Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2013


Participating in and experiencing a counseling growth group is a process that is required in all CACREP-accredited counseling programs. Existent literature suggests that multiple variables may impact participants’ learning in growth groups, and call into question the effectiveness of such groups. Overall, the majority of the research (Barnette, 1989; Hogg & Deffenbacher, 1988; Yalom & Leszcz, 2005) implies that growth groups have the potential to produce meaningful and positive outcomes; however, there are gaps in the literature that do not address the direct experiences of individuals in growth group (Berman & Zimpfer, 1980; Goodrich, 2008). This article presents research that utilized phenomenological methodology to explore the experiences of 13 counseling maters’ students who participated in a growth group as part of their degree requirements. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus groups. Eight themes emerged from the analysis in regard to group process and setting. Awareness gained by participants relevant to the perceived purpose of the group, as well as qualities of effective groupleadership, was also examined.

Copyright Statement

This document was published with permission from the journal. It was originally published in the Professional Issues in Counseling.