School psychologists, counselors, and educators in the K-12 setting face the daunting responsibility of finding balance between mandated testing, students' mental-health concerns, and additional academic help for at-risk students. One solution to this dilemma is to implement a school-based mental health approach that combines learning and counseling needs into a single program. Several types of successful programs are available, though week-long intensive programs have recently increased in popularity.
Group-Centered Prevention Programs for At-Risk Students focuses on the development of such a week-long prevention program, and provides professionals with step-by-step directions to create their own program. It also focuses on the use of group-centered interventions as an opportunity to prevent at-risk behaviors as a means of correcting or changing dysfunctional behavior.
This highly readable volume addresses such challenging issues as:
Using self-reflection to teach writing skills.
Increasing interpersonal interaction while honing etiquette.
Enhancing group acceptance and reading comprehension.
Rebuilding self-efficacy by increasing word recognition and decoding skills.
With its solid research foundation combined with clear, practical program descriptions, this volume is an essential addition to the libraries of researchers and practitioners alike in the disciplines of school psychology, education, social work, psychotherapy and counseling, and clinical child psychology.
Erasing Failure with School-Based Prevention Programs.- Skill-Building Efficacy Retraining.- Motivation: Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic.- Group Process and Change.- Group-Centered Motivational Interventions.- Selecting Effective Interventions for the Classroom.- A One-Week Group-Centered Motivational Program.- Implementing and Evaluating Your Program: The Long-Term Goal.
Group-Centered Prevention Program for At-Risk Students builds on Clanton Harpine's first book on this general topic of groups in schools, Group Interventions in Schools: Promoting Mental Health for At-Risk Children and Youth , which Andy Horne reviewed in the July 2009 issue of this newsletter (pp. 22-23). Please refer to the contents of that review because they highlight and set the stage for much of what continues, by design of the author, in this new book I am reviewing. Where, among other emphases, the first book introduced the topic of group-centered interventions within schools, this one explicates it by focusing on groups used for the prevention of at-risk problems faced by students in the schools (as well as a way to correct existing problems).
In addition, the emphasis of this book on group approaches to prevention is fully consistent with one of the major initiatives of the Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. Beginning with a set of task force recommendations on this topic in 2000, the Society has dedicated its APA convention theme to this area (2009) and its journal, Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice published a special issue (2010, Volume 14, Number 3) addressing the group-prevention nexus. I was involved in all these efforts, for example, co-editing with Dr. Clanton Harpine the journal special issue mentioned above. So, fair disclosure holds I indicate that I may not be a completely objective reviewer of this book which I think so clearly explicates the ongoing group-prevention emphasis that the Society (and the Association for Specialists in Group Work) has endorsed and which I, along with an increasing number of other psychologists, feel so strongly about.
Consider the title of this new book for a moment. How does an author organize in one succinctly and well-written book the very large and complex topics of: Group-Centered,""Prevention Program, "and "At-Risk Students"? This is an ambitious project at the start, where diverse sets of concepts must be juggled successfully and it is not for the faint-of-heart. This level of challenge may explain, at least in part, why the field is dominated with a much more familiar line of scholarly work, practice, and research: "Individual-Centered,""Remedial Program," and "Problem Students" (not to imply this line of inquiry and practice is unimportant or easy).
Clanton Harpine pulls this grand project off with aplomb. Her new book is conceptually sound, research-based, jam-packed with practical applications, and is written in a scholarly and readable style. The latter quality is especially apropos because the on-going applied focus of her book is on an intensive 10-hour prevention program based on group approaches she has developed, called Camp Sharigan, which uses reading as the means for exerting preventive effects. Because her group-based prevention program targets school-age children, and because reading is an essential life skill for children (and people of all ages in our society), it makes perfect sense to build a group-based prevention program around reading, which can be tackled in class, after class, during summer programs, and in community-based efforts. As Clanton Harpine indicates in a critically important point, "Camp Sharigan is not just a reading program. Reading is the intervention to change behavior and strengthen mental wellness" (p. 56). As an aside, I've always been attracted to the potential of using indirect approaches for improving mental health, especially in prevention programs, by involving participants in main-line activities such as reading or exercise or volunteer work projects, with mental health guidance and applications intentionally and integrally attached.
Why does this "reading program" work? A key reason, which will be of no surprise to readers of this newsletter, is because of the interactive psychoeducational group processes that run through it by design. As the author points out, group interacti
Preface.- Introduction.- Acknowledgments.- Easy Reference Guide to Group-Centered Interventions.- About the Author.- Organizing a New Group.- Designing Group-Centered Interventions.- Identifying the Needs of the Group.- Using Group Process as an Agent of Change.- Group Process and Motivation.- The Role of Interaction in a Group.- Self-Efficacy: The Learning Component in Schools.- Group Cohesion: The Therapeutic Factor in Groups.- Back to the Classroom.
Presents the theory underlying group-centered counseling interventions
Examines research substantiating the effectiveness of prevention programs
Describes how to combine efficacy retraining, intrinsic motivation, and group counseling to help children learn more effectively
Includes hands-on, short-term, ready-to-use group-centered motivational interventions that have been tested with at-risk children in school-based settings