Our therapy groups were assigned today shortly after the viewing of a film in class. My fellow group members consisted of Bryant, Earl, Stephan and Tracy, and our group was designated with the concept of reality therapy. Our group had several tasks to complete prior to class dismissal.
The list of things to complete included: appointing a group facilitator, developing the group purpose and a minimum of 3 norms for the group, setting-up a schedule for member-led exercises, and reading our group theory in Appendix 1. We started our group session with a short icebreaker as a way for each member to introduce him/herself. We were seated with our seats facing each other in a circle. Initially, some members seemed a bit hesitant to share since we weren’t yet familiar with each other.
Their hesitation was obvious in the body language they displayed (arms crossed over their chest, leaning back in chair, etc) and the slow development of discussion at first. The icebreaker seemed effective as each member got to share their name and an embarrassing time in their life. By an informal vote and a democratic method, I was appointed as the group facilitator. The other group members indicated that it seemed that I had some displayed some task specialist skills that they thought might be beneficial to our group. I took on the role somewhat reluctantly.
Through group sharing we were able to relax and work towards the tasks we were given to complete. As asked by the instructor, we developed a group purpose and a set of group norms. Our group purpose is to demonstrate through the use of group exercises that reality therapy is a cognitive approach to therapy (Zastrow, 2010, pg 501). Our group norms include: 1) Acknowledge receipt of each other's messages.
2) Communicate via email (through Canvas) or text messaging, and provide a response to confirm message receipt. 3) Encourage free flowing discussion while being courteous of other speakers as they share their ideas/thoughts. 4) Inform group members of any class/group meeting absence, and in advance if possible. Tues, 22 Jan 2013 @ 1214 hrs
Group Meeting #2: Norming & Performing Prior to moving on to new business, I wanted to ensure that all members received the notes from our prior meeting. I hadn’t heard from Bryant so was somewhat concerned that we had the right information for communication in Canvas. It was a good thing to bring this up because it appeared that I had selected a different classmate “Brian” in Canvas instead of “Bryant”.
I sent messages to the group over the weekend to get our communication stream started, and as a way to build trust within our group in my role as the group facilitator. I guess there was dual purpose in doing that- it was task oriented, but also a group maintenance function. Our primary objective for today’s session, and for the several upcoming sessions, will be to complete a series of exercises relative to the reality therapy.
I’d like to commend Tracy for volunteering to go first, and agreeing to get the ball rolling by conducting the first of our member-led exercises. She conducted an exercise centered on axiom 7 of reality therapy. She led it with some background on the axiom and then gave a personal example.
She then asked other members to share in turn. Her personality is upbeat, and friendly. Our group is generally productive, and I think that one of our group efficiencies is that we act on an informal and unwritten norm that we will all participate in sharing for these exercises. In my opinion, we ran a little short on time to adjourn the exercise properly.
The close seemed a little abrupt and rushed, which can cause some frustration or upset in group members if this happened in an actual group outside of classroom practice. She was also sharing in some detail, so that might have slightly contributed to the issue around time management. All in all, I think she did well in being prepared. She speaks clearly, uses words we all understand, and is generally a harmonizer. My only concern is that she may be averse to conflict, but we’ll see how that plays out in future group sessions.
The group showed signs of conformity and identification with group. We tend to greet each other with regularity prior to and after class. Our communication is fairly regular, even outside of the classroom. There doesn’t seem to be any subgroups developing. I think that is interesting, because sometimes in groups, cliques or mini-groups are not uncommon. Thurs, 24 Jan 2013 @ 1726 hrs
Group Meeting #3: Changing Our Feelings & Improving Somatic Problems Group seems to be progressing well. Bryant led exercise M3.7 from our textbook. He tried to wait to ensure all members were back from the previous task so not to exclude anyone or have to repeat himself. Earl was slightly tardy in joining us. Bryant began our exercise by setting it up. He stated a quote, the axiom(s) and how the two were related. He transitioned easily from there into the exercise with a question.
Our group is consistent in our democratic approach to our tasks and objectives. This tends to lend to the strong cohesiveness of the group, and overall productivity in work product as a group. Bryant did a good job of positioning himself in a seat where the clock was clearly visible to him for time management purposes. Our group was seated in a sociopetal formation to encourage sharing and interactive discussions. Our instructor sometimes arranges the seats during break as a timesaver.
This proved to be extremely helpful today as there was a lot of info to cover. Bryant was well prepared, articulate in his thoughts, and good at transitioning from point to point. He spoke a bit fast at times for me, but when I asked for clarification he didn’t hesitate to provide it to my satisfaction. It was a satisfying exercise experience for me. The group does well adhering to the previously established norms. I’m going to approach the group in an upcoming session about appending to our norms. I’d like to develop a group norm around timeliness as group, especially if our group is scattered and needs to reconvene after a break.
I notice that Earl is more comfortable divulging personal details at group exercises, and I’m not sure how to react to it. I haven’t yet assessed if he is doing it in an effort to illustrate a point relative to the instructional material or as a way of calling attention to himself. I’ll have to reserve judgment on that until I get more information through continued interaction and observation.