Interpersonal Relationships within Groups: Group Counseling

Psychology 447/547



T.Treadwell, Ed.D,TEP,CGP

Department of Psychology
530 Wayne Hall
Phone: 610.436.2723

Public Safety Emergency 610.436.3311

Teaching Assistant

Brittni Gettys

Ainsley Stenroos

Research Assistants

Alexa Tarsnane

Judith Jordan


Cognitive Website

A. Texts:

Treadwell, T., Dartnell,D., Travaglini, L., Staats. M.& Divinney, K. (2016) Group therapy workbook: Integrating cognitive behavioral therapy with psychodramatic theory and practice. Parker, Colorado: Outskirts Press Publishing.

Greenberger, D., & Padesky, C.A. (2015). Mind over mood: A Cognitive therapy treatment manual for clients. (2nd ed). New York: Guilford Press.

Young, J. & Klosko, J. (1995). Reinventing your life. New York: Plume Books (Division of Penguin Books).

B. Course Purpose:

  • Familiarize students with action group experiential methods in a safe therapeutic & couseling setting to explore dysfunctinal interpersonal relationships as they connect with family schematic patterns. A schema is a pattern starting in childhood and is duplicated throughout one's life. Schemas organize how one thinks, feels, acts, relates allowing one to understand how to interpret the world.
  • The course acquaints participants through the use of cognitive behavioral & psychodramatic skills to understand the cognitive and psycho-dramatic triad by observing mood, behavior, and thought processes utilizing Automatic Thought Records in the context of a safe group environment. Action Techniques of role-playing, role-reversal, and mirroring facilitate the group process by examining various conflicting situations individuals experience. This develops as the group transitions through the Five Stages of Group Development. The cognitive-psycho-dramatic group environment provides a supportive climate to practice new thinking and behaviors.
  • To acquaint students with the varied aspects (including gender differences and cross-cultural perspectives) of interpersonal relationship issues.
  • To examine schemas/core-beliefs that affect interpersonal behaviors and relationships.
  • To familiarize students with tests used in measuring various aspects of interpersonal relationships. The data will become part of your class file for both instructional and research purposes. The long-range purpose is to improve the effectiveness of the group-cognitive therapy model for the training of group and individual therapists.
  • To familiarize students with tests measuring various aspects of inter & intra personal relationships. The data will become part of your class file to be used for both instructional and research purposes. The long-range purpose is to improve the effectiveness of interpersonal relationships. 

Course Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, participants will demonstrate:

  • Comprehension of the functions of group members and leaders along with related facilitation skills [CACREP II.K.6.a. & II.K.6.b.]
  • Comprehension of the stages and issues involved in group process [CACREP II.K.6.a]
  • Assessment of one’s own functioning as a group member engaged in planned and productive behavior change [CACREP ]
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of group process elements for promoting group members’ attainment of counseling goals [CACREP II.K.6.a]
  • Self-awareness of how one’s perspective as a client and counselor is influenced by social factors (e.g. age/generation, social status/SES, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, etc.) [CACREP II.K.2.d]
  • Awareness of how one’s personal perspective (see #5) and values are reflected in group communications (e.g. choices about what is discussed, what is attended to, norms set in group sessions, and communication styles, etc.). [CACREP II.K.2.d]
  • Identification of the ethical and legal considerations in group work, including professional preparation standards. [CACREP Std. II.K.6.f, II.K.6.g.].
  • Comprehension of group counseling methods, including group counselor orientation and behaviors, appropriate selection criteria and methods, and methods of evaluation of effectiveness [CACREP Std. II.K.6.d.]
  • Comprehension of approaches used for group work, including task, psychoeducational, therapy, and training groups. [CACREP Std. II.K.6.e.]
  • Understand application of individual and group specific (e.g. Psychodrama and Group as a whole) theories to group counseling, including commonalities, distinguishing characteristics and pertinent research and literature [CACREP Std. II.K.6 .c.]

