This qualitative inquiry describes the personal
experiences of 28 master’s level counsellors-in-training who
participated in an experiential support group as an integral part of
their group dynamics and counselling module. This study explored how
co-facilitating an in-class support group, coupled with regular
reflective practice and supervision can have a profound impact on the
professional growth in novice co-facilitators in group counselling.
Results from the present exploratory study would contribute to emerging
research conducted on group counsellor education in Singapore.
A modified grounded theory was used to analyse 13 co-facilitators’
reflection papers, which were completed by co-facilitators as part of
the graduate course requirement.
The results uncovered a rich model of novice group counsellor
development and experiences in co-facilitating a support group through
which aspects of the counsellor’s existing self interacted with current
factors which supported and challenged the novice as they attempted to
deal with the primary tasks and experiences of co-facilitation in group
The findings indicate that over the 3 main stages of development through
which professional growth was experienced; planning stage, in-vivo
support group experience, and evaluation stage; co-facilitators
experienced high levels of apprehension and feelings of incompetence at
the initial stage. These negative perceptions of self and apprehension
were mitigated through extensive discussion pertaining to planning and
evaluation, prior to, and after the support group experience with their
respective co-facilitators. Participants indicated that reflective
practice, the co-facilitator relationship itself and supervision
contributed to the varying levels of professional growth experienced.
In an effort to bridge experiential training and counsellor practice,
implications for educating trainee counsellors are provided.
Additionally, the limitations from the current study, and
recommendations for future studies pertaining to group counsellor
training are provided. If successful, such training methodologies can be
piloted on a larger scale, and offered to a greater population of
helping professionals in various settings, so as to further bridge the
gap in group counselling within the counselling profession, and provide
more opportunities for specialized training.