Re: PCP with groups

Marcus Offer (
Fri, 27 Nov 1998 12:28:03 -0700

Maybe I'm misconstruing what they are asking about but the recent comments
from Alessandra MIleo and Thomas Grunau, encourage me to declare a related
interest - I teach group work to trainee careers advisers at Reading
University UK. This is a rather different branch of "group work" since it
does not involve therapy but a learning group. I use the experiential
learning cycle (Kurt Lewin) and Kolb's theory of learning styles (which
overlaps with it) as the theoretical basis but also a number of insights
from PCP are valuable - for example the sociality/commonality construct is
vital since a group leader cannot play a role in relation to a group until
s/he can construe the relevant construct systems of the group. Equally one
justification for doing group work rather than one-to-one careers guidance
interviews or counselling is that we learn by validation/invalidation
according to Kelly, and that happens mainly through feedback from other
people, hence groups represent a key medium for learning. The experience
cycle of Kelly, and the creativity and CPC cycles also offer useful
structures for a learning group based around career choice issues.

So far I only know of Linda Viney's article -

Viney, L.L., Truneckova, D., Weekes, P., and Oades, L: "Personal Construct
Group Work with school-based adolescents: reduction of risk-taking."
Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 10:167-186, 1997

The Niemeyer (comment from Manfred Straehle) sounds interesting but I
haven't read it - a more precise reference would be helpful?

My own background is as a frontline careers adviser with young people and
adults, who currently now teaches half time in a university, while
practising as a trainer and consultant the rest of my time. My interest in,
and use of, PCP as a very useful theory to suppport careers guidance, goes
back to 1976.

It may be of passing interest that I am currently experimenting with email
as a medium for delivering group work in careers guidance. I know there is
a lot of this in therapeutic groups ,especially self-help and in the USA,
but have never heard of any use in career guuidance or career counselling
(in groups, not 121).

Best wishes


Marcus Offer
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