Article Summary: The Association of Specialists in Group Work

The Association of Specialists in Group Work, which is commonly referred to as ASGP, is one of the divisions of the American Counseling Association, whose members focus on group work. For more than two decades, this association has been popularizing professional standards directly linked to education and professional training. The provided paper aims to shed light on the main ideas presented in the document issued by ASGW concerning training of group work specialists.

According to the information presented in the document, at the beginning of 1980s, this division has introduced and issued nine core knowledge competencies as well as seventeen interconnected skill competencies that should be applied in group counseling. Moreover, these standards have been revised at the beginning of 1990s (Wilson, Rapin, & Halye-Banez, 2000). The new version of professional standards includes the list of important themes that allow group work specialists achieve positive outcomes. Especially, they articulate and assess group work and its nature, evaluate core skills and competencies essential for individuals engaged in group work, and differentiate among the essence of four major group work specializations, including facilitation of group work, psychoeducation, psychotherapy, and, finally, group counseling (Wilson et al., 2000). Although these standards have faced much criticism at various local, regional, and national conferences. Thus, this document is essential for effective training of group work professionals. It is important to note that the negative comments of these standards have motivated the authors of this document to review ambiguous and negative feedback of scholars and make the necessary corrections (Wilson et al., 2000).

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The primary purpose of these professional standards for education and high-quality training of group work experts is to provide the necessary information, guidance, detailed instructions, and support to various counselor training programs as well as graduate programs, including master, specialist, and even doctoral degrees (Wilson et al., 2000). These standards include important information about core training that is needed for effective teamwork. Taking into consideration the main ideas presented in the document, all counselors without any exception should possess particular competencies for facilitating efficient group work. The ASGW advocates the idea that all these virtues will provide the unique chance to counselors to accelerate the process of gaining knowledge, experience, and professional skills (Wilson et al., 2000). However, specialist training in group performance is no less significant than core training. Therefore, ASGW provides evidence that every participant in group work should possess a set of advanced competencies that positively influence group’s performance and practice. Specialist training assists group workers in getting optimal experience and diversity-competent practice within a particular sphere (Wilson et al., 2000).

The main definitions discussed and evaluated in professional standards for the training of group work experts include such notions as group work, core training, and, finally, specialization training (Wilson et al., 2000). To begin with, the term group work denotes extensive professional practice that focuses on the application of skills, knowledge, and experience in group facilitation. This approach helps group work experts gain interdependent connection with other individuals with the purpose of achieving mutual interpersonal, intrapersonal, and, finally, work-related objectives . The term core training encompasses vital knowledge, experience, and qualities that have a positive effect on competences and professionalism of counselors (Wilson et al., 2000). ASGW programs also advocate core training, which is tremendously important in group work because of its positive impact on performance. Finally, the term specialization training focuses on knowledge, qualities, competencies, and, skills needed for participation in independent performance of groups. In general, the spheres of advanced practice include the following: task group facilitation, psychoeducation, counseling, and psychotherapy (Wilson et al., 2000). Task specialization as well as teamwork enhancement contribute to timely, high-quality, and effective accomplishment of various objectives of the group. In addition, specialization training is extensively used in a so-called here-and-now interaction among individuals who are pursuing common goals. Specialization in psychoeducation group leadership attempts to contribute to personal and interpersonal development and growth of group work professionals (Wilson et al., 2000). Specialization in the sphere of psychoeducation positively influences individuals who are at a serious risk of development and progression of personal and interpersonal disorders. Specialization in group counseling is primarily focused on the application of peculiarities of growth, development, and functioning of humans (Wilson et al., 2000). According to the principles established in this document, specialization in group counseling concentrates on various cognitive, behavioral, and, systematic intervention practices and strategies. In addition, specialization in group counseling may bring substantial positive benefits to people who are currently experiencing transitory maladjustment and suffer because of development of problems on personal or intrapersonal levels (Wilson et al., 2000). Finally, specialization in group psychotherapy is directly linked to application of norms and standards of normal and abnormal development of people. Specialization and experience in group psychotherapy investigates various cognitive distortions and behavioral dysfunctions and positively influences people who suffer because of continuous maladjustment (Wilson et al., 2000).

