Groups in Action Workbook (Segments 1-3)

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timer Asked: Mar 15th, 2016
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Question description

read the text in the workbook 

Answer the assigned questions on "Groups in Action Workbook – Evolution of a Group (Segments 1-3)."


You will be graded on the overall quality of your responses, which may range from a few sentences to a short paragraph, depending on the nature of the question.


Early Developments and Interactions From the outset, we ask members to briefly report some things they have been thinking about since the pre-group meeting and what they are aware of at this moment as they are convening for this weekend group. James says he often feels like an outsider in his life. As we listen to James, our interest is in finding out how James perceives himself in this group. We ask him, "Do you feel like an outsider in here?" We hope he will verbalize what it is like to be an outsider both in and out of group. Jacqueline reports that she feels stupid and thinks that she rambles and makes no sense. It is important to find out what feeling stupid and being inarticulate mean to her. We do not assume that we know what she means by rambling. Our interest is in finding out if and how this is problematic for her. We might make the assumption that she has a critical judge within her; we do not pursue this at this point. Instead, we ask her to mention a few ways that feeling stupid gets in the way of what she wants. Andrew acknowledges that, like James, he too feels like an outsider. When Marianne inquires whether he feels like an outsider with everyone in this group and whether there are some with whom he can make a connection, he tells us that he finds it is easier to trust the men in the group. The inquiry is aimed at getting Andrew to note that he does not feel equally distant from everyone. Again, we do not assume that we know what being an outsider means to Andrew or James, nor do we know what feeling stupid is like for Jacqueline, so we ask all three of them to note and verbalize when they become aware of these feelings. 3. James says, "I feel like an outsider." How might you work with his statement? 4. Jacqueline says, "I feel stupid when I ramble." How would you deal with her self-deprication in the first session? Some Teaching about Group We know that confidentiality is essential if members are to feel a sense of safety in a group and is basic for them to engage in risk taking. Even if nobody raises this issue, we raise the topic and caution them about how it can be broken. We then provide guidelines for maintaining the confidential nature of the exchanges. Specifically, we emphasize how easy it might be to break confidentiality without intending to do so. We ask them to refrain from talking about what others are doing in the group. We emphasize to members that it is their responsibility to continually make the room safe by addressing their concerns regarding how their disclosures will be treated. If they do not feel trust because they are afraid that others will talk outside the group, this doubt will certainly hamper their ability to fully participate. We also mention to members that it does not make sense to open up too quickly without a foundation of trust. As is evident in the DVD, the way to create trust is to get members to verbalize their fears, concerns, and here-and-now reactions during the early sessions. We emphasize that it is up to each member to decide what to talk about and how far to pursue a topic. During the early phase of a group, we are not likely to make interventions that lead to in-depth exploration of what members are saying. Rather than focusing immediately on the first member who speaks, we make sure that everybody has a chance to briefly introduce himself or herself. 3. Imagine yourself as a member at the first meeting. What fears would you have about participating? What would help you feel more trusting? The Dyad Exercise Marianne gives instructions to members about how to make best use of the group, and then introduces a dyad exercise. Working in pairs facilitates member interaction, since talking to one person seems less threatening than addressing the entire group. We ask members to say a few things to their partners that they have been thinking about since we first met at the pre-group meeting. Specifically, we suggest they talk about any fears or expectations they have about this group, and anything they hope to explore in the group. We typically have them talk for about ten minutes to a partner and give them a chance to participate in a couple of dyads. After the dyads, we ask members to take turns verbalizing to the entire group a few of the points they shared with the partner(s) in this exercise. Again, our aim is to hear from everyone, to clarify what they are saying, and to help them become more specific about their goals for the group. We avoid interventions that would facilitate deeper exploration for any of the members because we want ample time for all members to at least identify their concerns. While it may be tempting to stay with anyone member for a great deal of time to work on what he or she initially brings up, we do not do so because it would be at the expense of including others. If all participants speak early on, it provides everyone with a better sense of each other. They usually discover some commonalities enabling them to identify with one another, which leads to a climate of trust. Full Participation We expect everybody to become a participating member. If members do not bring themselves in spontaneously, we continue to invite them to speak. We are likely to say any of the following: "Let's hear from everybody. A few of you have not yet spoken. Even though it is difficult to speak up, we hope you challenge yourself to do so." Members may choose to share relatively little about events outside of the group, yet they can still actively participate by keeping themselves open to being affected by others in the group and they can share this. 1. What would help you to feel comfortable enough to speak about yourself if you were a member of a group? 