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Getting Back to Basics: Group Leadership Refresher. Presented at the 2012 KidStrong Conference Dr. Jonathan Lent Dr. Lisa Burton Marshall University. Objectives. Learn and understand what characteristics effective group leaders possess.

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getting back to basics group leadership refresher

Getting Back to Basics: Group Leadership Refresher

Presented at the 2012 KidStrong Conference

Dr. Jonathan Lent

Dr. Lisa Burton

Marshall University

  • Learn and understand what characteristics effective group leaders possess.
  • Review and understand basic group leadership skills including: initiating, clarifying, summarizing, encouraging, and active listening, among others.
  • Gain knowledge about the necessary process for forming an effective group.
what is a group
What is a Group?
  • A collection of two or more individuals who meet in face to face interaction, interdependently, with the awareness that each belongs to the group and for the purpose of achieving mutually agreed upon goals (Johnson & Johnson, 2002).
  • In school settings, groups are used to address a variety of issues:
    • Educational
    • Vocational
    • Personal
    • Social
types of groups
Types of Groups
  • Psychoeducational
    • Premised on the idea that education is treatment
  • Task Facilitation
    • Major types of task/work are volunteer groups, mission groups, goal groups, and working groups.
  • Counseling
    • Focus is on each person’s behavior and development or change within the group.
  • Psychotherapy
    • Addresses problems for those who are experiencing severe, or chronic maladjustment
role of the group facilitator
Role of the Group Facilitator
  • The facilitator is there to facilitate group interaction:
    • Help members communicate
    • Learn from one another
    • Establish goals
    • Make plans for outside of the group
group leadership skills
Group-Leadership Skills
  • Essential to acquire and refine skills applied to group work
  • Group leadership skills cannot be separated from the leader’s personality
  • Ways to learn leadership skills – supervised experience, practice, feedback, and experience in a group as a member
personal qualities of effective leaders
Personal Qualities of Effective Leaders
  • Group leaders bring their own personal qualities to a group
  • Effective leaders use the strongest aspects of their personalities and knowledge and combine these with experiences in the leading of groups.
leadership skills
Leadership Skills
  • Skills are displayed in different ways and at various stages during the life of a group
  • Leaders must be well educated and know which skills at are the core of leading effective groups
  • There are core group skills and specific group skills
group leadership skills1
Group Leadership Skills
  • Being clear as to the purpose
  • Being clear about your role as leader
  • Generating and building interest and energy
  • Tuning into the group’s energy
  • Varying the format
  • Using your eyes effectively
  • Setting the proper tone
  • Using your voice effectively
group leadership skills2
Group Leadership Skills
  • Being aware of the focus:
    • a) on a topic b) on a person c) on an activity
  • Getting, holding, deepening and shifting the focus
  • Asking good questions
  • Knowing counseling theories
  • Knowing your allies in the group
  • Second guessing
  • Thinking of members as individuals
  • Dealing with multicultural issues
  • Drawing out
  • Cutting off
  • Using exercises effectively
group leadership functions
Group Leadership Functions
  • Leaders operate in certain ways no matter the type of group
  • There are four main functions:
    • Traffic director
    • Modeler or appropriate behavior
    • Interactional catalyst
    • Communication facilitator
traffic director
Traffic Director
  • Traffic Director
    • Leaders help members become aware of behaviors that open communication channels and those that inhibit communication
    • This role is proactive and reactive in prevention of certain behaviors and promotion of others.
modeler of appropriate behavior
Modeler of Appropriate Behavior
  • Modeler of Appropriate Behavior
    • Leaders must pick actions they think group members need to learn through passive and active demonstrations
    • Modeling can include deliberate use of self-disclosure, role plays, speech patterns, acts of creativity.
interactional catalyst
Interactional Catalyst
  • Interactional Catalyst
    • Requires leaders promote interaction between group members without calling attention to themselves
    • Continues throughout the group and takes various forms
      • Questioning if two members have something to say to each other and then being silent to see what happens
communication facilitator
Communication Facilitator
  • Communication Facilitator
    • Leaders reflect the content and feeling of members and teach them to do likewise
    • Focuses on the expression of words and the emotion behind the words.
    • The importance of speaking congruently is stressed by stressing using I messages to state what one wants or what one thinks.
ethical and legal issues in group counseling
Ethical and Legal Issues in Group Counseling
  • Informed consent
    • Provide members with adequate information that will allow them to decide if they want to join a group
    • Some information to give prospective members:
      • The nature of the group
      • The goals of the group
      • The general structure of the sessions
