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Group Counseling Ethics

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Ethical Concerns in Group Counseling School-Age Youth
Liberty University

Youth spend most of their time at school, and receive most social services on campus. This includes counseling. Counseling in schools, historically, consisted of career or college entry counseling. With the growing mental health needs of the populous, schools have been expanding the roles of schools counselors to include facilitating mental health/support counseling and moving towards a counseling psychology framework. Because of the number of students that have to get serviced, using group counseling sessions is a useful and practical option for counselors. Group counseling can be a helpful technique for people with similar habits or people who have possibly experienced a traumatic event. With the good that comes with group counseling, like camaraderie among students, there are always causes for concern, like confidentiality issues. This review examines the ethical dilemmas and differences between individualized counseling and group counseling in schools.

Research has shown that using counseling groups and group therapies can make a difference in the outcomes of a lot of cases, but experts in the field have also had concerns about what could happen in a group setting, and how that could negatively affect a client, or the group of clients. Those concerns become even greater when dealing with groups of youth at school. Studies show that more and more school-age children, exponentially, are being diagnosed with mental health issues or behavior disorders (Nicholson, Foote, & Grigerick, 2009, p. 232). Making a young person feel comfortable enough to allow a counselor to assist them in working through their problem(s) is going to be a challenge in itself, and putting them in a room of other youth with their own...

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