2. What would you say to a quiet member who tells you that in his or her culture it is considered impolite to speak up without being specifically asked to talk? Shared Responsibility As leaders, we do not want to be the only ones working, nor do we want members to rely on us to consistently bring them into the interactions. A few examples from the DVD illustrate how we build a norm of shared responsibility. Marianne invites Jackie to bring herself into the group process after Jackie says, "If I bring myself in when someone else is talking, my fear is that I would interrupt what's going on." The co-leaders teach members how to best include themselves in what may be happening in the group at a given point. We tell members that they are not as likely to interfere with the group process if they share how they are affected at that moment by what is going on. Thus, we encourage Jackie to take the risk of possibly interrupting an interaction, rather than sitting in the group quietly while she waits for her turn to speak. Our attempt is to shape the norm for members to spontaneously enter into interactions when the current issue has meaning to them, rather than to rely on us to draw them in. We teach members to take an active role in the process of monitoring what they are feeling, thinking, and doing. We do not want them to expect that we will know and point out when they are feeling scared, intimidated, or withdrawn. A few examples illustrate this point. James says he feels he has to prove himself. We want James to monitor specific times during the sessions when he becomes aware of striving to prove himself. We ask Jackie, who is aware of the authority figures (co-leaders) to pay attention to the times when the presence of Marianne and Jerry might get in her way of doing work. You will soon see Casey who says she fears being vulnerable and that she rehearses endlessly before finally speaking. We encourage her to speak up when she experiences feelings of vulnerability. Casey can accomplish this by simply announcing that she feels vulnerable and that she is rehearsing. Casey is a good example of a member who is in the habit of censoring her expression of thoughts and feelings. She is afraid of being inappropriate or being judged if she voices what she is thinking. We encourage Casey to speak up, especially when she is having reactions to what is transpiring in the group. Hopefully, she will learn that this group is a safe place to discover what would happen if she more frequently says out loud, what she is thinking and feeling. Assume that you were co-leading this group. What would you say to each of these member's comments? 2. James says, "I worry a lot that I need to prove myself." 3. Casey says, '1 rehearse countless times before I speak because I want to say things right." Role Plays As you will notice throughout the program we frequently use role-plays to have members show us how they struggle with a particular relationship rather than report stories about problematic relationships. We ask members to identify specific individuals in the group, who could represent significant others, and who could be helpful to them in furthering their work. Routinely, we instruct them not to talk about an issue, but to make it present by speaking directly to another person during a symbolic role-play. Darren identifies people that could assist him as he explores his feelings of "being a young kid." He selects Andrew and James to be his older brothers and Jerry to be his father. By bringing a conflict into the present, we get a much better understanding of how Darren struggles with feeling young. Roleplaying techniques facilitate a deeper understanding and insight, a greater emotional connection, and tend to draw others into the work by tapping into their own emotions. Engaging in a role-play and symbolically reliving some painful experiences tends to help members release pent-up emotions and can be a catalyst for the beginning of a healing process. Experiential methods, such as role-playing, enable participants to attend to unfinished business from the past and allow them to find a different ending to a painful event. Members often are able to make a new decision about a particular life situation. When a conflict situation is enacted, members also have opportunities to practice more productive ways of relating to others. Reflect on these questions from the vantage point of you being a group leader. 1. What purpose do you see in asking members to engage in role-playing, even at the early sessions? 