      • What is expected of them if they join
      • What they can expect from you as a leader
forming a group
Forming a Group
  • Five areas for a practical proposal for a group
    • Rationale – What is the rationale for your group?
    • Objectives – Are your objectives specific and attainable?
    • Practical considerations – Have you considered all the relevant practical issues in forming your group?
    • Procedures – What kinds of techniques and interventions will you employ to attain the stated objectives?
    • Evaluation – How will you evaluate the process and outcomes of the group?
guidelines for using techniques ethically
Guidelines for Using Techniques Ethically
  • Your techniques should have a rationale
  • Introduce techniques in a sensitive and timely manner
  • Don’t stick to a technique if it is not working effectively
  • Give members a choice – invite them to experiment with some behavior
  • Use techniques that are appropriate to the member’s cultural values
  • Techniques are best developed in response to what is happening in the here-and-now
beginning a group
Beginning a Group
  • Areas to Consider:
    • How to begin the group
    • How to handle introduction of members (how, how much time to spend)
    • How to set the tone (very important)
the first group meeting
The First Group Meeting
  • Clarify the purpose of the group
  • Explain the leader’s role
  • Explain how the group will be conducted
  • Tell members you will, at times, be looking around when they are talking
  • Tell members you will be cutting off members at various times
  • Explain the rules for the group (see comment below)
  • Explain any special terms that will be used
the first group meeting1
The First Group Meeting
  • Check out the comfort level of the members (use 1-10 round)
  • Assess coping styles of the members
  • Introduce and focus on the content/purpose of the group
  • Draw out members
  • Allow extra time for closing the first session
  • Address questions members may have
  • Focus on multicultural dynamics if they exist
practical considerations in forming a group
Practical Considerations in Forming a Group
  • Group composition
  • Group size
  • Open versus closed group
  • Length of the group
  • Frequency and duration of meetings
  • Place for group sessions
some advantages of a group
Some Advantages of a Group
  • Group setting offers support for new behavior and encourages experimentation
  • The group is a microcosm of the real world – allows us to see how we relate to others
  • Group setting provides an optimal arena for members to discover how they are perceived and experienced by others
  • Groups help members see that they are not alone in their concerns
groups for children
Groups for Children
  • Developing a proposal: Groups for children
  • In planning groups for children:
    • Describe your goals and purposes clearly
    • Develop a clearly stated rationale for your proposed group
    • State your aims, the procedures to be used, the evaluation procedures you will use, and the reasons a group approach has particular merit
key points groups for children
Key Points – Groups for Children
  • In designing a group in both schools and agencies, get the support of administrators
  • Communicate with children about the importance of keeping confidences in language they can grasp
  • Ethical practice demands that you have the training required to facilitate a group with children
  • Not all children are ready for group participation
  • Having some structure is particularly important in groups with children
  • Give thought to helpful methods of evaluating the outcomes of your groups
groups for adolescents
Groups for Adolescents
  • Organizing an adolescent group
    • Conduct a needs assessment
    • Develop a written proposal
    • Market your group
    • Get informed consent from parents or guardians
    • Conduct pregroup interviews
    • Select members for the group
    • Design a plan for each of the group sessions
    • Arrange for a follow-up group session after termination
hints working with reluctant adolescent group members
Hints – Working with Reluctant Adolescent Group Members
  • Explain the rationale of the group in jargon-free language
  • Allow members to express reactions to being sent to group
  • Go with resistance – Don’t go against resistance
  • Avoid getting defensive
  • Be clear and firm with your boundaries
key points groups for adolescents
Key Points – Groups for Adolescents
  • Understand and respect resistance
  • Role-playing techniques can often be creatively used in adolescent groups
  • Find ways to involve parents in group work with adolescents
  • A few kinds of adolescent groups include: groups for students on drug rehabilitation, groups for unwed teenage fathers, teen delinquency prevention groups, and sex offender treatment groups
  • Co-leadership models are especially useful in facilitating an adolescent group
helpful hints
Helpful Hints
  • Do not start with the rules -- it sets a tone you probably don’t want.
  • Do not focus too long on one member during the first session
  • Don’t count on members to carry the first session -- have a plan
  • Watch out for members talking just to you (the leader)
  • Do not let negative or dominating members control
  • Do not be afraid to cut off members
  • Written exercises can be very helpful in drawing out members
  • Dyads can be helpful in getting members comfortable
  • Rounds can be very helpful in drawing out members
  • Use a movement exercise to generate interest and energy if it is low