PROCESS GROUPS

PROCESS GROUP GUIDELINES

These groups generally begin with a "warm-up" initiated by a trained counselor. This involves each person sharing briefly what they are feeling as a "check-in". By consensus the group will begin by permitting the member who appears to have the greatest need to begin to share in more depth. This group will meet on a regular basis with committed members. The ideal size is 6-10 members. These groups may be "OPEN" - admitting new members at any time or "CLOSED". Initially the group will discuss the guidelines and modify them as desired.

1. KEEP CONFIDENTIALITY - "What is said here stays here in the group". You may not disclose outside the group anything shared by others. Who attends the group is also confidential. This is important for building a safe place to share.

2. MAKE "I STATEMENTS". Avoid using "you" or "we" as one can only speak for oneself.

3. STAY IN THE "HERE AND NOW".Bring past history to the present. e.g. "If your mother were sitting here now, what would you like to say to her ?"

4. SHARE FEELINGS - The primary focus is the honest sharing of personal feelings. Use cognitive (thoughts)information to enhance the expression of your feelings. Each member of the group should be free to express a range of all emotions - joy, anger, sadness (tears), fear, or shame. When sadness / crying or another feeling is observed, it may be appropriate to ask what might be a trigger behind the feeling.

5. FEEDBACK - means giving back to the speaker your perception of his behavior. It is descriptive, not evaluative. e.g. " When you turned away from me I felt unimportant". It focuses on observed behavior, not on the individual's value. Feedback should be invited by the person, and never given by members without invitation. e.g. " I am open to receive feedback from anyone in the group to help me see...." This helps us to eliminate our "blind spots".

6. RESPECT is to be shown to each group member. Respect is shown by listening attentively with genuine interest. Avoid making judgmental statements, critical remarks, or blaming others. Anyone in the group who recognizes judgmental, blaming, or critical statements may bring the group's attention to what's happening. - " Excuse me, I feel that you are blaming your father and not taking responsibility for your own feelings and behavior." Respect is also shown by not giving advice or trying to " fix" someone.

GROUP STAGES:

1. FORMING: This involves trust building. The primary task here is bonding.

2. STORMING: This often involves bringing out differences constructively and permitting them to be expressed. Members may wonder if the group is working.

3. PERFORMING: Here the group works together for each member and the good of the whole group. Members are excited about their personal healing.

4. REFORMING: After a set number of sessions the group may add members.

GROUP GOALS

We are here to: 1) Listen to you, to ourselves, to God.

2) help you discover what you are feeling, not to make your feelings go away.

3) help you identify your options, not decide for you what you should do. (No advice - giving, even if another asks for it.)

4) discuss steps you could take in a specific situation, not take the steps for you.

5) help you discover your own strength, not to rescue you and leave you still vulnerable.

6) help you discover that you can take responsibility and help yourself, not to take responsibility for you or from you.

7) help you learn to choose, not to make it unnecessary to make difficult decisions.

8) to provide support for change, growth and encourage you to take risks. Individual goals what do you want to work on ?

1) trust issues
2) anger
3) hurt
4) fear
5) anxiety
6) depression
7) avoiding
8) risking
9) crisis
10) ground rules
11) authority
12) acceptance
13) drug / alcohol use
14) relationship difficulties

define or clarify with each group member. Watch in process time how these issues surface. May express in a word picture.

RULES FOR PROCESS GROUPS

1. I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings, actions, ideas, and style of life.

2. Use first person singular tense. (Make I statements.)

3. Talk about the "here and now".

4. Talk about present "feelings" about past, present, and future situations in my life.

5. Do not use cop-out words; like maybe, perhaps, think, should, might, do not know, I guess, and probably.

6. Deal not with "why" I have a problem, but how do I feel about it and how will I deal with it in my life.

WARM UP FOR PROCESS GROUPS

Ten minutes before the group- I "warm up". For the first 5 minutes I identify a feeling in my "gut" or body and name it. For the second 5 minutes I say the name of the FEELING out loud. I then hang onto the feeling and share the feeling with the group when the groups begins.

SPECIFICALLY:

1. I get out of my head.

2. I become aware of my body, my "gut".

3. I ask myself, "What is the feeling in my gut? Is it anger, fear, hurt, pain, loss, loneliness, guilt, anxiety, love, joy, gratitude, etc?.

4. I feel that feeling in my whole body. I become that feeling. I say aloud: "Fear" -- "I'm afraid"; "anger" -- "I'm angry"; "hate" -- "I hate you"; or "pain" -- " I hurt" etc.

5. Lastly I ask myself, "What problems or situation am I feeling about."

6. As I go to group I hold onto my feeling and then, in group, I share it. In group I share the problem or situation connected with the feeling, but I can not get into any "head talk" about it.

7. Often I make a decision in terms of my feelings. Will I work my problem through with the group? Or do I choose to work indirectly by helping someone else in the group? Am I deliberately choosing not to work on the problem?

PROCESS GROUPS - GIVING AND RECEIVING FEEDBACK

"Feedback" is a way of helping another person to consider changing his behavior. It is communication to a person ( or a group) which gives that person information about how he affects others. As in a guided missile system, feedback helps an individual keep his behavior "on target" and thus better achieve his goals.

Some criteria for useful feedback:

1. It is descriptive rather than evaluative. By describing one's own reaction, it leaves the individual free to use it or not to use it as he sees fit. By avoiding evaluative language, it reduces the need for the individual to react defensively.

2. It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is "dominating" will probably not be as useful as to be told that"Just now when we were deciding the issue you did not listen to what others said and I felt forced to accept your arguments or face attack from you."

3. It takes into account the needs of both the receiver and the giver of feedback. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only our own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end.

4. It is directed toward behavior which the receiver can do something about. Frustration is only increased when a person is reminded of some shortcoming over which he has no control.

5. It is solicited, rather than imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver himself has formulated the kind of question which those observing him can answer.

6. It is well- timed. In general feedback is most useful at the earliest opportunity after the given behavior (depending of course on the person's readiness to hear it and receive support from others,etc.)

7. It is checked to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback he has received to see if it corresponds to what the sender had in mind.

8. When feedback is given in a process group, both giver and receiver have an opportunity to check with others in the group the accuracy of the feedback. Is this one man's impression or an impression shared by others?

Feedback is a way of giving help; it is a corrective mechanism for the individual who wants to learn how well his behavior matches his intentions; and it is a means for establishing one's identity - for answering - " Who Am I?"

Confrontation: A way of speaking to offensive behavior (from one's own perception) ; it is not to be done without first establishing a caring heart for that person. It needs to be "invited".

A POCKETFUL OF APHORISMS
(E. JAMES ANTHONY)

1. "If you look after the group, the individual will look after himself."

2. " A group can only develop as far as the neurosis of the therapist."

3. "The group has no childhood, for which the group therapist can be eternally grateful."

4. " The group is more than the sum of the members, but less than the most insignificant member."

5. " The group's occupation is itself, but the therapist's occupation is the group and not himself."

6. "Therapy begins when talk runs out and silence falls and the members really take a look at each other."

7. "All men are patients to some extent, including the therapist, but some are more so than others."

8. And last, " Every therapist gets the group he deserves."

These are not enough with which to run a group, but they are enough to stop you from forgetting about the group.