2. What factors pertaining to a member's culture or gender might you consider before initiating a role-play in this group? Here-and-Now We consistently ask members to pay attention to their present reactions to and perceptions about one another. For a group to achieve a genuine level of trust, it is essential that they express persistent reactions that pertain to what is going on in the context of the group. We underscore the importance of members saying what is on their mind, even though they fear that they may interrupt what is going on. When members keep their reservations to themselves, there is no way that we can deal with such concerns. When participants share certain reactions that could get in their way of participating fully in the group, we have a basis to do some productive work. For instance, Jackie lets us know that she will probably feel intimidated by us as authority figures, because she never feels good enough. She also shares that she tends to be cautious as a way to avoid hurting anyone's feelings or creating a conflict. With this information now being public, she is in a good position to use reactions that will emerge for her as a reference point for some intensive work. We are interested in both a here-and-now focus and a there-and-then focus. However, we find that members are usually not ready to take the risk of dealing with significant personal issues outside the group until they first deal with their reactions to one another in the room. When members bring up either a present or past problem situation from outside of the group, we explore how this might be played out in the context of the present group. For example, James says that he often feels that he has to prove himself at work. Both Jacqueline and Jackie inform us how much they are seeking approval. Andrew talks about feeling isolated. All these members are asked to take note when they experience these feelings or thoughts in the group. While we emphasize members' here-and-now reactions, we also ask them to explore how their present reactions in the group may reflect how they feel away from the group. Jackie expresses her concern that she will not live up to our expectations, nor will she get our approval. Eventually, as the group becomes more established, we hope that she will also increase her awareness of how her struggles operate in her everyday life. Making Contracts As members state what they want to accomplish, we routinely ask them if they are willing to take the steps necessary to reach their goals. We also check to determine that the goals they are setting for themselves represent what they want, rather than goals they feel pressured to accept from someone else. Casey reports that she wants to rehearse and edit less, and express herself more often. She agrees to make a contract to more spontaneously express her inner thoughts. Marianne wonders if Casey's desire to challenge her own cultural injunctions is indeed her own agenda. She asks, "How come you want to change this?" Later in the group, Jerry suggests some work to Casey. When Casey hesitates, Marianne again asks Casey whether this is her agenda or Jerry's. 1. How would you use contracts with a group you are leading? How would you help members design their contract? 2. If you were a member of this group, how open would you be in agreeing to making a contract? What would help you in making a contract? Direct Talk Rather than have members talk about a concern they mention, we consistently ask them to select someone in the group to talk with directly. Also, members have a tendency to talk about an individual in the group. When this occurs, we instruct them to look at and talk directly to that person. For example, Jyl reveals that she is feeling very exposed. Marianne makes the assumption that when people feel exposed they are usually aware of someone noticing them, and thus, she inquires, "Whom do you notice?" After Jyl indicates that James is the one she notices, she is asked to look at James, speak directly to him, and tell him what she is experiencing. 1. What do you observe in members when they talk directly to another person as opposed to talking about that person? 2. If you were a leader in this group, what cultural factors would you be sensitive to before asking members to speak directly to one another? Look and See Throughout the duration of a group, we ask members to look at those with whom they are having reactions or making assumptions about. Jyl assumed that James was judging her; however, when she looked at him as she spoke to him; she began to see acceptance rather than judgment. Jyl would have missed that had she directed her eye contact away from James. With this, we also help Jyl become aware of her projections. When Jacqueline indicates that she feels marginalized as an African-American woman and sometimes feels different around Euro-Americans, we ask her to look around the group and notice her reactions. We could have her address individuals by indicating some of the ways she feels different from them. 1. What therapeutic value do you see in asking members to make eye contact with another person in the group as they are talking about a problem area? Avoiding Quick Solutions Rather than providing quick solutions, it is essential that members have an opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts. When a member raises self-doubts, fears, or struggles, we block other members from offering reassurance too quickly, before this individual has had an opportunity to explore his or her concern. When Jyl is crying as she is talking to James, we do not facilitate members giving her reassurance or telling her that she has no reason to feel embarrassed. Instead, when Jyl says she feels exposed, our intervention leads her to say more about what it is like for her to feel exposed. Although quick reassuring feedback from members may make her feel good for a brief moment, it is doubtful that this feeling will be long lasting. This is based on the assumption that Jyl's critic lies within her and not primarily with others. 