Group Dynamics – HSCO 511

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

This course involves the study of human beings in relationship to other persons, singularly and in groups. The course explores—in theory and through in-class exercises—the real-life application of various aspects of group dynamics including (but not limited to) leadership, motivation, perception, power, and decision-making.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Conducting counseling in group settings is a popular practice in the human services professions. Additionally, most vocations require involvement in groups or teams. Thus, understanding group development, dynamics, therapeutic principles, and leadership is essential for group members as well as leaders. This course equips students through interactive and experiential learning to effectively use different interventions and techniques to meet various group goals; attend to both content and process; and to understand group leader roles, behaviors, and responsibilities.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate familiarity with different types of groups, including their formation, structure, function, power distribution, and member motivation.
    2. Examine how group dynamics, processes, and therapeutic aspects are cultivated and experienced within various group contexts.
    3. Critically evaluate the effectiveness of various leadership styles, activities, and techniques in different types of groups.
    4. Apply best practices, ethical guidelines, and biblical principles to group leadership.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and video presentations

(MLO: A, B)

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (5)

The student will complete five Discussions in this course. The student will post one thread that is between 300 and 350 words addressing a specific topic. The student will then post two replies of between 200 and 250 words. Threads and replies must demonstrate course-related knowledge and be supported by references to the course literature. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Support Group Experience

The student will participate in four open support groups or self-help groups in his/her community. After attending these meetings, the student will then write a paper describing his/her observations and experiences. This assignment consists of three parts:

Support Group Selection Assignment

The student will submit a supplied Word document to indicate that he/she has selected an open support/self-help group in his/her community and committed to attend four of the group’s meetings. (MLO: A)

Support Group Attendance Assignment

The student will bring a supplied attendance form to each of the four support/self-help group meetings attended. The group leader/facilitator/chairperson must sign and date the form, thus verifying the student’s attendance. The student will scan and submit the completed form. (MLO: A, B)

Support Group Paper Assignment

After attending the support/self-help group meetings, the student will describe and evaluate his/her experiences and observations of the group’s dynamics, leadership, meeting content, and processes in a 7–8 page paper. The paper will include personal reflections and applications. Relevant ideas from all required course texts and 2 additional scholarly research articles must be integrated as part of the analysis. The paper must be submitted as a Word document in current APA format and must be well written and organized. (MLO: B, C)

Reflection Paper Assignment

The student will watch the Groups in Action DVD by Corey et al. and articulate his/her observations, reflections, and personal applications in a 3–4-page paper. The paper must be submitted as a Word document in current APA format and must be well written and organized. (MLO: B, C)

Group Leading Project

The student will develop a proposal for a 1–2-hour group meeting in his/her community, and will then lead the meeting. After the meeting, the student will report on his/her experience. This assignment will consist of two parts:

Group Leading Proposal Assignment

The student will develop a meeting proposal that describes the group context and setting and outlines a plan for the session. The proposal must be submitted as a Word document in current APA format, (MLO: A, B, D)

Group Leading Report Assignment

The student will report on his/her experience leading a group meeting by producing a 6–7-minute video describing and evaluating the meeting and his/her performance leading it. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Quizzes (3)

The student will complete three quizzes consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions based on the Forsyth and Jacobs et al. texts. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes and have a time limit of two hours. (MLO: A, B)