Make it easy to mask or deny being disengaged thus

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make it easy to mask or deny being disengaged. Thus, someone can pretend to beattentive if challenged, because you generally say or do something, such as using themember’s name, prior to challenging him or her. This allows for just enough timefor the member to snap back into the present. Free association and analysis can betied to self-exploration—that is, the member has something triggered by an eventor comment in the group and begins to follow where that leads; hence the disen-gagement. Sometimes new learning and understanding can emerge for that person.However, most mental disengagement is an attempt to flee the group, get awayfrom uncomfortable triggered feelings, and/or deny personal associations to whatis taking place in the group. Leaders will want to know what the stimulus was thattriggered the mental disengagement.Emotional disengagementcan be less difficult to observe for some group mem-bers than mental disengagement, because the leader has become familiar with thisnonverbal attending behavior and is aware when it changes to withdrawal. Theperson can physically alter his or her posture, eye contact, limb positioning such ascrossing arms across chest, and tone of voice. Emotional disengagement is gener-ally the basis for the following behaviors:Changing the topicMoving back from the group or turning away from the speakerRefusing to initiate or maintain eye contactStarting side conversationsFiddling with possessions, or self, such as hairTrying to soothe or reassure someone by giving advice, or making commentsto lessen emotional intensity
Problems, Concerns, & Intervention Skills187Asking questions, especially rhetorical questionsIntellectualizingBecoming numb or confusedMonopolizing group time by telling a personal story in detailBecoming aggressiveThese behaviors and others are used to keep the person from awareness andfrom experiencing personal and uncomfortable feelings. The fear and dread ofthis personal discomfort motivates the disengagement, not the other person’semotions. Other people’s emotions may trigger emotional detachment, butthe person who uses it is trying to get away from something that is personallythreatening.The short-term nature of psychoeducational groups can make it difficult forgroup leaders to effectively challenge, manage, and explore these disengagements.Rather than working through the causes for the disengagement, leaders may haveto be content with noting it, reflecting on what may have triggered it, and encour-aging members to speak more often about their feelings, ideas, and thoughts inthe here and now. In-depth exploration requires a strong therapeutic alliance andmore time than is available for most psychoeducational groups.Understanding the Goal for Under-ParticipationThe goals for under-participation typically are rebellion, self-protection, orrevenge. Rebellion (“You cannot make me participate”) usually occurs withinvoluntary group participants. They did not choose to be in the group, andbecause they were forced or coerced in some way to attend, they will refuse to

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Term
Spring
Professor
Ed Barker
Tags
Psychology, Nonverbal Communication, group leader, ineffective group members

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