Assessment Instruments: [administered pre-post and during the 15 Weeks]

  • Young's Schema Questionnaire (L-3) (YSQ)
Session 1 [Take home]
  • Social Networks Inventory
Session 1 [Take home]
  • Beck Depression Inventory II
  • Beck Anxiety Scale
  • Automatic Thought Record (ATR)
  • Curiosity & Exploration Scale
(pre/post) Session 3 & 14
  • Meaning of Life Scale
(pre/post) Session 3 & 14
  • Personal Growth Initiative Scale
(pre/post) Session 3 & 14
  • Group Cohesion Scale
(pre/post) Session 1 & 14
  • Therapeutic Factors Inventory (TFI)
(pre/mid/post) Session 2,7,14.
  • GRIT Scale
(Pre/Post) Session 1&14
  • Schema Mode Inventory (SMI) Schema modes
(Graduate Students) Session 7 [Take home]

C. Course Requirements:

Attend all classes and participate in class activities. Students must meet all the deadlines for the submissions of the assignments. Since all sessions will be videotaped a consent form must be signed for videotaping/confidentiality. A portion of each class will be devoted to discussion about the previous session.

D. Course Outline:

1.  Three general ways that we adapt to our schemas; fight=overcompensation; flight=avoidance; & surrender=freeze.

2. The five schema domains:

- Disconnection & rejection
- Impaired autonomy & performance
- Impaired limits
- Other directedness
- Overvigilance & inhibition

3.  Measure interpersonal issues within the family and social network system.

4.  Understanding conflicts in interpersonal relationships, where they stem from, and ways of dealing with them.

5.  Utilizing thought records, core-beliefs/schemas and the data they produce; determining conflictual communication patterns in interpersonal relations.

6.   Exploring factors and communication strategies in initiating, developing, maintaining, and terminating relationships? .

E. Grades are based on the following:
Evaluation Rubric

1.Collaborative Team (Small Group) & Cohesion Intervention Graduate/Undergraduate
Address during 1st session. The group process begins on day 1.

2. Collaborative Group Project I: Cultural Genogram & Personality Profile: Graduate/Undergraduate Cultural Genogram: - an important tool in examining historical interactions across generations related to family and diversity. Define each term with your collaborative team and present individual (each team member) results next class. Include demographic and genetic information e.g., medical, psychiatric history, health behaviors, inter-ethnic/racial, marriages and relationships. Cultural genogram presentations commence on 2/1 & 2/8.

Culture refers to aspects of a social environment that are used to communicate values such as what is considered good and desirable, right and wrong, normal, different, appropriate, or attractive. Click on this link for guidelines in creating your cultural genogram:


Sexual Orientation

Personality Profile: You and your team members are to explore some of the influences on personality and personality types. We all have a unique personality and it is valuable to understand the nature or your personality. The following are two major areas that affect your personality and its development:

1. Heredity dictates many physical characteristics - - how tall you are, the color of your eyes, the shape of your nose -- but it also affects how you learn, how you react to certain situations, and how you interact with other people.

2. Environment in which you grew up. The culture you were born into, the family that raised you, the friends you had, the schools you attended, your social network. Your religion, the size of your family, your role models, the leisure activities in which you participated are all examples of environmental influences on your personality.

Each team member is to complete the personality inventory and evaluate whether the information collected from it matches with what you know about yourself. The inventory you will be taking is The Jung Typology Test and should take no more than10 minutes. Your job is to consult with one of your team members and share your personality profile. This team member is to construct a coherent picture of you and your major psychological processes using the Jung Typology Test along with their personality profile incorporating heredity & environment. You will do the same for someone else on your team. Be sure to identify individual differences - explaining how this person is unique. Click on the following links to the Jung Typology Test & retrieve the Personality Profile.

Jung Typology Test
Sixteen Personality Types (Profiles)

Cultural Genogram and Personality Profile Presentation expectations will be discussed 1st session. Generally, each team member interviews a team member to learn his/her cultural genogram & personality profile. This information is presented to the large group. Feb 2nd / Feb 8th.

GenoGram Links

Genogram Software [Download]
Drawing the GenoGram
GenoGram Basics - An Introduction

3. GenoGram Information. For every group session a group member will present his/her genogram for exploration to the group. Volunteering will determine the order of presentations. Genograms represent your social network. Relationships include family of origin- (psychological), your work/school network (collective), persons from that network you consider significant family. Thought records are to be utilized in conjunction with the genogram. Basic family schemas will be addressed.