1. Jyl cries and says she feels exposed. As a leader, how would you respond to her? Dealing with Conflict A group cannot achieve a genuine level of safety if conflict is brewing and is not addressed. Conflict may occur at any stage of a group. During the first session in this group, there was conflict between Jyl and James when she announced that she felt judged by him. Jyl's feelings were hurt when Jacqueline made the comment, "What I have to say is not very nice." Although Jyl did not let Jacqueline know how she was affected by her comment, it was crucial that the leader drew attention to Jacqueline's comment. Marianne, operating on her hunch that Jacqueline's comment did not register well with Jyl, asked Jyl what it was like to hear the remark. Jyl responded with, "Being me with you is not safe. I am going to have to protect myself. The look on your face lets me know that I'm likely to be judged by you." Because both of them continued talking, they were able to resolve the conflict, and they were able to again establish trust between them. The same was true for Jyl and James. Another potential conflict situation was prevented when Jyl gave her reactions to both James and Jacqueline when they were talking about not being taken seriously because of their ethnicity. Jyl admits that she does not know what it is like to be an African-American woman or an educated Chicano, yet she discloses how she struggles in a similar way when she says, "I know what it's like to be a white woman-an educated, white woman-who is sometimes treated like a piece of fluff." These examples show that conflict does not have to be divisive, if all who are involved express their reactions and continue the dialogue. What is crucial is that the leaders are alert to subtle conflict that may be brewing and teach members how to deal with one another. Leaders should not collude with members to avoid conflict; instead, they need to model that it is safe to address an interpersonal conflict, and that the conflict can be productively resolved. During the early stages of a group, the members are keenly aware of ways that conflict is being dealt with by the leaders and between members. If conflict is not addressed adequately, it is likely to have a significant impact on the trust and cohesion of the group at a later phase of development. Reflect on these questions from the vantage point of being a leader of this group. 1. How might the way you deal with conflict in your personal life help or hinder you as a leader in dealing with conflicts in groups? 2. How would you respond to Jacqueline when she makes the comment, "What I have to say would not be nice." What Will Get in Your Way in this Group? We teach members to speak up, even if they have not yet formulated exactly what they want to say. We often say, "It is easy to let an entire session go by without getting around to bringing yourself into the group. The longer you wait to involve yourself, the more difficult it will become. Challenge yourself to say something at the beginning of each group, even if it's a brief statement of what it is like for you to come to group today." Members often discover that if they force themselves to express even briefly something that is on their mind as they come to a session, this will pave the way for them to become more involved. It is especially useful for members to monitor their internal dialogue and any hesitations they may have about participation and vocalize this. Early in the course of a group, we typically ask participants to reflect on what they are likely to do that will interfere with what they want from the group experience. We say something like, "What will you do when you become anxious? How might you resist? How could you sabotage yourself? What are you willing to do when you recognize that you are getting in your own way?" As co-leaders, we are not willing to assume responsibility for them to continually call them on their avoidances. Instead, we expect them to monitor what they are doing and call themselves on self-defeating behavior during the group. When we asked members in the group to reflect on the questions listed in the previous paragraph, they readily identified some ways they could avoid when they got scared. Below are some examples: Andrew: "I'll edit myself by trivializing. I tell myself that what I have to say is not that important. I'll let others talk and convince myself that they have more significant issues." Casey: "I rehearse. I am afraid I cannot articulate my thoughts well enough for you to understand me. I want to sound intelligent. Because I think I have to be perfect, 1 may not let you know what I'm thinking." Jacqueline: ‘‘I am afraid I won't say things well. I beat myself up after a group. I tell myself that I didn't say what I wanted clearly enough." Jackie: "I try hard not to react. I realize that when I am hurt, but it is hard to say 'ouch.' " Darren: "I feel young and invisible. I don't know how to get in with you guys, so I'm likely to withdraw." James: "You won't know when I feel outside the group, because I won’t tell you. I hold back." Jyl: "When I get scared or feel like I'm being judged, I'll retreat." SusAnne: "I'm afraid my problem will be so big that I won't be able to handle it. My first instinct is to disappear." During the initial phase of a group, members typically appear somewhat hesitant to get involved. For example, we do not view SusAnne's statement above as mere resistance. Her hesitation may be related to a lack of trust in the leaders or the members to be able to handle a problem that she brings forth. Members may be intimidated by the leaders or certain other members, and they are sizing up one another. Some initial hesitation can be expected. What is important is how any early signs of resistance is dealt with by the leaders. Because we recognize that members are anxious, and that this anxiety can be used therapeutically, we begin by encouraging the members to share and explore their reactions. As co-leaders, what we are likely to say to these members collectively is something like the following: "When you become anxious in this group, you are likely to behave exactly as you just described. I hope you call yourself on your behavior when you notice that you are avoiding. I may or may not notice it, so I need your help. When you get scared and withdrawn, push yourself to announce your reactions. Doing so will allow us to work together and give you an opportunity to do something different. Note what might happen if you behave in new ways when you find yourself becoming anxious." 