I am a guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Education. I have worked with Groupworks in the past co-leading adolescent groups. My experience with Groupworks has been outstanding. The therapist I worked with was extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. The supervision I received was thorough. I learned a lot about my own techniques and I was enlightened to a broader spectrum of group counseling. My experience with Groupworks was beneficial to my own counseling practice as well as the children in our groups.
I write this letter regarding the work that was done between Groupworks and Simon Baruch MS 104. Our school was afforded the opportunity to connect with Groupworks after the tragedy of September 11th. Simon Baruch is located in the Gramercy Park area and we service many students who attended elementary schools or lived near ground zero.
David Dumais was the therapist provided to our school through Groupworks. The work that the counseling staff was able to engage in with the support of David and Toby Feinson-Chua was invaluable. Students were provided with a different kind of counseling experience in the school setting, one that allowed them uninterrupted time where they could express themselves in many ways. Groups were put together to meet students needs and students were able to be involved in the process of agreeing to be in the group. The counseling staff received valuable supervision from David that allowed them to further develop their skills and build upon their skill set. The supervision also provided the counseling staff support to manage the many issues and needs that are evident in a diverse school such as ours.
I had the pleasure of working with David when I was a member of the counseling department and the work we did together was of great importance to our students. Students were able to develop skills that allowed them to cope with frustration, anger, and stress in constructive ways. My work with David left me better equipped to address the issues that were presented to me as a counselor and students better equipped to manage these issues as well.
I believe that Groupworks is a valuable resource for all schools. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or further information.
I work in the Department of Education as a social worker providing counseling services. Groupworks provides professional training for counselors and social workers who provide counseling. I have been participating in their supervision groups and training sessions for over a year. The groups are didactive as well as experential. You experience directly what it is like being part of a group with a Groupworks professional as well as learn the group techniques didactically in a supportive, nonthreatening framework. You learn methods of helpiing group members interact more with each other as well as moving the groups along.
While I am a mental health professional, I am also a "client served." I was part of an experimental program where the NYC Dept. of Ed. contracted Groupworks to give school counselors training and support. I have NEVER felt more supported at my job as when we were fortunate enough to be involved with Groupworks. I liked them so much, in fact, that I signed up for a certificate training with them, which was also excellent! These folks really care, and they know their stuff. I've been in the field for 25 years plus, so I know what I'm talking about. Great organization.
Three years ago, I became involved with GroupWorks for Education as a school social worker, new to the school system. My experience with the organzation since has been nothing short of transformational.
Through regular group supervision by seasoned facilitators (some of the best in the field, in my opinion), I have gained the knowledge and insight necessary to best work with the students in my school.
GroupWorks for Education provides a very unique (and rare) space for me to process the goings-on of the ever fast-paced school day. I can always bring challenging cases to my supervision group knowing that I will walk away with valuable insights; and just as important is the emotional and professional support I receive from this organization. In turn, I am able to be more effective in my daily work.
I am happy to support GroupWorks because of the long-term positive impact it has had in my development as a professional. Although I am not working directly with Dr. Leslie Quinn or Groupworks any more, what I learned from my supervision has continued to inform my practice with young people. Here’s what I wrote about my experience in 2006:
Since the fall of 2001, when our school (and our city) experienced so much turmoil, several of our most vulnerable students have received counseling services in conjunction with Adventures in Teaching and Counseling. These fortunate students have been in a co-facilitated group with myself and Dr. Leslie Quinn. Three of our original group members have remained since sixth grade, the other three have gone on to different high schools. Over the past years we have successfully added and enfolded new members to the original already existing group (all 6 members are now in high school). All members of our original group were mandated for counseling - these children had, in addition to the extraordinary stressor of proximity to the World Trade Center tragedy, learning problems and serious family issues. In the first year of our group, we regularly saw outrageous acting out behaviors, uncontrolled impulses, an inability to express emotions and a dearth of social skills.
