The Use of Silence and Silencing in Group Counseling: Productive, Unproductive, and Misunderstood

Jean Georgiou, Jim Reynolds


This research focuses upon the use and misuse of silence in group psychotherapy.  While many group counseling leadership skills are taught in counselor education programs, understanding the dynamics and use of silence as a therapeutic intervention has not been given the importance that we believe it warrants. This study focused upon the use and misuse of silence of three doctoral students in a CACREP accredited Counselor Education and Supervision program. The doctoral students were closely observed over a four-day residency as they facilitated experiential counseling groups with three groups of masters counseling students. Data collection utilized videotaping, debriefing questionnaires, individual interviews, and a focus group. The findings indicate that the doctoral students lacked understanding and skills in the use of silence. Recommendations are made to utilize meditative mindfulness as a method for students to develop their own inner awareness, and to include the use of silence in program curriculum.


silence, Silencing, Group, Group Leadership Skills, Mindfulness

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