1. Imagine you are co-leading this group. Pick one of the member’s statements above and write your response to him/her. 2. What other strategies can you think of to address a member’s hesitation and/or avoidance? Building Safety Safety is a factor throughout the duration of a group. Establishing trust becomes even more important before a member is ready to engage in some deeper work. This group had established some degree of trust, yet all members were not at the same level. For example, SusAnne initiates some exploration of ways that she protects herself from being hurt with a wall. At some point during this discussion, Jerry asks her, "Do you think we will care about you enough to listen to you as you talk about your hurt?” SusAnne hesitates and then lets us know that she has doubts about our interest in her. Because of this, we do not facilitate SusAnne's work she initiated, but our interventions are aimed at getting SusAnne to establish the level of safety in the room that will be necessary for her to pursue deeper self-exploration. Another teaching point we want to make pertains to the metaphor of the wall that SusAnne mentions. Eventually, we may return to her metaphor for further exploration at a later session. There are many useful interventions we could make, and which intervention we choose has a great deal to do with the clues we pick up from SusAnne. She gives us a sense of what direction she wants to move, and then we build upon that. Depending on what emerges into SusAnne's awareness, we might move in a number of different directions as we work with the metaphor of her wall. Some of these interventions are:    "Describe this wall for us. How high is it? How thick is it? Does it surround you? Are there any openings in your wall?" "Let yourself become this wall and talk to each of us individually about what it is like for you as the wall." "Talk to us about what this wall does for you in your life. How does it help you? What functions does it serve? How might your wall get in your way in life? How do you imagine life would be if you did not have this wall? Are you willing to take the wall down a bit in this group?" We would not ask all of these questions, nor make all of these interventions. The above represents a sample of some of the ways we might assist SusAnne in exploring what her wall means to her and the potential price she is paying for keeping her wall. It is not up to anyone in the group to decide that she should tear down the wall, for that is her decision. Instead, we want to create a safe climate that will allow her to explore the meanings of her metaphor. We want to underscore an important point. In our view, there is not one right way to intervene when members identify a problem area they want to explore. There are no perfect words and there is no such thing as a perfect intervention. Depending on your style of group leadership, your theoretical orientation, and your perception of the context of what is going on in the group, you are likely to intervene in any number of ways. There are many fruitful ways to pursue therapeutic work that a client initiates. What is important is that you have an understanding of what you want to accomplish, and that this is in harmony with what your client wants to achieve. Although you will not know the outcome of a therapeutic experiment before it unfolds, you should have a rationale for your interventions. 1. What intervention might you make with SusAnne, and what would you most hope to accomplish with it? Linking the Work of Members One of the unique advantages of group counseling is that clients can learn from one another. Although some individual work in a group is useful, it is a better utilization of time and resources to involve several members. In this area, the leaders help the group to identify common themes emerging within the group interactions. We want to create the norm that members can take the initiative to link themselves with others and not rely exclusively on the leaders to join them with others. One way for coleaders to link members is to pay attention to nonverbal reactions of members, as is seen in the program segment described below. You will notice that Andrew has a dilemma of wanting to be safe versus reaching out to others. He wants to appear strong and is afraid that others will see him as being weak. During Andrew’s work, Marianne notices that Jyl is tearing up. The co-leaders involve Jyl by asking her to tell Andrew how he affects her. Both Andrew and Jyl can be engaged in a therapeutic dialogue. It is not necessary to drop Andrew in order to include Jyl. This is an example of enhancing one member's work by including others into the therapeutic exchange. The skill of linking is essential to maximize the therapeutic power inherent in a group. Earlier Andrew mentioned that Jerry reminds him of his dad. Andrew now shares that he is feeling very self-conscious around Jerry because he does not want to appear weak. Marianne asks Andrew to express his feelings directly to Jerry, which he does. Jerry discloses to Andrew that he was tearing up and says, "What a shame that you have to surround yourself with a huge wall." Jerry's response was nothing close to what Andrew feared he might be thinking about him. The reactions Jyl and Jerry shared toward Andrew did not confirm his feared hypothesis that people would