Assessing the efficacy of contextualized group counseling education in Asia: A mixed methods study

Rachel Sing-Kiat Ting, Justine Jian-Ai Thong, Joy Yung-Re Lim, Elizabeth Jones

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Many experiential learning teaching models are developed in Western cultures, with their efficacy not tested in non-Western cultures, especially in counseling education. This study examined the learning experiences of students (n = 52) enrolled in a culturally contextualized experiential teaching method implemented across a 3-year period in a Malaysian university Masters-level group counseling course. The course changes included group demonstrations by lecturers and peers, live group participation and observation, group dynamics map drawing and debriefing, paired group proposal writing and presentation, and group note- taking. This study adopted a mixed method approach with a short survey consisting of both standardized scales and open-ended questions, administered at the beginning and end of each 12-week semester. Archival data on students’ evaluation was also retrieved from the year before the intervention, to compare with the 3 years of intervention. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in students’ perceived group leadership skills and leadership characteristics at the end of the course. Students’ overall satisfaction with the course quality also improved significantly from the year prior to the implementation of the new teaching method. Qualitative coding identified three major themes–active learning classroom that led to confidence in group counseling knowledge and skills; experiential activities in the tutorial sessions, with opportunities to carry out their proposed group activities; and formative feedback given throughout the semester during tutorial settings contributing to the higher course satisfaction rate. To conclude, we discuss the implications of contextualized experiential learning for higher education counseling pedagogy in the Asian region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-568
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal for the Advancement of Counselling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Asian culture
  • Contextualization
  • Experiential learning
  • Group counseling
  • Training efficacy

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