It is in retrospect that we best see the strides that all the students have made: better school attendance, better grades, increased classroom attention spans, decreased disruptive behaviors in school, qualitative changes in peer connections, and improved self-images. As a most striking example, Craig(not his real name), an original group member, is not only able to stay in his seat and refrain from aggressively breaking wind towards the group, but he is able to express his feelings in words, using good natured humor instead of mean-spirited physical and verbal retaliation. He has gone from being the victim of cruel scapegoating (which due to his lack of social skills, he seemed to invite) to a popular school leader and athlete. He still struggles with learning problems, but is a willing participant in working on managing his disabilities, rather than feeling resigned to being “inferior.”
Great strides have not only been made by the group members. When Dr. Quinn joined the group in 2001, I was floundering in my first experience with counseling. As a novice, I had little confidence, and with this particularly difficult group, I despaired that I’d ever be able to effect any positive change. By working with Dr. Quinn and receiving supervision from her as well as Dr. Chuah-Feinson, I have become an effective group leader, who is confident and proud of the advances our group has made.
I have been with GroupWORKS since its inception and currently serve as Senior Facilitator and Board Member. I have trained 6-10 guidance counselrs and social workers per year for the past decade, engaging them in weekly and monthly experiential group process trainings.
In turn, we reach large numbers of NYC public school children-- each of our facilitators and our in-school counselor teams reach 15-30 kids per week who learn to flourish in new ways in their daily lives in the school environment. These children, coming from socially, emotionally and financially challenged backgrounds, learn how to function cooperatively and flourish in their daily lives. Group interventions can be more powerful, direct and effective than individual counseling methods.
I am pleased to write in support of the GroupWorks organization.
Since 1996, GroupWorks staff have provided professional development in group leadership and group counseling for the District #2 counselors that I supervised, as Director of Pupil Personnel Services. In 1996, still new at my role, Groupwork’s staff helped me create an unparalleled counselor training program that resonates and is a model to this day.
After September 11th, 2001, with so many of our schools in lower Manhattan impacted by the World Trade Center disaster, as Director of the 9/11 School Recovery Program, I turned to those I could trust to provide the comfort, support and expertise the school communities needed to heal. GroupWorks answered the call with the caring, skill and knowledge necessary to truly help.
Since November 2001, GroupWorks has been intensively working with school counselors, SAPIS (Substance Abuse Prevention/Intervention Specialists), children and educational staff in Community School Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7. David Dumais, and his staff have specifically collaborated with school counselors in Districts 1 and 2, co-leading groups for at-risk students. Through this Co-Leadership Resiliency Coaching Model, they have provided direct service to at-risk students, as well as on-site training in group work for school staff, serving as resilience coaches. The Co-Leadership Project and the Counselors’ First Project have increased the resiliency of hundreds of children and adults in the lower Manhattan schools and expanded the capacity of counselors to work with students in groups.
Counselors who have participated in the Counselors’ First Project have honed their group leadership skills, and as resilience coaches have increased the number of students they serve through leading groups in their schools.
It is with great enthusiasm that I recommend GroupWorks which would be a benefit to any school as part of its initiatives
GroupWorks is an amazing organization that has helped me grow personally and professionally over the past 10 years. As a guidance counselor in New York City, I had the fantastic opportunity to co-lead several groups with a Senior GroupWorks faciliator. It was there that my love for, and committment to, this organization began. I saw first-hand how powerful these groups were and how many children's lives were positively affected. After a few years of co-leading groups, GroupWorks gave me the confidence to successfully run groups on my own. I was able to reach so many more kids in my school through groups--they are very powerful. In a school environment, where time is so hard to find, being able to successfully and confidently run counseling groups helped make my jop as a counselor much more managable. Additionally, I witnessed these students grow and develop in considerable ways through these groups.
Personally, I have grown tremendously since getting involved with GroupWorks. The professionals in this organization have shaped my life and helped me truly understand myself. The staff is made up of some of the most caring, understanding and intelligent people I know. Any school would be lucky to work with Groupworks, as the students and staff will both benefit tremendously.
