Psychology of Group Behavior

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 235

       Course Name: Psychology of Group Behavior

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

HSV 110. Recommended: PSY 107.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course studies human behavior in group situations. Content includes structure and interaction of groups, makeup of successful groups, leadership qualities, conformity, deviance, and group pressures. Current group counseling research reviewed; specific simulations of actual group sessions to illustrate effective group counseling approaches.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will learn the research on how culture/environment affects the behavior of groups and how groups affect the behavior of individuals.
  2. The student will identify various broad sociological, psychological and philosophical perspectives as the basis for group behavior.
  3. The student will consider the various applications of theories of group psychology to group counseling.
  4. The student will be able to role-play various types of effective group counseling techniques.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Sociological Perspectives on Group Behavior
  2. Psychological Perspectives on Group Behavior
    1. Humanistic
    2. Psychoanalytic
    3. Behavioral
  3. Philosophical Perspectives on Group Behavior
  4. Unique Features of Group Counseling
    1. Who profits from group counseling
    2. Structuring groups
    3. Group goal setting
    4. Functioning within a group: participation, openness, feedback and commitment
  5. Group Facilitation
    1. Group treatment process
    2. Goals for counseling groups
    3. Results of studies with groups of children
    4. Results of studies with groups of adolescents
    5. Results of studies with adult groups, college-age to the elderly

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instructional methods vary with the instructor and may involve any of the following:  lectures, discussions, readings, papers, audio-visual resources, group projects, simulations, guest speakers, case studies, exercises, group interactions, role-playing.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading assigned text and outside readings.
  2. Writing papers relevant to group theory and practice. Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded. This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.
  3. Oral presentations on particular case studies of group therapy.
  4. Fieldwork in terms of observation and simulations of group facilitation.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative textbooks include:

Gladding, Samuel T. (2012). Groups:  A Counseling Specialty (6th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall

Jacobs, Ed E., Masson, Robert L. L. and Harvill, Riley L. (2012).  Group Counseling:  Strategies and Skills (7th ed.).  Belmont, CA:  Thomson Higher Education.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods vary with the instructor and may involve any of the following: examinations, conferences, self-evaluation, papers, class discussion and projects.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance
  2. Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
  3. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.