Unit 3 Proposing a Counseling or Psychotherapy Group


Group psychotherapy refers to counseling offered to a number of people at the same time who share a common problem. Other definition states that the concept entails the process by which a psychologist implements different leadership theories and styles in guiding a group of people, from five to fifteen individuals, to deal with a harmonious issue among the people (Bemak & Chung, 2015). Such problems may include ineffective social skill, substance abuse, eating disorders, at-risk behavior for youths, traumatic loss, bereavement among others. The use of group counseling has proven to be a beneficial intervention in the treatment of an array of psychological issues. One of the merits of the measure is its ability to dispense an experience of universality for the patients. They are made to feel that their problem is also endured by other people. Such insights are a vital source of relief and a great motivation to embrace all treatment that the patients are subjected to.

Through the cultivation of a safe environment, the other merit of group psychotherapy is materialized, which entails availing the ability to practice different types of treatment effectually (Berg, Landreth, & Fall, 2018). Members in group therapy are empowered to engage in different expertise recommended and also differentiated behavior from which they were used to in an environment that they are safe before they execute the methods in the real world. The feeling of being accepted in the structure has enabled the effectiveness of diverse groups such as ones affiliated with anger management and intimate partner violence (Keven-Akliman, & Eryılmaz, 2017). In light of such merits, psychotherapy is identified as an effectual method in the treatment of a prevalent issue in society, eating disorder. The paper aims to discuss the psychological issue, the applicable group counseling leadership styles and approaches in the treatment of eating disorders and the ethical concerns associated with the process.

Presenting Issue and Type of Group

Eating disorder refers to a health issue affiliated with eating habits that deviate from the norm and cause a rise of heightened concern of the shape and weight of the body (Pinhas-Hamiel, Hamiel, & Levy-Shraga, 2015). The condition may either cause an individual to overeat or under eat. There are three types of most commonly known types of eating disorder. The first is referred to as anorexia nervosa where an individual suffering from the disorder portrays tendencies of obsession about their body shape. Consequently, such people, inclusive of both male and female, will have abnormal degrees of fear of gaining weight, which causes them to live unhealthy lifestyles. Due to the limited amount of food intakes, persons suffering from the disorder are characterized by adversely hurt brain, bone loss, infertility, and ameliorated risk of death. The other type of disorder is bulimia nervosa where affected persons tend to overeat and then induce themselves to adverse mechanisms to correct the binge eating such as excessive physical exercise (Pinhas-Hamiel, Hamiel, & Levy-Shraga, 2015). As a result, most individuals with the disorder end up developing cardiovascular illnesses, among other unfavorable health outcomes. The third form of the disorder encompasses binge eating disorder characterized by overeating without subsequent episodes of correcting the measure such as forced vomiting. The most common outcome of the condition is obesity and increased risk of accumulating other affiliated health issues. All the three conditions lead to accruement of psychological issues like the feeling of embarrassment, anxiety, and individuals may end up isolating themselves. The disorder is caused by various factors such as genetic, abnormal hormone function, or nutritional deficiencies. Also, psychological and environmental elements may be the reasons for the development of the condition.

Statistically, it has been manifested that eating disorder affects all stages of life. However, there are heightened degrees of the condition accumulating in teenage hood and onset of adulthood are higher than in other age groups. Despite developing in early stage of life, a large percentage of individuals get diagnosed at later stages in life, where the illness is deep-rooted and more difficult to treat. Additionally, there are a higher number of women than men who suffer from eating disorders. For instance, in regards to bulimia nervosa, there is prevalence of one and a half percent in the female gender and half a percentage in males (Pinhas-Hamiel, Hamiel, & Levy-Shraga, 2015). Due to such data, women have been getting more concentration than the latter gender. Consequently, men have been more reluctant to share their experience and symptoms or embrace a treatment method and have been getting insufficient focus. The numbers of males affected without treatment have been unfavorably high and widespread in society. Hence, the proposed intervention will involve males who are teens or young adults. An eating disorder can be treated through the use of therapy, a method that has proven more effective than other methods such as the implementation of physical exercise alone (Pinhas-Hamiel, Hamiel, & Levy-Shraga, 2015).  Furthermore, group counseling is more effective due to the merits it presents than individual psychotherapy. For instance, the advantages of the creation of identity, a safe space, universality experience, and laboratory platform increase effectuality of group psychotherapy. Also, the psychotherapy group is preferable to the psychoeducational group since the latter mainly focus on education rather than exercising the mechanisms of treatment, which is more efficacious in the treatment of eating disorder among men.

Applicability of Group Leadership Styles and Approaches

In the implementation of psychotherapy, different leadership styles and approaches can be implemented depending on the nature and diversity of different individuals in a group. Also, the type of condition being treated is a significant factor in the selection of the type of leadership structure to employ. In the treatment of eating disorder among teens and young men, the leadership styles and approaches discussed below are applicable.

Group Psychotherapy Guided by Co-therapists

            Co-therapy is a form of style involving the use of two leaders in group counseling. The method is effective in the treatment of eating disorders in the identified group of individuals as it enables effective integration of different perspectives and mechanisms from the two leaders. When the method is effectually implemented, it leads to the achievement of two sets of eyes to supervise the progress of the interventions deployed (Berg, Landreth, & Fall, 2018). It retaliates to the concept that two heads are better than one. The therapists can identify any mishaps in the group and, in turn, deal with them effectively. Furthermore, when the structure entails a woman and male co-therapies, the members are accorded the opportunity to identify the reaction of the diverse sex in their progress, which increases the success of the practiced corrective mechanisms. Also, it assists the patients to learn to associate with both genders and prepare them efficaciously for the real world.

