Developing, Managing ad Evaluating Groups Acknowledgement This PowerPoint has been adapted from instructional materials developed by Dr. Maureen McGuire-Kuletz, The George Washington University for the Group Counseling class of the Master’s in Rehabilitation Program. Various Types of Groups Task facilitation groups aims to foster accomplishing identified work goals Psychoeducational group aims to educate group members who want to acquire information and skills in an area of living Support Groups Professional Training Standards for Group Workers ASGW (2000) has recommendations for what constitutes competence as a group facilitator – Knowledge competencies: course work is essential Skills competencies: specific group facilitation skills are required for effectively intervening Core specialization in group work: task facilitation groups; psychoeducational groups; counseling groups; psychotherapy groups Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 2 (7) Ethical and Legal Issues in Group Counseling Informed consent Provide members with adequate information that will allow them to decide if they want to join a group Some information to give prospective members: The nature of the group The goals of the group The general structure of the sessions What is expected of them if they join What they can expect from you as a leader Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 3 (1) Psychological Risks of Group Participation Although there are benefits to participating in a group, there are also potential risks that group leaders need to monitor — Members may be pressured to disclose and violate privacy Confidentiality may be broken Scapegoating may occur Confrontation may be done in an uncaring manner Group leaders may not have the competencies to deal with some difficulties that arise in a group Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 3 (3) Confidentiality Confidentiality is the foundation of a working group Leaders need to define the parameters of confidentiality including its limitations in a group setting Members need to be taught what confidentiality involves Leaders talk to members about the consequences of breaching confidentiality Leaders remind members at various points in a group of the importance of maintaining confidentiality Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 3 (4) Some Legal Safeguards for Group Practitioners Take time and care in screening candidates for a group; and for preparing them on how to actively participate Demystify the group process Strive to develop collaborative relationships with the members Consult with colleagues or supervisors whenever there is a potential ethical or legal concern Incorporate ethical standards in the practice of group work Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 3 (7) The Role of Group Leader Values Essential that you are aware of your values and how they influence what you think, say, and do in groups Groups are not a forum for you to impose your values on members Purpose of a group: to assist members in examining options that are most congruent with their values Group members have the task of clarifying their own values and goals, making informed choices, and assuming responsibility for what they do Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 3 (6) Forming a Group: Setting Yourself Up For Success Five areas for a practical proposal for a group RATIONALE – What is the rationale for your group? OBJECTIVES – Are your objectives specific and attainable? PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS – Have you considered all the relevant practical issues in forming your group? PROCEDURES– What kinds of techniques and interventions will you employ to attain the stated objectives? EVALUATION – How will you evaluate the process and outcomes of the group? Practical Considerations in Forming a Group Group composition (depends on what type of group) Group size (up to 12 but 7 or 8 work best) Open versus closed group Heterogeneous versus Homogeneous Length of the group (12 to 15 weeks best) Frequency and duration of meetings (1/wk; 1hr 30mins) Place for group sessions How will you go about getting the information out about your group Desirable Characteristics of a Group Group balance (ideally dynamic balance b/w cognitive reflective members who talk about their feelings – intellectualizes and emoters – express feelings; self-blamers and blamers of others; genders – differing viewpoints) No poor-risk combinations (extreme crisis or suicidal, unable to conceptualize or verbalize at the level of the group, paranoid, psychopathic, sociopathic, drug or alcohol involved in a heterogeneous group) Member acceptance of each other Willingness to self-disclose (certain level of ego strength) Questions for Screening of Potential Members The type of group determines the kind of members that are suitable or unsuitable The key questions are Should this person be included in this group at this time with this leader? Other questions -What methods of screening will you use? How can you decide who may benefit from a group? And who might not fit in a group? How might you deal with a candidate who is not accepted to your group? Questions Explore Motivation for joining group Ability to deal with & comment on interpersonal interaction of interview Ego