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Comprehensive Exam Review Click the LEFT mouse key ONCE to continue Group Work Part 2 Click the LEFT mouse key ONCE to continue The advantages of group work include Economy of Approach Interpersonal Power Effectiveness The Economy of Approach advantage is that

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Comprehensive Exam Review

Click the LEFT mouse key ONCE to continue


Group Work

Part 2

Click the LEFT mouse key ONCE to continue


The advantages of group work include

  • Economy of Approach
  • Interpersonal Power
  • Effectiveness

The Economy of Approach advantage is that

  • group work is cost effective because several people can be worked with simultaneously by one or two leaders as opposed to working with each one separately.

The Interpersonal Power advantage is that

the group structure is set up naturally to harness the interactions of each other and associated interpersonal power. Interpersonal power is attuned to many problems and needs where viewpoints and involvement of others is important, such as improving team functioning or helping members with a significant personal problem.


The Effectiveness advantage is that

group work has been shown to be an effective and efficacious approach to providing help.

Researchers have demonstrated that group therapy, for example, is at least as effective an approach as individual therapy and, in some cases, more helpful.


The disadvantages of group work include

  • Organizing the Group
  • Misapplication of Group Work Types
  • Complexity
  • Acceptance

The Organizing the Group disadvantage is that

  • establishing groups and a group program poses many challenges, such as finding needed resources, designing the group, insufficient skill training of staff, assigning members to groups, and scheduling.

The Misapplication of Group Work Types disadvantage is that

sometimes the group method is not appropriate at all, but other methods (e.g., individual) are, while at other times, the wrong group work methodology might be applied (e.g., using group counseling in a work setting to attempt to produce improved productivity).


The Complexity of Performing Group Work disadvantage is that

  • group work is a challenging task that requires group work training, supervised experience, and effective and appropriate application of knowledge and skills to the presenting situation. The complexity increases in proportion to group size and difficulty of issues being addressed.

The Acceptance of Group Work disadvantage is that

  • group work tends to lag in terms of acceptance by colleagues and the public. It is too often still perceived as a “second class” intervention that is far too difficult to implement.

Recruiting and Screening strategies are very important for counseling, psychotherapy and psychoeducation groups.

Prospective members may be obtained through recruitment and marketing methods, BUT the group must be explained accurately and attractively in them.

Recruiting can occur through dissemination of fliers, postings, announcements in media, direct personal appeal, referral from case loads, and other ways - if done ethically.


Screening is the process through which the group leader determines before the group is started who is suitable to participate in the group.

The goal of screening is to appropriately match the group with prospective members.

Informed consent for participation in a group is always necessary.


Presenting informed consent information about the group should include description of

  • Goals and methods
  • Leader qualifications
  • Time commitments
  • Meeting location
  • Expectations
  • Fees (if any)
  • Confidentiality

Member goals, past experience with groups and counseling, assessment of functioning, expectations for group, interest in participating, contraindicated factors (e.g., actively psychotic, homicidal or suicidal, or no social interest), and fit with time demands of group are all important considerations to be discussed in the informed consent process.


Group leaders and members should understand the importance of evaluating group performance and member progress, methods for evaluating accomplishment, and how to use data to improve group and group leader performance.

Group process and outcome evaluation are concerned with how the group is functioning (process) and with its effectiveness in promoting group and member goals (outcome).


Member evaluation should be focused on how members are involved (process) and on members’ goal accomplishment (outcomes).

Examples of process evaluation include assessment of members’ levels of participation or satisfaction with group.

Examples of outcome evaluation include assessment of perceptions of group effectiveness and behavior change.


Encourage member participation

Observe and identify group processes

Attend to and acknowledge member behavior

Clarify and summarize member statements

Open and close sessions

Impart information in the group

Model effective group leader behavior

Engage in appropriate self-disclosure

Give and receive feedback


The core competency skills for group work are to:


Core skill competencies continued

Ask open-ended questions

Empathize with group members

Confront members’ behavior

Help members attribute meaning to their


Help members integrate and apply learning

Demonstrate ethical and professional standards

Keep group on task for accomplishing goals


In group work, the group leader can encourage member participation and involvement by:

Maintaining eye contact

Asking open-ended questions

Using encouraging responses

Modeling effective in-group behaviors

Extending sensitive invitations to talk


Group process involves the events that occur within group sessions or meetings, with a focus on how participants interact with one another and/or the group work leader.

  • Group process complements group content, the latter focusing on what participants discuss in the group.


  • Influence
  • Decision making
  • Task functions
  • Maintenance functions
  • Group Atmosphere
  • Membership
  • Feelings
  • Norms

Group process skills include the group leader attending to


Group process skills continued

  • Quantity of verbal involvement
  • Who talks to whom
  • High participators
  • Low participators
  • Shifts in participation

Influence is concerned with the effects of participation. It is evaluated by the group leader addressing questions, such as:

  • Who in the group seems influential?
  • Who in the group seems low in influence?
  • How do other members respond to high and
  • low influence group members?
  • Are there shifts in influence during the group
  • process?
  • Are conflicts present?

