An understanding of group counseling requires an understanding of groups themselves, their basic nature and processes. Given that human beings are a social species and spend their lives in groups rather than alone, an individual-level analysis of adjustment, well-being, and treatment, with its focus on internal, psychological processes, should be supplemented by a group-level analysis. The defining features of a group are relationships linking a substantial number of members, boundaries, interdependence, structure, cohesion, and entitativity (perceived groupness): and groups with more of these features are more Influential than other forms of association, such as social networks. The chapter reviews a number of group-level processes that influence members' adjustment, including loneliness, ostracism, social support, socialization, social Identity, and performance, before recommending a synthesis of the individual- and group-level perspectives in a multilevel analysis of human development, adjustment, and potential.
Copyright © 2010 Oxford University Press. This book chapter first appeared in The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling.
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Forsyth, Donelson R. "The Nature and Significance of Groups." In The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling, edited by Robert K. Conyne, 19-35. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.