Participating in Group
If this is your first group experience, you likely have some apprehension – most people do. Group members consistently say that they experience the anxiety leading up to the first group. After meeting the other group members and seeing that you do in fact “belong” you will most likely feel reduced anxiety. It is your choice as to how much and when you self-disclose to the group. Common concerns include: How will I fit in? Will I be judged or negatively perceived by others? What will the other members be like?
Every person here is important. Be here every week. Your presence in the group is important for you, for the other members, who depend on you for support and feedback, and for the cohesiveness of the group as a whole. Facilitators may inquire about group members’ absences or lateness or about other group members’ feelings about these. If you must miss a meeting, please inform the group the previous week. If you must cancel due to illness or emergency, please contact one of the group facilitators at (405) 271-7336 or firstname.lastname@example.org, before the session begins. The group will begin and end on time.
Confidentiality and Respect
To serve group members well, it is essential to preserve confidentiality and respect. We ask that everything that is said in group remain confidential (unless it is about you) and that you agree to not reveal the identity of other group members to anyone outside the group. Any breach of confidentiality may result in dismissal from the group. Only give feedback that you intend to be helpful, and first ask others if they want feedback.
The role of the group facilitator(s) is to use their knowledge and experience to facilitate, promote, and monitor individual and group growth and change. Initially, the leaders will focus their energy on helping to promote an atmosphere of support, trust, and safety so that group members will feel a sense of security in self-disclosure. As the group proceeds, facilitators serve to help individuals identify themes which block personal growth as well as assist them in dealing with those blocks. Another important function of the facilitator(s) is to help the group understand the group dynamics and communication patterns, underlying feelings, and meanings behind behaviors and issues.
Benefits of Group
There is empirical evidence supporting the benefits of group therapy with a wide range of issues, including adjustment, depression, anxiety, body-image, and interpersonal concerns.
In the group, you will learn about how you perceive yourself (self-esteem), how you perceive others, and how others perceive you. Through identification with other group members’ issues, you will likely experience an increase in your own self-awareness and self-confidence.
Better Communication Skills
Through your interactions with other group members, you will learn how to better relate in your relationships with others outside the group.
- Assertiveness – Group is a good place to learn to be more assertive in important areas of your life.
- Sensitivity – You will likely learn to become more sensitive to the needs of others.
- Thoughts, Feelings, Behaviors – You will likely identify previously unknown or repressed thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
- Identification of Patterns – You will likely learn to identify relational patterns or life themes which are interfering with your growth.
How to Get the Most from Group
- Be Yourself – Start from where you are, not how you think others want you to be. This might mean that you express anger or hostility, appear shy or withdrawn, or say things to others harshly.
- Define Goals – Think about what you would like to get out of the group and talk about these goals early in the group.Take
- Time for You – Some group members hesitate to take group time because they feel others need the time or they question the importance of what they have to say.
- Recognize and Express Thoughts and Feelings – The recognition and expression of previously avoided thoughts and feelings are important to your personal growth and change.
- Be an Active Group Member – Being active means expressing your reactions to what another person is saying or doing, sharing your concerns, listening to others, asking for clarification if you don’t understand, and giving and asking for support.
- Take Risks – The group is an excellent place for you to experiment with different ways of behaving and expressing yourself. You can discover what does and does not work for you. Risks included expressing feelings that are difficult for you, sharing painful secrets, or confronting someone whose behavior upsets you.
- Give and Receive Feedback – The best way to get feedback is to request it from specific individuals, whose impression means the most to you. You have the right to ask for negative and/or positive comments from others. The purposes of giving feedback include helping the other person identify patterns in how they relate to others, style of personal presentation, and inconsistencies.
- Be Patient and Allow the Group to Develop – Growth takes time, effort, and patience. Changing maladaptive behaviors and negative self-feelings is difficult. Patience and self-acceptance set the foundation for growth.