not respect him if he let his guard down. Instead, he felt acknowledged and supported, which provided him with reinforcement to reveal more of the side of himself that he has locked up inside of him. Andrew's dilemma of staying locked up versus needing others is a catalyst for others. James is drawn into Andrew's exchange with Jyl and with Jerry. James says, "I can identify with you. It takes a lot for me to feel I always have to be strong. I'd like to be able to tell my brother and father that it is okay to be weak." With this connection, we could invite James to talk more to Andrew, telling him what it is like to have to be strong all the time. By working together, both Andrew and James can make a decision about wanting to continue to live their lives as they have, or if they want to modify some aspect. Another way we could facilitate interaction would be to have James talk to Andrew as his brother, telling him ways he would like their relationship to be different. The symbolic role-play that James would do with his brother could also be enlightening to Andrew. From the examples described above, you can see how it is possible to bring several members into a piece of therapeutic work by linking the common struggles. Even though their stories may be different, they can be linked with the common pain they experience. Jyl, who was emotionally moved by Andrew's work and felt connected to him, later did an extensive piece of work with her own father. Even though we shift our attention from member to member, we avoid doing so at any member's expense. For instance, we notice Jyl crying and we ask her to tell Andrew, who was the focus of our attention, what she is experiencing. Linking her to Andrew makes it possible for us to attend to both individuals. If members are having emotional reactions to Andrew, more often than not, his struggle has some personal meaning to them. Both Jyl and James, in the process of telling Andrew how he affects them, are not distracting his exploration. 1. If Andrew declared he was tired of feeling locked up and wanted to be different, how would you pursue work with him? "How Was the Day?" With any type of group we are leading, we set aside some time when we ask members to say how the session was for them. Specifically, here are some areas we cover with this group: "How was the day for you? In what ways do you feel any different now than you did at the beginning of the day? Do you have any regrets about anything you did or said? How safe does the room feel to you now? What specifically do you want to bring up tomorrow?" At this juncture, we are interested in bringing closure to this session and getting them focused on how they can involve themselves in the upcoming session. Here are a few of the members' comments as well as our thoughts: James: "I was moved and 1 didn't expect that. I feel a little naked." (What does he mean by feeling naked? Does he have regrets? We would encourage him to bring this up either now or at the beginning of the next session.) SusAnne: ''I'd like to work on issues." (This is a vague and global statement that does not tell us much. We ask her to specify the issues and she responds with "trust issues.” This is still global, so we ask again and finally she identifies intimate relationships with males.) Jackie: "I feel a lot safer now. Tomorrow, 1 would like to work on my feeling inadequate." (We would ask her to reiterate what she did to bring about this increased safety. And we ask her to briefly identify if there was a time today when she felt inadequate and, if so, at what point.) Jacqueline: "I was surprised at the work I did today." (In one sentence, we ask her to identify what was most surprising to her.) Let us stress that this is not the time for getting into extensive discussion, but for wrapping up a few significant events. Here we are attempting to get members to be more specific and to give one-sentence replies. We can also get a commitment from members at this time if they are willing to bring up a certain issue in the following session. In general, the members perceived the room as a safer place and gave indications of being willing to talk out loud, about what they were thinking and feeling. With this willingness to make themselves known, we felt hopeful about the progress of the group. 2. Of the comments made above by SusAnne, Jackie, Jacqueline, and James, which one of them most catches your interest and why? What would you say to this person? 3. In the closing minutes of a group, a member says she feels cut off by you. What would you say or do? 4. A member says, “I didn’t feel that we accomplished anything today. I was bored, but didn’t say anything for fear of offending anyone.” How would you respond? Checking-In With Members We often open a new session, especially during the early phase of a group, with a brief dyad. This serves as a focusing exercise by assisting members to gain clarity on what they want from a particular session. We are attempting to make the members responsible for what they want to bring up for exploration, rather than relying on us to determine their agenda. We also invite them to mention any unfinished business from the previous session. After participants have had a chance to talk in pairs for a few minutes, we reconvene as a group and each member is expected to declare a specific problem area he or she is ready to examine. We also typically add, "Is there anything in your awareness that keeps you from being present in this group at this moment?" We raise this question because sometimes members are distracted by something that has happened in between sessions. Unless they take, the opportunity to at least mention what is on their mind, full participation is hindered. During