Helping At-Risk Students: A Group Counselling Approach for Grades 6-9

Helping At-Risk Students: A Group Counselling Approach for Grades 6-9

Paperback(Second Edition, (Lay-Flat Paperback))

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Engaging, activity based, and effective, this widely used group counseling curriculum (the SPARK program) is designed for flexible implementation in school or clinical settings. The program helps youth build skills for school success and social-emotional growth while exploring such crucial topics as personal goals, ethnic identity and prejudice, peer pressure, violence prevention, and family relationships. Featured are 36 reproducible handouts and forms—plus Spanish-language versions of the 32 handouts—in a large-size format with lay-flat binding for ease of use.


New to This Edition

*Revised and expanded to incorporate new findings and field-tested strategies.

*New module on male–female relationships.

*New sessions on emotion regulation, communication, and relational aggression.

*Strategies for whole-class implementation have been added.

*Nearly half of the 68 reproducibles are new or revised.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606230022
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 01/09/2009
Edition description: Second Edition, (Lay-Flat Paperback)
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

About the Author

Jill Waterman, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and coordinator of the UCLA Psychology Clinic, the training clinic for UCLA's top-ranked PhD program in clinical psychology. Her research and publications focus on various aspects of child trauma and on developing and evaluating interventions aimed at helping our most vulnerable children. Dr. Waterman is also a practicing psychotherapist in the Los Angeles area.


Elizabeth Walker, PhD, received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2000. As a graduate student, she spent several years working with inner-city students in the Los Angeles area, and she currently works with economically disadvantaged, ethnically diverse high school students in Denver. Additionally, she is especially interested in integrating religion and spirituality into the therapeutic process.

Table of Contents

1. Guidelines for Setting Up and Leading Groups

Goals of the SPARK Program

Getting Started

    Selecting Group Members

Structure of the Groups

Group Leaders

    Presenting the Groups to Prospective Members

    Pregroup Individual Interviews and/or


Group Counseling Techniques

    Developing Trust and Understanding Confidentiality

    Building Group Cohesion

    Group Process

    Developmental Considerations

    Maintaining Order and Leader Sanity

    Uses and Parameters of Check-In and Check-Out

Issues in Ending the Groups

Dilemmas for Group Leaders

    Handling Issues of Child Abuse and Suicidality


    Balancing the Needs of Individual Group Members

with the Requirements of the Psychoeducational


    Dealing with Members Who Do Not Participate

    Dealing with Chronically Disruptive Members

    Parameters of the Group Leader Role

    Adapting the Curriculum for Full Classroom Use

2. The SPARK Curriculum

Overview of Module Content

Recruitment Criteria

Module One: Trust-Building and Communication Skills

Module Two: Anger Management and Emotion Regulation Skills

Module Three: Ethnic Identity and Anti-Prejudice

Module Four: Educational Aspirations

Module Five: Peer Pressure, Bullying, and Gangs

Module Six: Male–Female Relationships

Module Seven: Exposure to Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Reactions

Module Eight: Family Relationships

Termination Session: The Party

3. Effectiveness of SPARK Groups

Characteristics of Participating Group Members

    Family Structure and Distress

Outcome of the SPARK Groups

    Time 1 and Time 2 Differences for Those in the

Treatment Group

    Time 1 and Time 2 Differences for Those in the

Control Group

    Comparisons between the Treatment and Control


Pilot Evaluations of New and Revised Modules in This Edition

Summary and Conclusions

Information Regarding Data Analyses

Appendix A. Sample Materials for Beginning SPARK Groups

Appendix B. Curriculum Materials and Handouts

Appendix C. Sample Materials in Spanish for Beginning SPARK Groups

Appendix D. Curriculum Materials and Handouts in Spanish


School psychologists and counselors, school social workers, adolescent clinical psychologists, and graduate students in these fields. May serve as a supplemental text in graduate courses such as Group Counseling or Counseling Methods.

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