The information and strategies in this book will support educators, group facilitators, and community organizers—or just about anyone working with groups of people—in developing the necessary skills to facilitate groups. This book offers fun and insightful techniques and resources.
While small-group work is the most time-efficient and functional way of developing non-cognitive competencies, direct instruction in teaching facilitation skills for those leading these groups is also necessary. Intention, purpose, thought, structure, and lesson planning are essential components to initiate a meaningful group experience.
In an effectively led group, the participants will begin to learn from their experiences, and the facilitator’s role shifts to the observation of the process as the participants use their newly acquired behaviors. However, groups are only as effective as the facilitator's skills. The focus of this book is to guide the facilitator on how to lead engaging activities that will be applicable in everyday life for the participants.
Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups is designed to help school counselors, therapists and psychologists explore, in detail:
• Group facilitator skills
• Member dynamics
• Thought-provoking initiatives within the included lesson plans
People commonly assume that creating, developing and implementing a group is an easy task of simply convening a collection of like-minded individuals together. Rather than haphazard group development, we suggest a structured, intentional and purposeful group selection and process.
In Create Connections, a series of curriculum activities are provided. The progression of these activities is intentional, moving from low-risk to more in-depth topics. This book is designed to help make the group-development process both enjoyable and productive. The more one front-loads the planning process, the easier it will be to create connections in your group.
Reviews and Endorsements:
“Create Connections provides innovative, thoughtful, and engaging group strategies that practitioners can use to support the social emotional learning of our nation's youth. Dr. Williams and her colleagues have gifted us with practical activities that can positively shift children's perspectives of themselves and others to create a culture of kindness that can change a school community.”
—Cory Notestine, MA, Executive Director of Student Success and Wellness, Colorado Springs School District 11 and 2015 ASCA National School Counselor of the Year
“Regardless if you are a seasoned school counselor or a newbie, Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups, is a wonderful resource when you need an outline for running small groups. I have used the lessons with all different age groups and all my students love it! The curriculum is extremely engaging and the debrief questions encourage meaningful conversations. Kids love learning from each other and through activities. Dr. Williams has mastered the art of teaching us all how to create an environment where our students can do both.”
—Sarah Clapham, 8th Grade Counselor, Russell Middle School
“Oftentimes, publications that focus on group work tend to be psychotherapeutically oriented. Create Connections: How to Facilitate Small Groups has a much broader reach and greater appeal to school and community-based professionals who seek both the theory and the practice to effectively facilitate groups. The text offers excellent examples of both small group interventions and activities to create successful experiences for the participants. Both new and experienced educators and counselors and can benefit from the many suggestions and idea woven throughout the chapters to develop quality group experiences.”
—Carol Dahir, Ed.D., Professor and Chair, School Counseling Department, New York Institute of Technology
Table of Contents:
Section 1: Group Implementation
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Group Types
Chapter 3: Ethics for Great Groups
Chapter 4: Group Structure and Group Dynamics
Chapter 5: Group Development and Debriefing Strategies
Section 2: Curriculum and Activities
How to Use This Curriculum
Building a New Team
Share and Trade
Someone Like Me
Earth Goes Around the Sun
Tennis Ball Pass
Separate the “I” from the “You”
Trust and Leadership
I Got Your Back: Trust Lean
Self-Concept and Confidence
The Person I See
The Cycle of Influence
I Am _____ But I Am Not _____
Culture of Kindness
Impacted by Bullying Notecards
Flirting vs. Hurting (Sexual Harassment Prevention)
Keep Yourself in Check
About the Authors
About the Authors:
Rhonda Williams, EdD spent 25 years as a public educator and a school counselor before the natural transition as a counselor educator. She is a professor in the Counseling and Human Services Department at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she serves as the School Counseling Program Coordinator. Williams is committed to instilling in students the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model and the Ethical Standards for School Counselors.
She has had the opportunity to work in many types of schools and districts over many years. Her heart lies in the school counseling profession as she has served over the years as President-Elect, President, and Past-President in both Colorado and Kansas School Counselor Associations. She is currently the Executive Director of the Colorado School Counselor Association.
At the national level, she has served as ASCA Ethics chair, and Ethics Co-Chair for 7 years. Rhonda has been fortunate enough to receive the Colorado Middle School Counselor of the Year award, and the American School Counselor Association Middle School Counselor of the year and most recently the American School Counselor Association Counselor Educator of the Year. She was recently awarded the inaugural Rhonda Williams Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado School Counselor Association (CSCA).
As an Associate Professor, she continues her interest and research in school counseling, while also pursuing her interests in experiential education, bullying behavior, adolescent and gender issues, ethics and educational leadership collaboration. Much of her professional research and community service is focused on a program for adolescent girls called Smart-Girl, while she continues to present and consult nationally and internationally on the role of the school counselor.
Dr. Williams was the co-coordinator for the White House’s and the First Lady’s Reach Higher Convening at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in the summer of 2016. One of the most exciting parts of her profession is training groups of educators on team building, group facilitation, and advisory programs.
Sameen Noorulamin DeBard, M.Ed, is currently a high school counselor. She has been involved with leading groups, as well as teaching the facilitation process, for the past fifteen years. She spent twelve years working as a group facilitator, trainer, and director of programs for Smart-Girl, Inc. She has provided training for teachers and school counselors throughout the United States on effective facilitation skills for small groups and advisory programs.
DeBard is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and a group facilitation trainer/consultant. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration and management from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her master’s degree in counseling and human services from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Joseph Wehrman, PhD, currently serves as the Department Chair for Counseling and Human Services at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). He is an Associate Professor with tenure for the Counseling and Human Services program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He is a former faculty member of The Citadel in Charleston, SC, a former coordinator of the counseling and leadership program, a specialized program in partnership with the United States Air Force Academy, and a former coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health track.
He earned his doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of South Dakota and his M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University. He has expertise and a long history of service in the areas of early childhood, child development, and counseling children and families. He is a two-time chair of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and Affiliates Board of Directors.
Following the 2004 Asian tsunami, he traveled to Sri Lanka to provide psychological first aid to children and to train caregivers and local officials regarding the symptoms of child trauma. He assisted victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region through the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health team.
Dr. Wehrman is a former medical service officer in the United States military and is a combat veteran. He has received several awards, including a South Dakota Counseling Association Outstanding Service Award and a UCCS Chancellor’s award.