Group Work with Adolescents

I am set to take a dance therapy class next week for working with children. I’m excited about this class as I am learning a lot about how children move in their various stages of growth. Do you know a child of three cannot skip? The coordination for this activity is too difficult for a three-year-old but a five-year-old will have no problem, generally. I was tasked with reading a lot of material for this upcoming class and I had to write summaries of each reading I read. So, I decided I would post some of those summaries here on this site as a way to educate the public on various issues related to dance therapy and children or adolescents. Below is one of the papers I wrote for this class on group work with adolescents. Group work generally relates to process groups where individuals sit in a room and discuss their issues with a therapist present to facilitate a group. Process groups just means that an issue relevant to the participants is discussed and the emotions and feelings stirred by the issue are discussed and analyzed by the group participants.

The following is my summary of a chapter in a book titled Group Work with Adolescents by Andrew Malekoff.

Group Work with Adolescents

            Andrew Malekoff’s article is about therapy groups comprised of adolescents and the general way to facilitate a successful group.  Nodding to the mindfulness practices of today, Malekoff makes note of how the general mindfulness practice currently is that of being fully present, non-judgmental, patient, and accepting of clients.  This is the way to connect with and facilitate a successful group of adolescents.  Group work is defined, as Malekoff writes, as “an educational process emphasizing 1) the development and social adjustment of an individual through voluntary group association and 2) the use of this association as a means of furthering other desirable ends.”  Malekoff contends that strength-based methods are the best methods to use with individuals in groups.  He has stated seven principles for this type of group. The first principle is that the group is developed and comprised of individuals with similar felt needs and wants and not just the diagnosis.  The second principle is that the group should take the whole person into consideration and not just the symptoms and problems.  The third principle is that verbal and non-verbal activities should be included in the group.  The fourth principle is to develop alliances with the individuals in each of the participants lives.  Therefore, getting buy-in from group participants is greater if the people in their lives are on board with the group process and goals.  The fifth principle is to decentralize authority and take it from the therapist and disperse to all the members in the group. The sixth principle is to focus on individual change and also social reform.  The seventh principle is to understand and respect group development as the key to promoting change within the group.  Malekoff expands on these principles in this chapter to illustrate the meaning of each principle.  Group work can be challenging.

Malekoff, A. (2014).  Strengths-based group work with adolescents In Group Work with Adolescents Principles and Practice. (pp. 41-67).  New York:Guildford Press.

Published by Patricia Loy

I'm a woman of God following Christ's teaching despite incredible obstacles.

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