The group leader must also attend to how decisions are made in the group, including processes such as:

Majority vote

Consensus building

“Railroading” by one member or by a

small subgroup of members

“Ignoring” some group members’ input

Maintaining focus or wandering across



The task functions in a group are focused on goal accomplishment, staying focused, and getting thejob done.

The task functions are accomplished by attending to questions such as:

  • How are suggestions made? By whom?
  • Are summaries provided? By whom?
  • Who keeps the group on target?
  • Who asks for necessary information?
  • Who provides necessary information?

The maintenance functions are intended to promote cohesion and harmony in the group by attending to human relations and working relationships.

The maintenance functions are accomplished by attending to questions such as:

  • What is the quality of listening? Who does and who doesn’t listen? How is support provided? By whom? Who helps others get into discussions? Is help provided to members?

Group atmosphere refers to the general “personality” of the group, i.e., its climate.

Evaluating the group atmosphere involves ad-dressing questions such as:

  • How do members describe the group or
  • refer to its characteristics?
  • Does the group seem supportive? Hostile?
  • Warm? Cold? Productive? Inef-
  • ficient? Active? Passive? Strong?
  • Weak?

Membership is concerned with member inclusion and exclusion in the group and with patterns of interaction.

“Level” of membership in the group is evaluated by addressing questions such as:

  • Is there sub-grouping? Who is involved?
  • Is anyone “outside” the group? How are
  • they treated?
  • Are there “in” members? What is the
  • effects of this situation?

Feelings are an important part of all group life. They reflect the “emotional climate” of the group.

The feelings in the group are evaluated by addressing questions such as:

  • What level of attention to feelings is justified?
  • What signs of affect are present (e.g.,
  • anger, frustration, or excitement)?
  • Is expression of feelings encouraged or
  • blocked?
  • How appropriately are feelings being dealt
  • with?

Norms are expectations, ground rules, and standards that emerge through interaction in the group and may promote or hinder the group and be either understood by group members or outside of their awareness.

Group norms are evaluated by addressing questions such as:

  • Are certain issues avoided?
  • Are members overly polite?
  • Do members talk about norms?

Attending to and acknowledging member behavior can serve as a potent encourager and reinforcer of desirable group members’ behaviors.

Clarifying and summarizing statements can help members to organize information and make it more understandable, thus alleviating the impact of members’ statements that are confusing and lead to “overload.”


Opening and closing sessions effectively is important for getting work started and for concluding it (or for linking it to the future).

Imparting information is an important skill and represents a therapeutic factor through which members can learn from information provided, especially in psychoeducation groups.


Leaders can assist member growth and change by demonstrating and modeling appropriate and effective behaviors, such as self-disclosure, asking open-ended questions, and feedback.

Self-disclosure is generally understood as a critically important type of information sharing in personal change groups; leaders should model effective and appropriate self-disclosure to members.


Open-ended questions (often beginning with What or How…?) are preferred in group work because they invite fuller responses.

Closed-ended questions invite brief replies and do not encourage self-disclosure or feedback.


Feedback also is generally accepted as a fundamental part of personal change group work.

Leaders can help members learn the value of feedback by demonstrating how to give and invite feedback from others.

Note that cultural sensitivity needs to accompany expectations about self-disclosure because it is not valued in some cultures.


The following are guidelines for giving feedback to group members:

  • Be descriptive not judgmental.
  • Be specific not general.
  • Be immediate, not historical.
  • Give positive feedback first.
  • Be tentative, not conclusive.

Being empathic with group members forges a connection, showing them that the leader genuinely understands and cares for them.

Demonstration of empathy by leaders is especially important in the personal change groups of psychoeducation, counseling, and psychotherapy.


Confronting, i.e., addressing discrepancies in a member’s behavior, assists in helping members to better understand themselves and to grow and change.

Confronting does not mean attacking, being hostile, or aggressive. Rather, it is a constructive intervention that leaders can learn and apply with positive results in group work.


Attribution of meaning involves helping members to connect an emotional experience with cognitive understanding, sometimes called, “making sense of experience.”

Caring involves communicating to group members that the leader has empathy for them individually and collectively.


Emotional stimulation is a leader function that occurs when the leader catalyzes the groups’ “energy” to help move the group forward towards its goals.

The group leader’s executive function involves management and timing. It enables the group leader to help the group to maintain its focus and to continue to make progress towards its goals.


Group members need to integrate and apply their learning in groups.

Integration involves connecting awareness, concepts, and skills gotten from the group to the respective members’ pre-existing repertoires.

Applying learning means transferring what was learned from the group situation to the “outside” world.


All groups have goals, and the leader should use executive functioning to help the group keep focused on its goals, i.e., to remain “on task.”

Keeping the group in the “here-and-now” is an important leader function in the attempt to stay on task; that is, to not allow the group to wander to past or external considerations.