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The chapter of the document that addresses core training standards sheds light on the significance and positive impact of coursework requirements, experimental requirements, knowledge, and skills on group workers (Wilson et al., 2000). The document claims that core training of group workers should encompass at least one full graduate course in group work. This degree must address such interrelated issues as growth and development of group members, group dynamics, the significance of leadership, impact of continuous training on group workers, and many other topics. Moreover, the authors of the core training standards insist that core training of group workers should last no less than 10-20 hours per week (Wilson et al., 2000).

ASGW advocates that every member who participates in group activities should possess enough experience, skill, and knowledge in order to practice in a specific area. In addition, group workers should possess enough professional skills in order to use abundant personal experience in group activities (Wilson et al., 2000). Moreover, the participants of group work should demonstrate knowledge in assessing the nature of the group processes, developing hypotheses about behavior and attitudes of other team members, and employing such contextual factors as importance of organizational as well as cultural and family membership (Wilson et al., 2000). Professional standards for the training of group work experts advocate that participants of the group work should acknowledge and understand the essence of the process, ensure appropriate level of self-disclosure, concentrate on the group’s focus, engage in collaborative decision-making, express ethical behavior, and be ready to give as well as receive feedback (Wilson et al., 2000).

Specialization guidelines issued by the Association shed light on the set of skills that will assist group workers in achieving their objectives. The document issued by the Association provides convincing evidence that all graduates of the professional specialization training program will possess enough skills, competencies, instruments, and methodologies in order to contribute to substantial results, continuous group development, dynamics, and positive outcomes (Wilson et al., 2000). Therefore, all participants of specialization training should have enough capabilities to meet group objectives and missions. Studies that investigate the essence and nature of specialization training should establish inner purposes and intentions of interventions, determine and evaluate the core objectives and missions of interventions, select effective methods for examining and assessing group work, and prepare well-developed methods for assisting members in influencing group performance (Wilson et al., 2000).

Furthermore, because leadership and co-leadership influence the effectiveness of the outcomes, all graduates of specialization training should focus on endless pursuit of personal competences and successful leadership qualities (Wilson et al., 2000). The graduates of specialization training should gain leadership virtues and skills, identify talents of effective co-leaders, and process positive qualities required for successful co-leaders (Wilson et al., 2000).

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The process of implementation of professional standards for group workers foresees commitment and dedication of participants to the practice of group work. It is important to emphasize that the Association insists on the implementation of a set of training standards in order to facilitate the performance and outcomes of teamwork (Wilson et al., 2000). Participants should focus on accreditation standards, which give the chance to participants to evaluate the significance of their work and its positive outcomes. Generally, ASGW motivates teammates to develop effective curricula that meet ASGW’s standards and practices. In general, task group facilitation concentrates on such fields as organizational development, management, and consultation (Wilson et al., 2000). Group psychoeducation encompasses the course work in the spheres of community psychology, health promotion, and marketing. This knowledge will give the chance to students to gain professional skills in order to increase awareness in such spheres as stress management, anger control, and effective problem-solving techniques. Group counseling is directly linked to the work in the areas of community psychology, consultation, self-promotion, and marketing (Wilson et al., 2000). Finally, group psychotherapy encompasses abnormal development of humans, family pathology, diagnosis and effective treatment of various mental and emotional disorders, and individual as well as family therapy (Wilson et al., 2000).

Thus, having shed light on the key ideas resented in the provided article, it is possible to arrive at the conclusion that this document positively impacts effective performance of group workers. It discloses information about significant core training, specialist training, and, finally, positive outcomes of group work. The paper reviews and assesses a list of interconnected definitions, including group work, core training, and, lastly, specialization training.

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