For my in-school counseling group, I am developing and leading a group with the topic of ‘Friendship’ with six to eight sixth grade female students. These students were pre-screened for membership and mentioned concerns of friendship skills; how to make and keep friends and how to avoid gossip and ‘drama’. These students were selected for pre-screening based on the needs assessment completed by the site supervisor for practicum, which will be discussed in the next section. Based on my review of available and current literature on the topic of relationships in female adolescents, I am going to use relational-cultural theory (RCT) as a conceptual framework for my in-school counseling group. The emphasis of this framework that has been used in groups with female adolescents for similar topics includes the importance of power and relationships with others. I will use this framework to understand the issues at hand in the group, and also to develop techniques to help resolve these issues within an eight week time frame.
To assess student need, my site supervisor had already introduced herself to every class of sixth graders to review what her role is with the students and discuss what types of services she can provide with them. She then requested that every student complete a survey with open-ended questions asking what individual services students may need help with (e.g. organization, friendship, etc.) or groups they may want to join (e.g. bullying, friendship, grief, etc.), and comments about other ways the school counselor could help them. Every student had a form prepared for them with their name on the top, and they were told that they did not have to write anything if they did not want to, but she still kept every form to document whatever they did or didn’t write. A similar open-ended question survey was provided to every sixth grade instructor asking them to identify students, and specific areas of concerns they had for each student. Working with the site supervisor, we then cross-referenced these surveys to select possible students for groups. I also tallied what subject areas seemed to come up the most frequently for both individual counseling and group counseling. The top area for group counseling was the topic of friendship from the student responses. The teacher responses revealed top concerns to be social skills and organization skills. I then pre-screened 8 female students who indicated interest in joining a group on the topic of ‘friendship’. During this time I asked each student to specify what areas they would like to work on most. Many of these areas included skillsets around avoiding conflict, controlling emotions (in response to rejection/conflict), and making friends.
Research on the topic of friendship relationships between female adolescents (and specifically middle school students) highlights both the need for intervention with students, as well as some techniques that may most effective for friendship...