written extensive and practical details about practice techniques in her book Group Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents (Schamess, 2008). The first section is about children and adolescents counseling and psychotherapy, second section is about the practice of group therapy dealing with treatment issues and stages (Schamess, 2008).
The third section deals with accountability and group process, and section four contains conclusion and directions for future (Schamess, 2008). Shechtman gives an expressive supportive approach (Schamess, 2008). She believes in self disclosure and mutual support rather than in correcting mistakes (Schamess, 2008). Her approach is humanistic and holds development factors and stressful life events responsible for problems of a child (Schamess, 2008). She divides children’s disorders into two categories of externalizing and internalizing. She uses the method of cohesiveness to heal (Schamess, 2008).
She says the group should be given an environment where they don’t feel alone and are able to develop a bond with other members. This will give them a sense of belongingness and when they feel that they are supported they will be encouraged to express themselves. She also gives other methods of communication such as affective bibliotherapy, phototherapy, and therapeutic cards (Schamess, 2008). Once one of these modes of communication is developed it allows the therapists and group member to reveal their inner most personal feelings and experiences.
Her techniques are based on the empirical research which makes her book more reliable. A. How is this work useful to me as an aspiring counselor? As an aspiring counselor, this work is very useful to me because it provides a clear outline of what exactly needs to be done when conducting adolescent and children group therapy. It is a detailed guide for counselors on how to start therapy and develop a bond with the group. Her categorization of disorders is much simpler than the stages presented by Erik Erikson and Piaget.
Her concept of externalizing and internalizing are in particular very helpful. B. How does this work contribute to the field of counseling? Her work contributes in the field of psychology on many different levels. First, she does not strictly pathologize children. This is usually not done by counselors. If this idea is adopted, it may be of great help and better results can be yielded if the problems of the child are associated not with child’ abilities but with child’s development. Her idea of expressive media too contributes to the field.
She provides different modes of communication which can be used to overcome problems related to communication faced by counselors. It is also useful for counselors who are looking for new approaches to apply in their groups. C. What new research do the authors generate by writing this article? The new search which the author generates could be on the techniques of research. If the techniques of expressive communication presented by the author such as phototherapy and bibliotherapy, yield better results, then other techniques related to it could also work.
The research in this field will result in development of many other techniques which can be used to communicate with children who are not mature enough or unable to communicate because of emotional problems. If we are able to fill the communication gap, better results could be yielded. Bibliography Schamess, G. (2008). Group Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy , 273-281.