strength Environmental stressors (acute & chronic) Interpersonal relationships (friends – closest prolonged friendship, degree of intimacy with members of both sexes) What are some advantages of a group setting? Group setting offers support for new behavior and encourages experimentation The group is a microcosm of the real world – allows us to see how we relate to others Group setting provides an optimal arena for members to discover how they are perceived and experienced by others Groups help members see that they are not alone in their concerns Initial Stage Characteristics: Initial Stage What are the main characteristics of a group during the initial stage? Participants test the atmosphere and get acquainted Risk taking is relatively low – exploration is tentative Members are concerned with whether they are included or excluded A central issue building trust and focusing on the here and now There are periods of silence and awkwardness Leaders set the stage for exploring ground rules and assist members in goal setting Common Fears Experienced by Group Members Anxiety over being accepted or rejected Concern about the judgment of others Afraid of appearing stupid Concerns about not fitting into the group Not knowing what is expected Concern over communicating feelings and thoughts effectively Establishing Goals Main task – helping members formulate clear goals – check in with group members as the group progresses Absence of goals – considerable floundering and aimless sessions Collaborative process in identifying goals Goals – lead to contracts and homework assignments Characteristics: Initial Stage What are the main characteristics of a group during the initial stage? Participants test the atmosphere and get acquainted Risk taking is relatively low – exploration is tentative Members are concerned with whether they are included or excluded A central issue building trust and focusing on the here and now There are periods of silence and awkwardness Leaders set the stage for exploring ground rules and assist members in goal setting Transition Stage Transition Stage of a Group What are some of the characteristics of a group in the transition stage? Transitional phase is marked by feelings of anxiety and defenses What kinds of behaviors might you expect at this stage of a group’s development? Members are: testing the leader and other members to determine how safe the environment is (trust should be deepening) struggling between wanting to play it safe and wanting to risk getting involved learning how to express themselves so that others will listen Common Fears Emerging at the Transition Stage Fear of making a fool of oneself Fear of emptiness Fear of losing control Fear of being too emotional Fear of self-disclosure Fear of taking too much of the group’s time Fear of being judged Leader Functions During the Transition Stage Show members the value of recognizing and dealing fully with conflict situations Help members to recognize their own patterns of defensiveness Teach members to respect resistance and to work constructively with the many forms it takes Provide a model for members by dealing directly and tactfully with any challenge Encourage members to express reactions that pertain to here-and-now happenings in the sessions Group Leader Interventions in Dealing with Difficult Behaviors of Group Members Avoid responding with sarcasm State your observations and hunches in a tentative way Demonstrate sensitivity to a member’s culture Avoid taking member’s behavior in an overly personal way Encourage members to explore a resistance – don’t demand they give up a particular “resistive” behavior Examples of Problematic Styles of Behaving in a Group Silent Members Monopolistic behavior Latecomers and Absentees Persistent Nondisclosers Scapegoating Challenging the Leader’s Authority Bombarding Others with Questioning Silent Members Reasons Might feel unworthy Cultural background Observing or taking it in Manipulation Naturally shy, inhibited, embarrassed, fearful, or hesitant Communicates behaviorally rather than verbally Intervention Refrain from initiating a direct response to the silent member Use strategies that require the group members deal with the silent member rather than the leader The leader should observe to see if the silent member has psychologically withdrawn or is really involved Monopolists Reason Self-centeredness Anxious Accustomed to being ignored Attempting to keep control of group A way to avoid intimacy Intervention Should not be silenced but helped to be heard differently Help the member recognize the effect his/her behavior has on the group “What do you want from the group now that you have said this?” “How do you perceive the group members responding to you?” “How can you say that in ten words or less?” Latecomers and Absentees Reason Form of resistance Although they might be absent from the group they are not forgotten Intervention Help group members deal with their feelings about the absent member Remove group member (might suggest individual counseling)– have to deal with remaining members feeling through here and now dialogue Latecomers’ reasons given not response No negotiating to tolerate lateness The most productive way to deal with latecomers is within the group context NOT on a one-to-one basis Persistent