PSYC 480 - Group Process  

Instructor: Graham E. Higgs, Ph.D.
Office: 218 St. Clair
Phone: 875-7588


Corey, M.S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2010). Groups Process and Practice (8th. ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. ISBN-10: 0-495-60076-8
Corey, G., Corey, M. S. & Haynes, R. (2006). Groups in action: Evolution and challenges. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. ISBN-10: 0-534-61909-6
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual. 6th ed.(spiral-bound), Washington, DC: Author. ISBN-10: 1-4338-0562-6.


Psychotherapeutic techniques used in small groups and large-group interventions, including reviews of the current research, legal, and ethical issues associated with paraprofessional and professional practice. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and PSYC 460.



Topical Outline: 

Students in this course are expected to conduct archival research, write a paper using APA style, and report their research findings to a forum of their peers.

Course Description:

  1. This course is an introduction to group counseling.  A focus will be on the basic elements of group process, ethical and professional issues in group counseling, and developmental stages of the group process.  For your practice as a group leader, you will participate in an ongoing classroom group and have an opportunity to lead and co-lead the group as it evolves. An integrative paper in APA style is also required.

  2. Participation in Experiential Training: In the training of group counselors, I consider the experiential component to be essential. This means that if you are going to be a group counselor you must be willing to engage in self-disclosure and to become an active participant in an interpersonal laboratory.  You must be willing to engage in group process on an emotional as well as a cognitive level. In order to experience what it takes to create trust and what resistance feel like, you have to actively engage in group work as a member.  This fact puts me (your instructor) into a dual relationship with you as an instructor assigning grades and as group member and thereby presents an ethical dilemma that has no perfect solution. The purpose of this syllabus, therefore, is to provide you with information about what to expect before you take the course. Your grade in this course will not be determined based upon aspects of your personal life, your value system, or behaviors that you may reveal during group experiences. You will be evaluated only on your acquisition of group skills and objective test results. If you are not willing to engage in personal-growth experiences requiring a moderate level of self-disclosure, you might reconsider your decision to take this course and/or to enter the counseling profession.

  3. Reading: Donít allow yourself to get behind in your reading! It is expected that you will read all assigned reading in the textbook. Come to class prepared to ask question or raise issues based on the readings.

  4. Tests: You will have the joy of taking 4 essay tests covering assigned reading in the texts. Each test is worth 100 points. The final exam will be the production and presentation of a comprehensive Group Proposal.

  5. Attitude: Come to class with an open frame of mind and be willing to take some risks.  This course is designed as a beginning survey of group counseling theory and practice. Because this is an introductory course, you are not expected to have group counseling experience. Donít allow yourself to be intimidated. Hopefully, you will challenge your fears and push yourself to become an active and involved participant.

  6. Discussion: After reading the assigned material, consider the important focus questions for each class. We will be discussing these topics in class, so do come prepared to raise the questions that youíd most like to discuss. You are expected to think critically, to take positions on the issues explored, to learn how to develop your thoughts clearly and fully, and to express your reactions verbally in class and in written form.

  7. Critique You are expected to visit a working group in the community and to attend a few sessions to get a feel for how the group works. You will be responsible to write a critique/report about the group that you visit. In your report you should identify (1) the organizational structure of the group, (2) identify group goals, (3) Outline and describe the group processes, and (4) specify the group outcome goals. As a part of your report you should show research findings that support the efficacy of conducting such groups (literature review using professional journal sources or materials from the group foundation). Your paper, formatted in APA essay style, must have a title page, an abstract and a reference page. You should have a minimum of 2 appropriate references other than the text for this course.  Earn up to 100 points for this 3 page paper.

  8. Attendance: You are expected to attend every class session, unless there is a valid emergency/reason. Each class session you miss will result in losses in the group integrity. Attendance points are earned in this course. Each day you are present you earn 3 points. Each day you are absent - for any reason -you earn 0 points. If you miss a class you can not make up those losses. Promptness is expected and appreciated. If you are late to class you will earn only 1 of the 3 attendance points. If you will be missing a class, please let me know prior to your absence if possible. More than 5 absences will result in being dropped from the course. In this course in particular, your absence affects us all.

  9. Respect Confidentiality!  Being actively involved in the class sessions and groups entails some level of personal self-disclosure. Because of the nature of the vulnerability, trust, and openness needed to learn about group counseling, it is extremely important that confidentiality be maintained. Revealing personal information about others outside of the classroom is a breach of confidentiality.  If you wish to share with others outside the classroom please reveal only your own reactions and understanding and avoid using names or identifying features of your classmates. It is expected that anyone who participates in a demonstration of either an individual session or a group session in this course will have his or her confidentiality respected. Please do not tape record any lectures, discussions or demonstrations. Tape recording parts of class sessions could well pose problems with respect to confidentiality and privacy.

  10. Communication: Make use of my office hours. I hope each of you will come in during the semester to discuss your progress and learning in the course, or for any other issues you want to talk about. Most of all, I hope you will enjoy the course. My main hope is that you will surprise yourself with how much you will challenge yourself and how much you will learn.


Your grade for this course will be based on the following:

Chapter Tests                                                                              400 points possible
Group Critique                                                                            100 points possible
Group Proposal Written                                                               200 points possible
Presentation of Group Proposal                                                     100 points possible
Attendance                                                                                   150 points possible
Total                                                                                            950 points possible

Grading Scale is as follows: >90 = B, >80 = C, >70 = D, <60 = F. Students who wish to earn an A in this course will have earned the points for a B and they will have contributed substantively to the course and fellow students through their scholarly efforts and active participation on a regular basis throughout the course.


Class begins on time and ends on time.

Consistent disruptions of class - this includes frequent tardiness - will result in failing grades or early dismissal from the course. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your tardiness goes unnoticed. You may not use cell phones, personal computers or any personal electronic device, including mp3 players, during the class period. Do not bring a cell phone or any personal electronic device into the classroom.  If you accidentally have one with you it must be turned off and placed inside of your bag out of view during class. If you must have a cell phone on for an emergency purpose it is your responsibility to notify the instructor prior to class. Violation of this policy will result in your removal from the course.

The professor reserves the right to revise the course syllabus as required by either judgment or circumstance. Changes will be announced in class and students are responsible for recording changes as announced. The course calendar is dynamic and will change frequently. Students are expected to refer to the calendar regularly online (don't print it) to stay updated on class assignments and activities.

You are expected to follow Columbia College rules of conduct, show consideration for others, demonstrate integrity in your academic work and participate with enthusiasm. The study of group processes is to understand how context influences our very being. I can’t think of a more fascinating subject. Let’s work together to make this class a wonderful journey of exploration.


Columbia College expects you to fulfill your academic obligations through honest and independent effort. In a community of scholars committed to truth, honesty in our academic work supports the code of ethics by which we live and is considered the standard by which all students and faculty are held accountable. Please familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook for a full discussion of expectations for academic integrity. Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have questions about what is right and what is wrong.

Students with documented disabilities who may need classroom academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services are required to register with the ADA Coordinator, Missouri Hall, room 233, 573-875-7626.

Ethics Agreement