School Support Groups

I'm a huge advocate of support groups in schools, and have been for decades. While some school counselors and administrators may believe that there isn't time for them in a busy school week, I think they are an extremely effective and efficient use of everyone's time.

Not only are several students served at once, but the school counselor is also spared having to teach the same materials and skills over and over, freeing up much-needed time. In addition, the students involved create real connections with each other, learn to communicate with and respond to each other appropriately, acquire skills they can use for the rest of their lives, and build a sense of community that's missing in many of today's larger schools.

I've facilitated groups since the late 1980s, in a variety of settings, and the students I've worked with in those settings have been the ones who have most often come back to tell me how much positive impact those experiences and skills have had in their lives.

Those students learned to communicate clearly and listen closely, understand and express their own feelings, set healthy boundaries, give supportive feedback, speak their truth, ask for what they need, take responsibility, set and meet goals, stop gossip in its tracks, stay out of drama, and a long list of other crucial life skills. The benefits have been obvious in both their personal lives and in their careers.

While other school counseling trends may come and go, I strongly encourage school counselors and other educators to continue to advocate for support groups as a regular part of their school week.

NOTE: I'll be adding pages to this section a few at a time. Thanks for your patience as I'm building this site!

To see a list of suggested steps to take when you're starting a new group, go to the "Twenty Steps to Setting Up Your School Support Group" page.

To see a list of suggested purposes, goals, and guidelines for school support groups, go to the "Guidelines For Support Groups" page.

To learn about the stages a group usually progresses through over time, go to the "Five Stages of Group Development" page.

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