The outcome of the process when a problem or matter is resolved the service user is empowered to handle other matters themselves taking these skills with them. It is important to recognise the conditions of group work. The most important is a high level of group cohesiveness: the members are attracted to each other and to the group goal, and display concurrence-seeking tendencies, or the desire to maintain the atmosphere of the group by agreeing with the common view.
The more insulated from outside influences the group is, the more likely it is to suffer from group work, because there is little opportunity for members to hear and discuss the views of impartial outsiders, who may make suggestions that the group had not considered. Similarly, a lack of orderly procedures for the search of information means that vital material may not be heard.
Some potential disadvantages of group work method are confidentiality, this is more difficult to maintain than person centred counselling which can be used for one to one work, in a group individuals share personal details and information, confidentiality is more likely to be breached within group work as the other members of the group do not have to abide by any law or professional code of practice which prevent them from breaching confidentiality, possibly if ground rules have been established that confidentiality can be maintained but again it depends on the individuals.
Confidentiality is important when trying to empower service users, service user need to know that their private details and information is kept a secret or is not exploited which could tarnish empowerment and their confidence. Confidentiality is maintained in person centred counselling as the counselling relationship is an intimate one based on trust, most service users share information about their situations, their past and inner most feelings in the belief that they are sharing confidence, this experience identifies that the service user is comfortable and feels empowered by the therapist to share confidential information to them.
Some service users may like to have privacy when disclosing certain information about themselves or their situation, person centred counselling provides the service for individuals to express themselves freely in a safe and comfortable environment, Thompson in Adams et al (1998: p318) states that, ‘having the opportunity to express feelings in a safe, supportive and responsive environment, to discuss common problems and to identify ways in which they might be tackled can be very constructive and empowering experience.
‘. Within a group the service user is unlikely to receive exclusive attention, some individuals cannot cope with the sharing and competition involved within group work. This prevents the service user from benefiting from gaining empowerment, as they are preoccupied on concentrating on how to receive one to one attention, which not the sole aim of group work as the professional or leader of the group has to be impartial and equal to all its members of the group.
Person centred counselling requests a number of desirable counsellor characteristics, these can be open mindedness, respect for others, self-awareness and acceptance of others. These qualities are the basis values of tolerance, concern for others, understanding that everyone is an individual, belief in one self and of others, honesty and caring. These values are used in majority parts of social work, it is why these qualities are commonly noticed within person centred counselling and is beneficial for a service user who wishes to receive counselling as these qualities empower an individual.
One of the many benefits of person centred counselling is the length of time that is available, group work may be a long-term approach but is barely achievable depending on resources and the purpose of the group. With person centred counselling, the service user is able to work within their own pace, person centred counselling provides resource of professional time as the emphasis of the work is to allow the service user to over come their problem. The service user is not felt rushed and empowerment is achieved within the time setting proposed mutually.
If more time is required it can be negotiable but the emphasis of person centred counselling is for the service user to feel empowered at the end of counselling and feel conscious that they are able to handle what ever comes next. Resource constraints can be damaging for service users when trying to empower them; lack of resources can make an individual feel let down, frustrated and angered. Stevenson (1993: 37) states that, ‘we argue that adequate resourcing is a necessary but not sufficient condition to the development of empowerment.
‘ it can be argued that resources are very valuable when trying to empower individuals especially within person centred counselling. When a service user is feeling vulnerable and requires more time to express themselves or requires more time to achieve their goal, it would be damaging to explain to a service user that, there isn’t any resources to spend that much time with them or unable to provide them with the resources because of constraints.
Empowering service users not only means for the service user to have a say in what services they get but also in which they are provided, by whom, what time and by which process, within person centred counselling the above is achievable but with group work it is highly unlikely because the group has to cater for all its members and individuals have own interests which may not suit others within the group.
Person-centred counselling encourages individuals to talk about what’s bothering them and various options for solutions will be pointed out, leaving the individual to make their own decisions, thus allowing them to take control of their lives and empowering the individual. The person-centred counselling is primarily a way of being which finds its expression in attitudes and behaviour that create a growth- promoting method. It is a basic approach rather than simply a technique or a method.
When this approach is lived, it helps the service user to expand the development of their own abilities. When it is demonstrated, it also provides constructive change in others. It empowers the individual, and when this personal power is sensed, the service user is able to show that personal power is used for personal and social transformation. Depending on the client group or user you are working and the individual issue you are working with it really depends on which method or approach is appropriate for the individual.
Every situation is different and each method and approach can help depending on the situation and client group you are working with. I. e. using a cognitive behaviour therapy with people with learning disabilities, its not simply making a fast judgment but looking at the method it self it can be too complex for the individual. The facilitator perpetuates this growth process by embodying and communicating his/her attitudinal qualities to the group without presupposing what its members should do, be like, or become.
Group work can be used to empower individuals from personal problems, group work can be empowering depending on the individual circumstances whether the service users needs’ can be met through the group and whether the issues can be resolved using the methods the group uses. Group work might be better in some cases, if individuals are willing and are happy to share information some might be personal, be willing to work as a collective group and the length of time the group may be running for.
The service user may need to consider other factors such as, one to one work or group work, short term or long term work, confidentiality and privacy. It may be noticed here that empowering qualities are really what we would hope for from any human being. So there is a lot in this person centred counselling about learning how to be a human being. It is one of the ironic and exciting things about the approach generally that it assumes that everyone is capable of being fully human. Overall person centred approach is highly beneficial in aiming for empowerment, as it provides many open doors for service users.
Timing of sessions is negotiable; the length of time can be short term or long-term work and no hidden agendas by the professional. A promotion of partnership is practised, service users are offered a closed but safe environment to talk openly and that confidentiality and privacy can be maintained where as in a group work atmosphere these factors are highly unlikely to be achieved.