I cannot say enough good things about this organization--it is top-notch!!!!!
Every inner city middle school and high school has a percentage of "troubled kids" in their student body. But these kids are NOT stupid. Their problems are driven by their inability to cooperate with school rules and adapt to classroom norms, and an incapacity to develop the necessary self-determination to succeed in school. These kids are a major factor, maybe the largest factor, in the disappointing pace at which American students are falling behind their counterparts around the world.
GroupWORKS is starting to chip away at this mountainous problem. And, to be clear, we are ALL stakeholders in this problem that is filling our unemployment offices, detention facilities and ultimately our prison system with people that COULD become fantastically productive members of society.
GroupWORKS focuses on group treatment because financial and human resources are vastly insufficient to address this problem on a student-by-student basis. More importantly, GroupWORKS focuses on training staff that is already within the schools. They teach counselor and teachers how to deal effectively in a group setting with troubled kids, and then they leave. That is part of the beauty of GroupWORKS’ business model…it is designed for obsolescence. The organization’s goal is to become unnecessary.
Empowering schools to effectively bring more students’ skills to productive ends is what GroupWORKs does. It is all they do and they’re very good at it. And the payback is immediate….in school budgets, and in the wellbeing of students and staff. And ultimately, for all us as taxpayers and citizens.
Participating with GroupWorks as a senior facilitator of student
groups allows me to bring the expertise and wisdom gained over more than 25 years of study and/or practice of psychoanalytic clinical social work to NYC inner city school children and their guidance counselors. By co leading groups of children at risk with their guidance counselors, I am not only able to train the counselors in the highly effective model of modern group process, but I am also able to touch in a positive way the lives of the children themselves. For one period a week it is okay for these children to talk about their fears of getting shot in the neighborhood, the shame of a parent’s incarceration, the death of a beloved sibling, the absence of a mother, or the difficulty of having parents from an entirely different culture than New York American. Giving the children permission to have all their thoughts and feelings about the situations in their lives and respecting those feelings fosters self - respect and self- esteem, which they take back to their classroom with them. Children who feel good about themselves have a better chance of learning and doing well in school so that they may have better lives in the future.
For me, GroupWorks is personally enriching. Hearing the children call out my name in the hall to greet me as I arrive for my weekly morning at the school and listening to them talk about themselves in the safe environment of the group sessions stays with me throughout the whole week. Conducting a supervision group for counselors and psychologists gives me first hand knowledge, an insider’s birds eye view, of the challenges everyone in the Department of Education faces on a daily basis. It is important for me to be there for staff so that they can be there even more fully for the children.
The structure of GroupWorks provides for its facilitators so that we can better do our job, too. Monthly meetings with our peers who work throughout the school system also as part of GroupWorks give us an opportunity to problem solve and have our feelings heard and understood. Our meetings are models of what we are trying to teach the children to do in their groups. Monthly supervision by the director of GroupWorks with facilitators working in the same school further supports the work we do and helps prevent burnout that germinates in a sense of isolation. GroupWorks is a healthy model for any service providing or mental health agency.
When I started my career as a New York City guidance counselor, I felt overwhelmed to say the least! There were just so many students who needed my help and I didn't know where to begin. Luckily, I was thrown a life jacket in the form of GroupWorks. I began running a weekly group for students with the most difficult behavioral challenges, with the help of Dave Dumais, a Group Works social worker. He taught me the most valuable group counseling skills that I unfortunately did not learn through my degrees. He also taught me valuable life lessons that I still take with me. Through running this group, I knew I had to get more involved in such a spectacular organziation. I continued to further my skills by taking some of their courses and even earning my license as a mental health counselor under their supervision. My wonderful expereinces with GroupWorks truly came full circle when I became the teacher of their group course and member of their board of directors. I genuinely do not know how I would have survived my first few working years without GroupWorks. I only hope i can continue to work with them for as long as possible and that as many other people can benefit from them the way I have.