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Psychoeducational Groups: Process and PracticeNina BrownChapter 7: The GroupMajor topics-Group dynamics-Group stages-Helpful group factors-Effective and ineffective group member behaviors and attitudes-Developing the groupIntroductionBasics: group dynamics, group stages, and helpful group factorsGroup DynamicsGroup dynamics refers to the ongoing process in the group, both the helping and the restraining forcesLevel of participationThe extent to which group members cooperate, interact with each other and with the leader, contributeto the progress and functioning of the group, and the extent to which group members seek to gainknowledge from the experiences determines their levels of participationEffective and Counterproductive Member BehaviorsObserving these kinds of behaviors helps group leaders gauge the needs of group members, the intensityof emotions aroused, and the impact of the group and of particular experiences on themRecognizing effective behaviors gives the leader an opportunity to reinforce those behaviors, memberslearn more effective ways to relate and communicate, and group process is enhancedEffective group members do the following:-Have a focus for the group and for each session-Ask for what they want or need, rather than expecting others to guess this-Openly and directly express feelings, thoughts, and ideas-Experiment with new ways of behaving in the group-Are open to receiving feedback-Take personal responsibility for how much they grow and learn-Respond directly to others, and make attempts to understand what that person intend tocommunicate-Are tolerant of diverse points of view or values-Display a willingness to work to resolve conflicts with othersCounterproductive behaviors restrain group process and progressSome counterproductive behaviors are as follows:
-Wait to work or become involved in the group-Suppress important feelings-Make evaluations and judgements about others-Give advice-either solicited or unsolicited-Ask questions instead of reporting their feelings-Rushing to band-aid others to keep from experiencing uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings-Frequently engage in storytelling, and do so instead of giving empathic responses-Make sarcastic remarks or responses-Ignore or deny conflicts with others-Engage in disruptive behavior in the group, such as side conversationsResistanceThe presence of an observable resistance is a clear signal to move on to another person or topicExamples are:1.Avoidance, such as ignoring conflict; change of topic when intense emotions surface for oneselfand for others; and suppressing open verbalization of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and/or reactions2.Over agreement with the leader, and among members3.Excessive politeness or excessive crankiness4.Constantly talking about outside-the-group- topics5.Tolerating members’ counterproductive behaviorCommunication PatternsMember to member: talk directly to each other instead of through the leaderInterpersonal Relationships