Partnership-oriented, person-centered group counseling methodology to enhance one’s life coping skills
through increased self-awareness
Since 2000, Karen Therese Sulheim Haugstvedt, (Center for Health Promotion, Akershus University Hospital), has developed, implemented and examined a number of educational group-based counseling programs tailored to various groups of patients living with long-term health problems and their families. Target groups have been individuals on long-term sick leave (2000), parents of overweight children (2005), parents of children with disabilities (2006), parents with minority background of children with disabilities (2011) and adolescents with long-term health problems and their parents (2013). The aim was to help the group participants become more aware of themselves, thereby enabling them to mobilize their personal and social resources to navigate life in a better way.
The results were as follows: A) two central topics that arose though the analysis of data in the research work were: 1) participants becoming aware of what is important to them (values) and 2) participants recognizing and accepting the full spectrum of their emotions, both the challenging and the good. B) The motivating context and two conditions that were vital for such processes to occur were: 1) a sense of understanding, acknowledgement and acceptance from other participants (those in a similar situation) and 2) the support and respect that the group leaders showed. C) Being challenged by group leaders through counselling and exercises was also a crucial part of the processes of self-awareness and self-reflection.
This knowledge surrounding different vulnerable participants’ processes of change has led to the development of the methodology “Self-Awareness through Values and Emotions,” (SAVE). The primary goal of SAVE is to support participants in the process of new self-awareness, by means of enhancing their self-understanding: helping them discover what is important, how they feel and who they are. The aim is that participants experience enhanced self-understanding as an ongoing process, fostered through individual exercises, self-reflection and by sharing with others in a safe and confidential group-setting.
Interactive web document
Karen Therese Sulheim Haugstvedt, Special Advisor, PhD
Telephone: +47 67 96 89 50
Address: Norsk HPH, Akershus University Hospital
Postboks 1000, 1478 Lørenskog, Norway