Nevertheless, the method may prove ineffective in treating eating disorder among teen and young males when the process is conducted unskillfully. For instance, in the event of distortions in power-sharing, the group members may get the wrong insights, which impede their recovery process. Moreover, the paring process may be ineffective and lead to bad interaction between the leaders and, consequently, unfavorable interaction with the group members (Keven-Akliman, & Eryılmaz, 2017). To curb such issues, the notion of an observer leader should be implemented where one leader only observes and only intervenes when need be. The process of interfering should be conducted with caution to avoid the development of more problems. Also, co-therapist should practice before group interventions and ensure that they are on the same page to avoid the display of ununited front to the patients.

Group Psychotherapy Guided Leaders Who Model Behavior

In the framework, the leaders focus on implementing group-modeling behavior as opposed to embracing a mechanism where they only act as mentors. As per the concept, leaders show the group members what to do (Berg, Landreth, & Fall, 2018). For example, the guides of a group can orchestrate a methodology where they show effective listening skills, better social mastery, and how to give accurate feedback and look for needed data. The method applies to the psychological issue under discussion due to the reluctant nature of affected males. As such, when they are shown what to do, they will be more prone to be receptive to the concept of group therapy and embrace the process positively. However, the process is limited as there is a potential for the leaders to disclose themselves to the patients, either knowingly or involuntarily. To avoid the challenge, leaders should be extra keen on their conduct and only disclose themselves when needed or after consultation with supervisors (Keven-Akliman, & Eryılmaz, 2017). Furthermore, organizations should have well-articulated policies governing the process of disclosure. Such is because the concept only materializes itself for leaders’ selfish interest and may affect the psychotherapy negatively.

Group Psychotherapy Guided by Leaders Who Vary Therapeutic Styles as per the Needs of the Members

The approach affiliated with differentiating leadership styles as per the needs of the psychotherapy group members is highly effective in groups associated with teens and young adults affected with eating disorder. As per the notion, the leaders intervene more during the onset of counseling and gradually withdraw as the intervention process continues (Berg, Landreth, & Fall, 2018). As a therapy, ends, the leaders are less active, which allows the members to be ready for the outside world on their own. To ensure that the right method is applied, the leaders should evaluate the important factors that govern the specific types of individuals in the group. In the case of eating disorder among the identified group, such elements include social support, degree of functioning, and stability.

Legal and Ethical Issues

Various ethical and legal issue arise during group psychotherapy involving the discussed groups. For instance, there is the ethical concern of confidentiality. As per the issue, ethical standards mandate that individuals should not share any patients’ data without the authorization of the client or legal and ethical rationalization (Ware & Taylor, 2014). For instance, infringement of the canon may occur when a group leader discloses information about another individual with the aim of helping clients. To avoid the issue, therapists should ensure that they adhere to the directives at all times. Also, there is the possibility of development of ethical issue affiliated with informed consent, where standards necessitate full disclosure of all elements of a counseling group such as, but not limited to, qualifications of the group leader, mechanisms to be used, and objectives of the therapy (“American Counseling Association,” 2015). Failure to inform the clients may raise ethical and legal issues in the process. Also, as the intervention includes minors, therapists are required to obtain consent from their parents or guardians.

Cultural Factors

Just like in all social structures, it is important to pay attention to cultural factors in group psychotherapy. Such is because diversity in people affects how they accommodate different elements (Bemak & Chung, 2015). For instance, in reference to an eating disorder, a high percentage of people, in terms of religion, who are Jewish and Catholic portray a higher degree of being affected by eating disorder. In retrospect, culture affects how people perceive the trends in eating trends and how such opinions manifest themselves. Therefore, gaining insights on such elements aids in orchestrating an effective treatment plan that is conversant with diverse individuals. Also, the data assists psychotherapists in maintaining a favorable interaction among the different individuals in group therapy. Such information can be retrieved by directly asking the clients and also by analyzing secondary sources.


Psychotherapy is beneficial in the treatment of an array of disorders and also mitigation of social issues such as eating disorders. The condition has been prevalent and manifests itself mostly during teenage hood and the onset of adulthood. The identified leadership styles that apply to the proposed group counseling include leadership modeling, co-therapist, and implementation of varying styles. Through the analysis of diverse literature, it is identified that various ethical and legal issue may arise in group counseling. As such, therapists should ensure that they adhere to all standards. Moreover, it is fundamental to pay attention to cultural diversity as the element is a significant determinant in the success of therapy.


American Counseling Association. (2015). Ethics and professional standards. Retrieved from:

Bemak, F., & Chung, R. C.-Y. (2015). Critical issues in international group counseling. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 40(1), 6–21. Retrieved from:

Berg, R. C., Landreth, G. L., & Fall, K. A. (2018). Group counseling: Concepts and procedures (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Keven-Akliman, Ç., & Eryılmaz, A. (2017). The Effectiveness of a Body Image Group Counselling Program on Adolescent Girls in High School. International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies, 4(2), 10-23.

Pinhas-Hamiel, O., Hamiel, U., & Levy-Shraga, Y. (2015). Eating disorders in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: challenges in diagnosis and treatment. World journal of diabetes, 6(3), 517.

Ware, J. N., & Taylor, D. D. (2014). Concerns about confidentiality: The application of ethical decision-making within group-play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 23(3), 173–186. Retrieved from: doi:10.1037/a0036667

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