Counseling was born in the United States, in the 1950s, in the meanwhile the so called Human Psychology was affirming. This “third force” of Psychology, after Behaviorism and Psychoanalysis,
gives the individual the potentials of self defining, of developing and of changing himself, that are stronger than any other conditioning. Operator's field of observation and action is widened considerably, including aspects ignored or overlooked previously as the quality of relationships, the design of the future, hidden talents, the creative action, the freedom of choosing, the ethical dimension, the healthy personality and the educational training.
The humanistic approach to the client and to the therapeutic relationship has forged the concept and the methodology of help relationship, of which counseling in a declension, and it has made its success in all professional sectors: from the School to local authorities, medical area, enterprise context and public and private organizations that give care to weakest particular categories of society.
The development and diffusion of counseling in Italy, as a new therapy scientifically based and institutionally codified, are dated back to recent times: in fact, these processes are started twenty years ago, taking proportions always more massive in the second half of 1990s. Poor is still the scientific production about the group counseling, despite of the large use of this kind of setting especially at the level of training within the business area. Then, the challenge taken by this thesis has been shed light on an aspect of counseling still in shadow from the point of view of Italian scientific speculation. The task has been difficult and the reference to the English and American literature has been essential, decisive and enlightening. I have deliberately given a structure to funnel to the thesis, because I felt it could better provide a progressive focus on the main argument. The chapters are ordered according with decreasing levels of generalization: therefore, it moves from general and not specific knowledge to centered concepts relevant with the main theme.
The first three chapters are concerning to the universal phenomena on which are based the help relationships in general terms, also the counseling in all its settings: communication, group and interview. The approach by which I consider these argument is epistemological: in fact, I search the theoretical foundations, the methodological instructions and the technical applications of each phenomenon in order to highlight the aspects of greater compatibility with the group counseling.
The first chapter is dealing with the theme of communication, with a particular attention to the social and interactive aspects, in order to describe the communicative stile more effective in establishing empathic comprehension between the speakers. The second chapter is dealing with the group and its evolutive features. The third chapter is focused on the methodology of interview, the client's defensive measures and the counselor's countermeasures to overcome the client's resistances. The fourth chapter concludes the thesis and it is focused on the main argument of the document: the group counseling. I give a structure divided into three parts: the first paragraphs are dealing with counseling in general terms in order to define the characteristics and the theoretical and operative basis. The central part is dedicated to the group setting so as to prepare a solid set of knowledge valid for intervention. A great importance is given to the role of the group counselor as a skilled intermediary and qualified facilitator of the interaction between the members of the group: the competences and the abilities requested by the role, the basis of the facilitation, the stiles of leadership and the corresponding invalidate behavior are explored. The complex task of the group counselor is further investigated starting from the detection of the most frequent models of hard behavior according with the typology created by Murgatroyd and the classification established by the ASPIC. The reference to Carl Rogers, the founder of the client-centered therapy, holds the third part of the chapter and it is essential to understand the humanistic approach of counseling. In the supplement, some tables are concerned with the counselor's inhibitory behaviors, the most effective techniques of listening and the most frequent psychological plays that the operator can use to promote and support the expression of the group during the intervention.