The Leading Groups with Adolescents video presents a fishbowl view of an actual psychoeducational group. The presenters carefully outline each highly structured step in the process and then proceed to facilitate each step before the camera where viewers are vicariously drawn into the process. At times, due to the actual believability  of the group experience, I forgot I was a passive observer and not a member.

The participants are not actors– probably second-semester sophomores, who were chosen for training as peer mediators. It is obvious the students are high achieving, articulate and poised teens. As the leaders move the group process forward, the students become more real, more genuine, and more able to present themselves, warts and all, with more comfort and depth. To DeLucia-Waack’s credit, she acknowledges that this group of teens is probably the ideal for a psychoeducational group. Before the actual group begins, midway through the eight-hour group, and at the end, the presenters meet with Dr. Arthur Horne. As the outside moderator, he sets the stage and processes the group encounter. The articulation of counseling foundations and explanations of the authors’ purposes that he provides is certainly a strong addition to skills training.

For learning teen group psychoeducational skills, this DVD may be as valuable, or more so than a college lecture class. It’s of the A+ variety. When promoting the value of groups in comparison to individual therapy for teens, the presenters stress that adolescent groups remove the adult-as-authority impediment. These teens clearly demonstrate honest engagement with one another, and the use of preferential learning modalities to become both students and peer-teachers. The focus on the cognitive behavioral feeling-thinking-acting ABC model is, in itself, praiseworthy. For skills training in leading teen groups, this segment alone provides a vignette gem of CBT in action. In addition, the demonstration of termination is worth the price of the video.

Although the production has top-notch training potential, more cultural diversity would have strengthened the overall believability of the messages. There are only two teen male group members. The presenters, the group members and the moderator are Caucasian. Having a male and a female leader, however, is a stellar plus for modeling in teen groups. DeLucia-Waack’s energized presentation style can be both engaging and somewhat bothersome. Segrist’s restrained, almost somnolent style both negatively magnifies and positively compliments Delucia-Waack’s force. Certainly his role of getting the group physically involved in the process speaks volumes for the need for pacing, body-mind learning and active engagement in working with teen groups. As a tool, Leading Groups with Adolescents, is a worthwhile training DVD. The accompanying handbook further enhances the viewer’s ability to successfully use material from the video and actualize effective teen group work. Even with the absence of some of my personal “wants and needs,” I wholeheartedly recommend Leading Groups with Adolescents. There is icing on the cake – CEU credits are available for this video.

DeLucia-Waack, J., & Segrist, A. (Director). (2011). Leading groups with adolescents [DVD] New York, NY: Springer. Available from

Reviewed by:  J. Dwaine Phifer, NCC, DonLin Counseling Services, Statesville, NC.

The Professional Counselor