4. Collaborative (small group) Group Project II: Graduate/Undergraduate

  • The collaborative group collaboration vs cooperation (discussed during session one) will design a group story utilizing power point or prezi presentation of the entire group. Group members should share digital pictures and their high/very schemas. Your small collaborative group is to organize the pictures that will tell a story about the entire group.
  • Identify prevalent schemas in the large group and suggest intervention techniques/methods that could be used to address schemas. Include specifics on how you would execute the intervention(s).
  • Identify action-psychodramatic techniques you would use in transitioning group members into action whom did not experience a psychodrama. Suggest a plan for intervention and your methods of measuring outcome!April 26th * May 3rd.

Paper on Group Therapy Proposal . Graduate students develop a group therapy proposal no longer than 10 pages in length and address the following dimensions:
This paper will address the following issues:

A. The purpose of the group.
B. Type of group and research-based rationale supporting this design.
C. Screening criteria.
D. Facilitation issues and role of group leaders/directors.
E. Methods & techniques to be used.
F. Duration of Group.
G. Expected Outcomes.
H. Process for Evaluation.

This paper is to include a thorough integration of literature, along with your own viewpoints, references, and prepared in APA Style, [6th Edition].Due Date - April 26th.

Schema Mode Paper: Graduate students formulate a scholarly paper detailing your personal schema history & its effect upon your current interpersonal relationships. The focus is on identifying, understanding and challenging long-standing maladaptive patterns in thinking, feeling, along with behaviors that are creating interpersonal obstacles. Include a genogram to demonstrate family patterns.The paper should be no longer than 15 pages, with references supporting your views. The paper is to be prepared using The APA style manual (6th edition). Due Date - April 19th.

Personal Theory Paper: Undergraduate students develop a paper detailing your personal schema history & its effect upon your current interpersonal relationships. The focus is on identifying, understanding and challenging long-standing maladaptive patterns in thinking, feeling and behaviors that are creating interpersonal obstacles. The paper should be no longer than 10 pages, and should contain references research and theory to support your views. The paper is to be prepared using The APA style manual (6th edition). Due Date - April 19th (75pts).7.

Running Log of sessions.

Your journal entry should capture what occurred in the session and how you were impacted. The following elements should be included:

  • ​​Date of class and first name and initial of last name of protagonist 
  • Type of experiential techniques used and their purpose (role reversal, soliloquy, role development, etc.) See Group therapy workbook for more information.
  • Schemas and core beliefs that emerged during the session
  • What roles emerged during the session and how did they affect you
  • Did you have an auxiliary role and how did that affect you? If you did not have one, how did that affect you?
  • Did you feel connected to the protagonist & group?
  • Did you feel connected to the sharing phase?
  • Overall, what impact did the experience have on you? What feelings came up for you?
  • What was your reaction to the various tools used (genogram, social atom, timeline)? Look at them from two perspectives: how could this be used with clients; and, what did it trigger for you, personally?

Remember, emotional reactions, for example, depressive, anxious, fear, apathetic or sadness responses are all symptoms of negative feelings.  Capturing this data will help you understand the power of the experience and can lead to personal growth.

Please do not copy and paste information about the various techniques from week to week. That will not meet the requirements of this assignment. Type written and in essay format.

Due Monday following last session of each month, Feb 5th, February, March, & April.

8. Weekly Thought Records:Due weekly via E-mail and placed in your file. Submit weekly ( Due Monday of each week via E-mail.

9. Weekly Video Analysis: Following group sessions 1 or 2 group members are responsible for analyzing the group session. Basic rule – to protect confidentiality, use initials of participants, not names. At the beginning of each session time is devoted to discussion about the previous session. The analysis follows the group format outlined under 'Guidelins for analysing...'below & email copies to entire group. All Flash Drives must be returned to Instructor!

Guidelines for analyzing (Video) Click Here Sample group analysis Click Here

10. Contribution to Class: Relationship dilemmas and interpersonal conflicts (initiation, maintenance, termination, love, jealousy, shyness, power, gender differences, communication issues, self-disclosure, attraction, anger & conflict resolution) are the primary focus of the course. Thus, interpersonal and relationship core beliefs/schemas can be activated and it is important that these schemas be shared during group sessions to best understand schema theory.

11. Class Attendance:

An experiential group course requires your attendance & participation. There is a NO CUT policy for this course. Class attendance is discussed 1st group session. Absence(s) can lead to dismissal from this course. Emergency or extenuating circumstances are taken into consideration. Grades depend upon: (a) clarity of writing, (b) relevance of your personal comments, and (c) conformance with The Publication Manual (APA) 6th Edition.