1. My husband and I are on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Military History. The museum is a tremendous way to teach people about American history and to honor current and past service members who fought to keep America free and protect others around the world. When we reopen the museum we will include support groups for veterans, service members, and their families; to include parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. America loses 22 veterans a day to suicide (Freking, 2016), the divorce rate for veterans suffering from PTSD is extremely high, and children are living in a single-parent environment while the parent who serves is stationed elsewhere.
According to Jacobs et al., support groups or places where participants can share thoughts, feelings, and help one another examine issues and concerns (2015, p. 15). The initial stage of my group would include a time for individuals attending to stand around and share refreshments, to meet and greet each other. Ideally, there would be volunteers to keep the children occupied while their parents attend the support group. Time would be set aside to discuss what is expected, what the goals are of the group when we would like to meet, and gather informed consent form. According to Jacobs et al. this initial stage of the group is a “critical stage for group progression” (2015, p. 36). This time is safe for sharing and introducing themselves.
At the end of the group I would ask them to set up an individual goal, I would ask if there was anyone who felt uncomfortable and if there was any way I could help them feel more comfortable, and I would ask for prayer requests, something we could pray about for them until our next meeting. I would prefer the group be between six and eight members, to increase the intimacy and help group members feel safer. At the end of the group, I would remind everyone that we are a small family and confidentiality is the most important thing in achieving confidence in being able to share.
2. Regardless of the type of group they all go through three stages which are the beginning , middle, what is sometimes called the working stage, and the ending or closing stage according to the authors. (Jacobs, Schimmell, Masson, & Harvill, 2016). Bruce Tuckman identified what he termed the five stages of development of a group that are called forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. (Jacobs et al, 2016). The forming and norming stages are included in what happens in the beginning stages where members getting to know one another. This is the feeling out stage to see if they bond well together as a group. Sometimes it only take a short time to mesh as a group because all members are on one accord. The authors talk about leaders spending more time than necessary in this stage talking and doing things that are counter productive to the group because what they are doing is not necessary. (Jacobs et al, 2016).
The storming stage is also a part of the beginning stage. This stage is defined by conflict that is present in the group. Leaders who are not effective contribute to this stage because of their lack of experience. This stage is very important for a leader because a good leader can make a good group structure better or it can destroy a weak group structure. A good leader will know where the group stands and how to handle it in a way to make the most out of what the purpose of the group is. There are times when the storming stage is a necessity in a group such as the task group when members that have overwhelming temperaments where disputes and squabbles come up. This allows a well skilled leader the opportunity to use his/her talents to bring a greater cohesiveness to the group. They make sure all the members are aware of the reason the group was formed and its purpose is carried out in a timely manner.