the check-in time, our aim is to hear what each person most wants to say briefly. We may stay with a member a bit longer to assist him or her in clarifying a goal or solicit more information. At times members become quite emotional as they describe a concern they want to address. In this case, we are apt to say, "Even as you describe your concern, it brings up a lot of feelings. I hope that after the check in with everybody that you will claim time to take care of yourself. Is it okay with you if we continue with our go-around right now?" We generally do not stay with anyone member before we have completed the check-in process because we want all the members to have a chance to express what they are bringing to this session. Our aim is to identify common themes emerging within the group and to link the work of several members. Below are some comments made by members in the DVD during the check-in time. • Jyl mentions her tendency to isolate at times and adds that she would be disappointed if she did not do some work with her father. • James says that he feels more present and closer to the group. • Jackie declares that she would like to focus on her feelings of not being good enough. • SusAnne again brings up her concerns pertaining to trust toward the group. • Darren is feeling some energy with his dad. (Darren selects Jerry as a symbolic dad for later on). • Casey is afraid that people will judge her. • Andrew states that he wants to explore his feelings of betrayal, his feelings of not being good enough, and how he keeps people out of his life. (Andrew picks Jyl as the person that could be helpful for him, because both of them have father issues). During the check in, Andrew mentions that he and Jyl have been talking between sessions. This kind of sub-grouping between members does not have to be problematic as long as they are willing to bring into the group the essence of what transpired in their discussions. However, sub- grouping is divisive when members discuss perceptions and reactions to others, yet fail to bring this to the entire group. Furthering of Trust Building After each of the members has checked in, what perks our interest is the lack of trust that SusAnne feels in the group, especially since she has mentioned this before. Because this is a present, here-and-now reaction pertaining to the group, we encourage SusAnne to give expression to her level of trust in us. She informs us that she trusts us somewhat, but does not feel close. We ask her to address each of us individually and say something about the degree to which she trusts each person. Because SusAnne states that people might not be interested in her, we suggest that she make a go-around (including each person in this group) by completing this statement: "You wouldn't be interested in me because. . . “She picked two people whom she felt she could trust, yet did not feel close to. Again, SusAnne was asked to talk to each of them individually and indicate how her feelings toward them might get in the way of her doing work. By acknowledging her doubts and fears, and by discussing them with individuals in the group, she was able to establish the trust necessary for her to get involved in some significant and intensive work later in the group. Notice that we did not ignore SusAnne's reservations, nor did we encourage group members to offer reassurance to her that they were trustworthy. The core of the struggle lies within SusAnne and she needs to decide if she is willing to take the risk of trusting the members. By making this decision out loud, she includes the people in the group with whom she has doubts. This process allows SusAnne to come to a greater realization of the projections she places on others. Eventually individuals can reply to SusAnne by letting her know whether her assumptions are indeed a reality from their vantage point. For instance, assume SusAnne says, "Marianne, you wouldn't be interested in me because you are too busy with everyone else." I might respond with, "Yes, I am busy, yet I am very interested in you." Creating Safety As Casey begins to talk, she is looking down at the ground. She mentions that she worries about being judged by a couple of people. After asking her to select those people, she names SusAnne and Jacqueline. We direct Casey to talk out loud about the ways in which she fears these individuals might judge her. As she looks at both SusAnne and Jacqueline, Casey says aloud all the things she imagines they might be thinking about her. As leaders, we have a hunch that Casey is getting ready to make some deeper personal disclosures. Therefore, Casey first needs to deal with making the room safe, especially with these two people. As we did with SusAnne, we do not bypass nor ignore her reservations; rather we see this as a key focus of her work at this time. Again, we deal with Casey’s fears and projections, rather than allowing members to reassure her that she has nothing to fear from them. This demonstrates how we work with members (SusAnne and Casey) to get them ready to do more intensive work at a later session. Assume you are leading this group, which is in the transition stage, and SusAnne says, "I have a hard time trusting people in this group. I am afraid that people will judge me." 5. What intervention would you make if several other members joined in with SusAnne and stated that they too had difficulty trusting this group? 6. In the scenario described on the previous page, Casey has concerns about both SusAnne and Jacqueline, and expresses her fear that they might judge her. What intervention would you make?

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thebookdean
School: Cornell University

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