NAMI Family Support Group
NAMI Family Support Group
Facilitator Training
Group Dynamics
NAMI Family Support Group
Why Do We Need A Model?
• to help navigate around the predictable
negative group dynamics which can torpedo
a successful group process
• a support group can operate much like a
personality with a will of its own, and that
collective group willfulness can pull even the
most experienced facilitator off course
NAMI Family Support Group
Group Dynamics
What is a group?
Two or more people interacting with each other
2= Dyad
3= Trio
10-15 = Work Group
20-500 = Audience
200-1000 = Crowd
NAMI Family Support Group
Group Dynamics
• NAMI Family Support Groups are peer
working groups of 10-15 people
• Support groups should be maintained at
this size
NAMI Family Support Group
What are Group Dynamics?
• Groups act and react as individuals do
• Groups have many of the same dynamic
(interactive) problems as individuals
• If you understand how individuals react in
certain circumstances, you can explain
problems that arise in groups.
NAMI Family Support Group
Dynamic issues that concern groups
• Leadership
• Boundaries
• Rules
• Goals
• Subject Matter
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems caused by negative
group dynamics in support
groups
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems in group dynamics
• Related to leadership
• Related to group boundaries
• Related to observing group rules
• Related to group goals
• Related to our specific group subject –
mental illness
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems related to
Leadership
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems related to
Group Boundaries
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems related to
Observing Group Rules
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems related to
Group Goals
NAMI Family Support Group
Problems related to the
Group Subject – Mental Illness
NAMI Family Support Group
What is the remedy for these problems?
• A Capable Leader
• Clear Boundaries
• Stating and Enforcing Rules of Relationship
• Clarifying Goals and Purposes
• Identifying the “Common Cause” in a
Positive and Optimistic Manner
NAMI Family Support Group
Problem Dynamics
• Challenges to leadership
• Negative group dynamics start to
rule
NAMI Family Support Group
Why do people go to a Support Group?
 To leave feeling better than when they
came
 To feel that they contributed as well as
they were supported
 To feel in a very real way that they have
something in common with others.
NAMI Family Support Group
What do they want at a Support Group?
• A safe place
• To not be judged
• Boundaries that are enforced
• Capable Facilitators
NAMI Family Support Group
Encouraging a group to do its own work
NAMI Family Support Group
You are present to
help the group meet its needs,
not to have the group
help you meet yours
NAMI Family Support Group
A well-functioning Support Group
• Has a skilled Facilitator
• Does its own work
• Involves as many group members as
possible
• Encourages self-enforced observation of
behavior guidelines
NAMI Family Support Group
A well-functioning support group
• Allows group members to feel they have
contributed
• Provides strategies
• Connects participants to resources and
services
• Makes members feel they have benefited
from attending
NAMI Family Support Group
NAMI Family Support Group
Strategies, Structures and Group Processes
The model that ensures
an effective
support group meeting
NAMI Family Support Group
What Facilitators need to know
• To recognize problems in group dynamics
– there are cues that the Facilitator
needs to transition the group
• Know what structure or group process to
use to remedy the problem
• Have the skills to shift the group from
where they are to where they need to go
NAMI Family Support Group
Cues and Remedies
• Each Structure and Group Process exists
to remedy a particular set of negative
dynamics that commonly occur in support
groups.
• Strategies help to shift the group
smoothly and naturally
NAMI Family Support Group
Identifying negative dynamics (cues) and
possible remedies (structure or process)
NAMI Family Support Group
Dynamics and Remedies
When you hear this Cue:
• Someone taking too long during Opening
Stories
Move to this Structure: Agenda
• 1-2 minute time limit for Opening Stories
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
• A “downer” meeting needs to be closed
on a positive note
Move to this Structure: Agenda
• Closing
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
• People can’t stay in the present
Move to this Structure: Group Guidelines
• Keep it in the here and now
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
• Someone or the group is negative
or hopeless
Move to this Structure:
Principles of Support
 A principle can represent something we
can all strive for
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
 Someone expresses intense feelings
(emotional stage reactions of feeling
overwhelmed, anger, grief)
Move to this Structure:
Emotional Stages Chart
• Acknowledge that strong emotions fall within
the predictable stages of emotional
response
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
• Someone relates a traumatic event
(violence, involuntary commitment, arrest,
disappearance, suicide, or traumatic loss)
Move to this Process: Hot Potatoes
 A step by step way to address traumatic
events and close the discussion of the
trauma on a positive note
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
 A basic issue or question can be clarified by
the group
Move to this Process: Group Wisdom
 Provide basic information or helpful and
constructive ideas to a group member, share
coping suggestions
NAMI Family Support Group
When you hear this Cue:
 A discouraged person needs new options to
solve a long-standing problem which they
keep bringing back to the group and nothing
suggested seems to work
Move to this Process: Problem Solving
 Moves person away from what doesn’t work
by offering new/different options to
approach their problem
NAMI Family Support Group
NAMI Family Support Group Facilitators
• “Take charge” when shifting the group
and then step back to let the group do its
own work
• Shouldn’t sound or act like therapists
• Provide a safe, nurturing place
NAMI Family Support Group
What is
the PRIMARY DANGER for
facilitators of a structured support
group model?
NAMI Family Support Group
Not using the model
Structures and Processes
NAMI Family Support Group
Remember, as a capable Facilitator:
You are present
to help the group meet its needs,
not have the group help you meet yours.
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NAMI FSG Group Dynamics