Non-disclosers Might be verbally active but not be disclosing in a meaningful way They have spent a long time blocking affect from their experiences May perceive self-disclosure as dangerous because it makes them vulnerable to control by others Interventions – leader should search out answers to the following questions What feelings does this member have in common with other members? How may I respond to these feelings and facilitate affiliative feelings among them? How may I prepare this member and use feedback from fellow members? Scapegoating Reason Most often the member is the object of displaced aggression May sermonize, be contentious, act dumb, ruminate about past events, or remain untouched by the appearance of intimacy Intervention Need to find the source of the group’s anger (often toward the leader) Try not to: encourage members to give feedback to the scapegoat, or try to protect the scapegoat or focus group attention on the scapegoat Storytelling Initial resistance is demonstrated by the need to use storytelling Reporting events that happened outside of group is easier than relating to group members Acknowledging other members’ presence requires the member to recognize personal emotion which the group member considers dangerous Giving voice to one’s feelings leaves the member vulnerable Challenging the Leader’s Authority Opportunity for the leader to be a role model Respond openly and avoid becoming defensive Share responsibility with the group Invite others reactions This is a good thing as the member is able to become less dependent on the leader and feels the group is a safe place to freely express himself or herself Questioning Reason May be a way of hiding Remaining safe and unknown to the group Direct people toward thinking and away from feeling Masks the questioner’s feeling toward the member they are questioning Intervention Help questioner understand that the questioning is intrusive and elicits defensiveness Practice making only direct statements Need to get at what prompted the question Giving Advice Can be subtle or not so subtle Interrupts thoughts and feelings Increases dependency Reason A form of defense Resistance Intervention Explore the meaning behind giving the advice Explore what is gained by giving the advice Point out to advice giver he/she is not giving enough attention to him/herself Working Stage of Group Working Stage of a Group: Key points of the working stage There are no arbitrary dividing lines between each stage of group Group development ebbs and flows – does not stay static Work can occur at every stage – not just the working stage Not all groups reach a working stage Not all members are functioning at the same level in a working stage Characteristics of a Productive Group versus a Nonworking Group Working Group There is a focus on the here and now to explore feelings, ideas, & beliefs Goals of members are clear and specific Cohesion is high – a sense of emotional bonding in the group Conflict in the group is recognized and explored Members are willing to make themselves known Trust is increased and there is a sense of safety Members less reliant on leader Nonworking Group Mistrust is manifested by an undercurrent of unexpressed feelings Participants focus more on others than themselves Participants hold back – disclosure is minimal Members may feel distant from one another Conflicts are ignored or avoided Communication is unclear and indirect Choices to be Made During the Working Stage Disclosure versus anonymity Honesty versus superficiality Spontaneity versus control Acceptance versus rejection Cohesion versus fragmentation The Value of Homework in Groups Group: not an end in itself Group is: A place to learn new behaviors A place to acquire a range of skills in living Training ground for everyday life Homework – a means for maximizing what is learned in group Members can devise their own homework assignments Ideally, homework is designed collaboratively between members and leader Ending Stage of Group Ending a Group: What are some of the tasks of the final stage of a group? Reemphasize importance of maintaining confidentiality Dealing with feelings of separation Dealing with unfinished business Reviewing the group experience Practice for behavioral change Ways of carrying learning further The use of a contract and homework Giving and receiving feedback Giving and Receiving Feedback at the Ending Stage The sentence completion method can enhance the quality of feedback and can result in focused feedback Examples: My greatest fear for you is ... My hope for you is... I hope that you will seriously consider... I see you blocking your strengths by... Some things I hope you will think about doing for yourself are... Some ways I hope you’d be different with others are... Sample Proposal for a Group with Adults In designing a specific group, consider these components Description of the type of your group Rationale of your group Goals of your group Marketing methods Screening and selection members Structure of group – description of sessions Methods for assessing outcomes Groups: Process & Practice - Chapter 11 (3) Developing, Managing ad Evaluating Groups This information is the intellectual property of the George Washington University and is to be used for educational purposes only.