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Introductory Session

Overview of Course

Family and Values


Individual Counseling 1

Individual Counseling 2

Individual Counseling 3



checkmark Objectives: To provide an overview of the course and the expectations; to introduce class members; to establish a baseline of knowledge through a pretest; to establish group ground rules and to provide some basic professional guidelines

checkmark Outline and Approximate Time Line

I. Welcome and Introductions10
II.Group Name Juggle10
III.Program Information and Expectations
(specific information
about your setting)
IV.Pre Test15
V.Class Expectations25
VII.Getting To Know Each Other10
VIII.Ground Rules15
IX.What Is Counseling:
Professional Guide Lines
X.Introduction to Role Playing15
XI.Positive Feedback Exercise15

checkmark Materials Needed:
  • 3 balls (tennis ball or soft ball size)
  • Adult Education Program Handouts and Rules
  • Pretests
  • Course related materials: Class Outline; Class Expectations; Challenge Activity Directions; First Challenge Activity.
  • Blank index cards
  • Index cards with pairs of opposite words
  • Blank paper

checkmark Activities Directions:

I. Welcome and Introductions Each person introduces self with name, some information about self and why they are taking the course

II. Group Juggle (Silver Bullets, p. 112)
Everyone stands in a circle with no chairs or desks in front of them. Instructor throws ball to one person saying " NAME to NAME". This person says "Thank you NAME and NAME to NAME" throwing to another person. After the ball is thrown the person raises his/her hand to keep track of who has had the ball. The ball goes from person to person until each has had a turn. After the ball returns to the instructor, the group is asked to do it again faster, throwing the ball to the same person. As the group is comfortable and relatively fast with this, a second and then a third ball is introduced. The game ends with a request for volunteers who can say everyone's name and a round of applause for everyone who tries.

Back To Outline

IV. Pre Test

This is a beginning exploration of a way to evaluate learning in this course. The test consists of 11 multiple choice questions, one question for each pre-determined curriculum unit. There has been no validation of the questions. Theclass is told that the test is only to determine change in the class as a whole and not to rate individuals. If they do not want to put their name on the test they are asked to use some identifying mark which they will remember when the test is given again. (This helps to identify differences between those who complete the class and those who do not.) They are also told that questions about the correct answer will not be discussed as the material will all be covered during the semester and they will take the same test at the last class.

This is not a test of your individual knowledge. It will only be used to evaluate changes made by the class as a whole.

Name or Code:


Circle the ONE answer that you think is most correct. Please feel free to write any comments about the questions.

1. One of the most effective ways to be a good listener is:

a. always agree with the speaker
b. ask questions so you understand what the speaker is saying
c. don't say anything until you are sure it is right

2. A counselor is not required to report which of the following:

a. an adolescent tells you of heavy drug use
b. an adult tells you of plans to seriously injure someone
c. an 8 year old tells you of being left alone every night to watch younger brothers and sisters

3. Which of the following is the most true of groups:

a. people with low self esteem should never be in a group
b. groups tend to go through predictable stages
c. a group's development is totally unpredictable

4. What is generally the first step in effective problem solving in groups:

a. brainstorm possible solutions
b. make differences of opinion clear
c. agree on the problem

5. You should be most concerned that a person is seriously considering suicide, if s/he:

a. talks to you about feeling sad over a life event
b. talks to you about a close friend or relative who committed suicide
c. talks to you about plans to overdose

6. A role counselors often play in HIV prevention is:

a. helping individuals assess their risk for contracting the disease
b. assisting individuals to change their sexual orientation
c. teaching young people about the morality of sexual behavior

7. An awareness of cultural diversity is:

a. not very important because counselors deal only with emotional problems
b. important mainly in big cities with many different populations
c. important in any counseling relationship

8. Which of the following is a value statement:

a. African Americans have a higher unemployment rate than white Americans
b. families should provide for all of the needs of children
c. counselors are licensed in the state of Maine

9. Substance abuse counselors:

a. must be licensed to practice in Maine
b. must have had a substance abuse problem themselves
c. must abstain from all use of drugs

10. When a friends behavior is bothering you, it is usually best to:

a. ignore the behavior so you don't lose a friend
b. get an outside person to talk to your friend
c. tell the person what is bothering you and why

11. A young person tells you that she is having trouble making new friends. An effective counseling response would be:

a. tell me more about what you have tried
b. you should put more effort into it and not just sit home all day
c. it's not your fault since you were abused when you were younger

12. An effective group leader:

a. has to have charisma
b. learns and practices skills
c. ignores individual needs in order to focus on the group

Back To Outline

V. Class Expectations
  • Class Outline. The course is divided into 4 sections. Sessions 1-3 are general professional values, knowledge and attitudes. Sessions 4-8 are basic individual and group counseling skills. Sessions 9-13 are devoted to special topics and populations. Sessions 14 - 15 are "Class Choice" to be determined by the class as interests emerge.
  • Class Expectations. Grading and expectations are discussed. Completing a challenge activity each week and completing one project from the list of choices are required. Class discussion and decision on other things to be considered in grading.
  • Check In. At the start of each class, students will have the opportunity to talk about what they are experiencing, what they are feeling and what they are going to do about it. They may discuss what is happening in the class or in any other aspect of their lives.
  • Challenge Activity directions. Distribute and review the directions below with emphasis on meeting the spirit of the challenge and discussion of record keeping and the importance of keeping facts and feelings separate.


