Saturday, July 8, 2017

Small Group Counseling An Opportunity for Students to Reach Outside Their Comfort Zone

Molinsky studied a variety of people to find out how some people are able to take the leap and step outside their comfort zone, rise to the challenge, and build confidence. I read his book with lots of interest and also watched his TED Talk While I was reading it I kept thinking about the students in my small groups, especially those in my emotion regulation groups. People with anxiety are masters at avoidance and frequently lack confidence which Molinsky discussed at length. When I lead small groups I am trying to help students develop attitudes that allow them to be courageous and develop new skills. The author talked about how to customize interventions so a person can act on their convictions to try new behaviors. He discusses clarity which is the process of self-talk needed to step out of your comfort zone. He talks about how important practice is to practice new routines. That is exactly why we do role plays and other activities in small groups. As school counselors we are coaching students to adopt what Carol Dweck calls a "learning orientation" where they view practice and making mistakes while learning a new skill a growth opportunity - not further evidence they will never succeed at whatever is challenging them Not Yet!). This book also validated the practice I use when leading small groups of having every member set a personal learning goal related to the topic of the group. For example, I will try a new sport and attend all practices and games without complaining for a 3 month period. That is a great goal but in order for someone who gets anxious trying new things there is a lot of work and practice that must happen to meet the goal. For example, the student would need to develop physical, emotional, and cognitive strategies to be able to be successful. I can tailor the skills I teach based on the goals students are trying to accomplish. A small counseling group is often the best place to help students develop the knowledge, attitude, and skills to step outside their comfort zone and overcome challenges. I devote a large percentage of my time to small group work because I think this venue can help lots of students tackle a lot of challenges with the needed support and opportunity for practice.

No comments:

Post a Comment