(3 Credits)
Summer 2006



Course Instructor

Prof. Joseph C Birkmann
birkma[email protected]
Office: 908-889-2747
Office Hours: By appt.
Class Hours: Tues. 6-9:30 PM


The purpose of this course is to prepare practitioners to facilitate effective groups for people with disabilities. Students will learn the basic elements of group process and practice with varying populations.


This course deals with the basic elements of group process with a focus on the stages of group development, multi-cultural practice, ethical and professional practices and group leadership, with special attention given to skills groups. These topics are presented through classroom lectures/ discussion as well as structured laboratory and independent study practice. Emphasis is on developing skills and applying appropriate group techniques in a variety of settings.


The primary goal of this course is to prepare students for the development, planning and implementation of group activities with individuals with disabilities. An emphasis will be placed on group dynamics, leadership styles & techniques, types of groups and applying theories of group to people with disabilities. Additionally, there will be discussions of special types of groups, i.e.; families, self-help, skills and peer-led.


1. Identify principles of group dynamics, including group process components, developmental stage theories, group member roles and behaviors, multi-cultural issues and therapeutic factors of group work.
2. Discuss special issues in leading groups with persons with disabilities, including working with peer counselors.
3. Recognize legal and ethical issues in group practice including issues related to documentation.
4. Demonstrate the skills required for effective group leadership by preparing and co-leading actual group sessions.
5. Apply approaches for various types of including psycho-education and skills groups.
6. Facilitate group process with family members and significant others including advocates.
7. Apply relevant research literature to group practice.


Corey, M.S. & Corey, G. (2006) Groups: Process and Practice (7th Ed.) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/ Cole.

Bundled with: Cory, M.S. & Corey, G. (2006) Groups in Action (DVD/ Workbook) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole

Book, DVD and Workbook will be used throughout the semester.

Articles from other sources will be assigned during the semester at the discretion of the instructor.

Optional Text: Bellack, A.S., Meuser, K.T., Gingrich, S. and Agresta, J. (2004) Social Skills Training for Schizophrenia: A Step by Step Guide: 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford Press


Classroom Participation 10%
Independent Study Group 30%
Group presentation 20%
Paper 10%
Final Examination 25%


A = 92-100
B = 83-91
C = 75-82
D = 69-84
F = 68- Below

N.B. This is a required course for the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling and the M.S. in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Professional Counseling tracks. Failure to pass this course will require retaking it. For those in the M.S. in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Leadership track, however, it is an elective, and students from this track who fail it may either retake the course or discuss taking another elective with their advisor.


The quality of this course is evaluated through student evaluations completed at the end of the course as well as through the Department of Psychiatric rehabilitation’s peer review process. As part of the latter process, other faculty from the Department may observe and review class sessions.


1. CLASSROOM PARTICIPATION: Students are expected to attend class regularly and participate in classroom lectures/ discussions and laboratory exercises. Since this is a skills development class, failure to do so will negatively affect one’s grade and negatively impact the leadership skills being developed. Students will complete observation forms during class for group exercises in which they are not assigned roles.

2. READINGS/ WORKBOOK ASSIGNMENTS: Students are expected to complete assigned readings and written workbook assignments in a timely fashion.

3. GROUP PRESENTATION: Students will be expected to develop, plan and lead or co-lead a group session during the semester. A concise understanding of the course readings and adequate preparation for the “hands-on” experiential portions of the class are critical to its successful completion. Note that written instructions regarding any experiential segments of the class will be provided as appropriate, and you will be expected to submit in written for, an outline for your group at least one week in advance in order that your instructor can review it and any changes that are necessary can be
USE OF DVD/ WORKBOOK: The DVD is designed for use with the Workbook in providing students with an opportunity to observe how a real group evolves. You will complete the exercises in the workbook as part of your independent study group experience.

INDEPENDENT STUDY GROUPS: Each student will be assigned to one of three independent study groups. The task of each group will be to examine the stages and related processes that make up a group. Each group will function as a model group and meet eight times during the semester for a total of twenty hours. (2.5 hrs per week)

Session 1: Orient, choose leader, Session 2: Complete self-
Complete self-inventory, discuss inventory, compare results,
Results, summarize learning in view initial stage in CD,
Written form answer questions in work-
Book after icons 1,2,3,4

Session 3: Review initial stage in Session 4: Complete self-
CD, discuss and answer questions inventory, compare results,
In workbook after icons 5,6,7,8,9, view transitional stage in
10. CD, discuss and answer
questions in workbook
after icons 11,12,13,14,16

Session 5: Complete self-inventory Session 6: Review working
Compare results, view working stage in CD, discuss and
Stage on CD, discus and answer answer questions after icon
Questions in workbook after icons 21,22,23,24,25

Session 7: Complete self-inventory Session 8: Complete follow
Compare results, view ending stage up inventory, summarize
On CD, discuss and answer your group’s functioning re
Questions after icon 26,27,28,29 what you’ve learned.


May 30 Group Overview, Ethics Chapter 1
Diversity Issues

June 13 Role of the Counselor/ Chapter 2
Leadership Skills

June 20 Types of groups/ Chapter 4
Forming Groups/ Stages

June 27 Initial Stages/ Protocols & Chapter 5,6
Lesson Plans

July 11 Transitional/ Work Stages Chapter 7

July 18 Ending Stage/ Social Skills Chapter 8
& Illness Mgt Groups

July 25 Doing Exercises/ Problem- Chapter 9,10
Solving/ Dealing with
Special Populations

Aug 1 Con’t- Special Populations Chapter 11,12


Week of Topic Icon ? Pages

June 11 Orientation

June 18 Initial 1 1,2,3,4 21
2 1,2,3 22-23
3 1,2,3 24-25
4 1,2 26

June 25 Initial 5 1,2,3,4,5 27-28
6 1,2 30
7 1 30
8 1,2 31
9 1,2,3 33
10 1,2,3,4 35

July 2 Transition 11 1,2,3 43
12 1,3,4 45
13 1,2,3,4 46-47
14 1,2,3 51
16 1,2,3 53

July 9 Working 17 1,2 58
19 1,2,4,5,6 61-62
20 1,2 63

July 16 Working 21 1,2 64
22 1,2 64
23 1,2,3 67
24 1,2 69
25 1,2 70

July 23 Ending 26 1,2 78
27 1,2 79
28 2 81
29 1,2,3,4 83

Jul 30 Summation

Last modified: Friday, 3 November 2006, 05:23 PM