Personal Development Groups for Trainee Counsellors : An Essential Companion book cover
1st Edition

Personal Development Groups for Trainee Counsellors
An Essential Companion

ISBN 9781138479289
Published October 18, 2019 by Routledge
198 Pages

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Book Description

Personal development (PD) groups are a key feature of many counsellor training programmes. Personal Development Groups for Trainee Counsellors: An Essential Companion is a comprehensive and accessible study guide written by experienced tutors and lecturers to support students with their PD group work and other personal development activities, helping students to get the most out of these experiences.

This essential resource is aimed primarily at those who are new to counsellor training. It will also be useful for anyone who wants to understand more about the nature of PD groups and how these can be used effectively. Case studies, questions and activities encourage readers to reflect on different topics and on themselves, including looking at how to improve self-care and how mindfulness can help. The book looks at the historical background to PD groups; how they can be used effectively, and also real-life experiences from both tutors and recent students. Other chapters invite the reader to develop their self-awareness through gaining an understanding of how ethics, relationships and identity are developed. There is a discussion about the merits or otherwise of mandatory personal therapy for trainees and also a discussion about the use of supervision. Finally, other important aspects of personal development are discussed including personal therapy, supervision, self-care and mindfulness.

Personal Development Groups for Trainee Counsellors will be of use to counsellor trainees on undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas to introduce them to PD groups and other essential activities. It will also be highly informative to those who are on counselling certificate courses to introduce them to aspects of personal development, as well as for tutors to support them in their work as PD group facilitators.

Table of Contents

List of contributors




Section A: Understanding personal development

1. What is personal development?

Carole Smith

2. A historical overview of personal development groups

Carole Smith

3. A historical and personal view of PD groups

Tracy Hitchcock

4. Personal development journeys: Student experiences

Edited by Jayne Godward

Section B: The personal development group

5. Understanding the personal development group

Jayne Godward

6. Experiences of personal development groups: A research base

Carole Smith

7. Experiences of running personal development groups: The facilitator role

Jayne Godward

8. Conflict and difficulties in personal development groups

Jayne Godward

Section C: Developing self-awareness to enhance practice

9. Ethics and personal development: Understanding personal ethics

Heather Dale

10. Personal moral qualities

Heather Dale

11. Attachment styles and relational patterns

Tracy Hitchcock

12. Identity and the counselling relationship: Who do you think you are?

Tara Fox and Jayne Godward

Section D: Other aspects of personal development

13. Personal therapy in counsellor training

Heather Dale, Jayne Godward and Carole Smith

14. Supervision and personal development

Heather Dale and Jayne Godward

15. Self-care and support for trainee counsellors

Heather Dale

16. Mindfulness and self-compassion

Tara Fox

17. Reflecting on and capturing your personal development: Study skills support

Heather Dale and Jayne Godward



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Jayne Godward is a Person-Centred Counsellor and Supervisor, who has been teaching and leading counselling courses in HE and FE since 1993. She has facilitated personal development groups since 2006. Jayne is a co-director of Yorkshire Counselling Training, working with students on the CPCAB L3 Certificate, L4 Diploma and L6 Certificate in Supervision courses.

Heather Dale is a Senior Practising Counsellor and Psychotherapist and is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Higher Education Academy. Alongside her private practice she has taught counselling courses at all levels, from complete beginners, to those studying for postgraduate degrees. She also writes and presents on ethical issues within the profession, such as the making of contracts, fitness to practice and charging for counselling.

Carole Smith is a Gestalt Psychotherapist working in private practice and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield. She has been a counselling and psychotherapy trainer, supervisor and consultant for many years, and currently working as UKCP Trainer/Supervisor for the Manchester Gestalt Centre.


'This wonderful additional to the field offers an informed and helpful insight into the world of personal development groups. The collaboration of contributing authors, all experienced practitioners, supervisors and academics, provides an engaging and valuable resource to trainee counsellors and therapists and others interested in their own personal development. The rich integration of theory, practice examples, case studies and reflective exercises creates a well-informed companion guide, signposting the reader seamlessly through the often complex, challenging and ultimately rewarding experience of personal development groups.' - Anna Playle, Psychotherapist, Supervisor & Programme Director and Senior Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University 

'It is acknowledged that personal development groups, although essential to therapeutic education, can be experienced with some trepidation—not only by students! This book, produced by five experienced and committed practitioners will be welcomed by trainee therapists, their teachers and supervisors. It is a 'go-to' handbook that helps to demystify the purposes and processes involved in PD group membership where the need for good facilitation and active participation is a given. This book is definitive in its broad-spectrum coverage and it is presented in a very accessible format.' - Marjorie Ashdown, BACP Fellow, PD Group Supervisor, Clinical Supervisor and Therapist

'I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who works with people, as it has certainly enhanced my capacity for reflection and broadened my personal development. The exercises were often transformative and encouraged me to look at things from a slightly different perspective. They encouraged self-reflection and I felt my capacity for personal development deepened through the experience. I especially appreciated the vignettes throughout which allowed me to put my learning into context.' - Margo Fourman, Special Education and Learning Development Tutor, University of Huddersfield