    At the end of each class you will be given a Challenge to be completed before the next class. The purpose of these Challenges is to try out your new skills and gain some practice in recording actions and behaviors. Don't worry if you do not have an experience which exactly matches the challenge, just try to find one which meets the spirit of the Challenge. Using your skills is more important than creating an artificial situation which doesn't meet your needs.

    The start of each class will be devoted to discussing the Challenges. If, at any point, you are not comfortable discussing a Challenge in class, you may pass

    Guidelines for filling out the sheets:
    What I Did and the Other Person's Response. In this section report only what happened - what you said and did, what the other person said and did. Your thoughts, feelings and assumptions do NOT belong in this section. This is like the official records you would complete on a job. They contain only "the facts".

    How I felt. Your feelings about using a new skill are a very important part of your learning. Include both positive and negative feelings. For example, you may have been terrified to try, but you were proud of the way you handled the experience. In a job these are the kinds of things you would talk about with a supervisor or supportive colleagues.

    What I learned. Anything you learned about yourself, about your family, about other people, about the way the world works, etc. gets included here.

  • First Challenge Activity. Discussion of ways to meet the requirements of the first challenge activity.
    Challenge: An important counseling skill is making others feel comfortable. Before the next class, talk to someone who appears uncomfortable in any situation. This may be because they are not being included in an activity going on around them, because they are in a new situation and don't know what is expected of them, because they are somewhere they do not want to be, etc. Try to make them feel comfortable and included in the activity.
  • Grading. If applicable discuss how students will be graded

Back To Outline

VII. Getting To Know Each Other Better (Youth Reaching Youth, p 4-8)

  • Give each person an index card
  • Ask each person to write down 3 things or experiences that are important to who they are as a person and which are not known by anyone in the class and are not obvious by looking. (For example, "I grew up in California" not "I have blond hair" and one thing that is not true about themselves. Ask them to mix up the order in which they write these things.
  • Each person reads their list and the group tries to guess which is not true.
  • Processing questions: Was it hard to think of things to write down and why? How did you figure out which statement wasn't true? Did you learn anything about first impressions?

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VIII. Ground Rules

Stress that some sensitive topics will be discussed in this class, some people may share personal information and everyone needs to feel emotionally safe to participate. Discuss what will make the class emotionally safe for each person. Write down ground rules as they are agreed on. Add important ones that are not discussed.
List should include at a minimum:
  • Confidentiality - distinguish between content and personal information
  • Respect
  • Right to pass
  • Starting and stopping on time
  • Taking care of one's self (OK to leave the room for personal needs)

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IX. Professional Guidelines (lecture and discussion)
  • Role of counselors. Information about Licensed and Registered Counselors (as applicable to your area). Stress that this is an introductory class aimed at developing some basic communication and counseling skills, but will NOT make a person a professional counselor.
  • Confidentiality. Importance of confidentiality in developing and maintaining relationships. Importance of explaining limits to confidentiality at the start and periodically through the relationship. Limits: agency requirements (colleagues, supervisors, etc.), threat to harm self or others, abuse and neglect. Special substance abuse regulations especially when dealing with juveniles.
  • Mandatory Reporting. Who is covered under mandatory reporting and how to file a report.

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X. Introduction to Role Playing

  • Discuss how counseling is not a skill that can be learned by reading a book or listening to a lecture. It needs to be practiced
  • However, in the beginning stages of learning, practice with real people can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. There is evidence that role playing is an effective way to learn these new skills
  • Role playing can be uncomfortable at first. This is an exercise to start to make people more comfortable with becoming someone (something) else and with "performing" in front of others
  • Divide group into pairs (one group of three is OK) and have each pair move to a different part of the room
  • Give each pair an index card with a set of opposites, e.g. Tall/Short; Hot/Cold; Funny/Serious, etc). They are to develop a scene, without sound, which conveys the words
  • Bring group back together and have each pair portray their words while the group guesses what they are
  • Collect, shuffle and redistribute the cards. Each pair gets a new card and develops a scene that is different than the one previously presented
  • Repeat as appropriate
  • Debrief in terms of comfort with the activity and the importance of body language

Back To Outline

XI. Positive Feedback Exercise

  • Discuss the importance of positive feedback.
  • Give each person a blank piece of paper and ask them to write their name on the bottom and pass it to the person on their right.
  • Each person writes a positive comment about the person at the top of the page, folds it over and passes it on.
  • When papers return to the "owner" they have the option of reading to the group the comment which made them feel the best

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