Group Work / Counseling

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Personal growth and development as a group participant

McDermott (2002) suggests that groups are defined by consisting of at least two persons, that share space and share a purpose. The interactions taking place amongst members may be important in the development of common goals, norms and roles, and some sense of belonging. Within the context of a group, participants find the possibility of making comparisons between themselves and others, which can become an influential source of control and reward for members. Therefore the group work undertaken may play a part in defining the individual's sense of reality. McDermott further concludes that, while groups are extremely powerful phenomena, they also hold the possibility and potential of learning how to share that power. The individual and other group participants interact and create a social experience both in the ‘here and now’ as well as in their own minds with their interpretations of what is happening. The group in the group work module consisted of 4 members, including me and the educator. When I first I had some doubt if it would be possible to see group dynamics developing in such a small group, in reality the group was very dynamic, especially at the last weekend when we had two days followed by each other. The educator worked with us as a class but also modelled at the same time our group work. The group task was the learning outcome as stated in the Module outline and the goal is to cover the content areas. The process focused on how the group developed; when the process is going well then the group is dynamic, which our group was even though we where dealing with a member that for the first half of the module was not as involved in the process than the other three members due to tiredness. As a group participant I learned a lot about myself and how I react being in a group. When meeting new people I am at first shy and introvert until I know the other group members better and have developed some trust and find the other group members non threatening. I started to open up and reveal my true self from the third session, still on guard and very aware of what I chose to disclose and what I would rather not disclose. In the later stages of the group I was quiet outgoing and even took the lead in a group activity, which surprised me. Near the end I felt comfortable to show a vulnerable side of mine and even displayed emotions and tears which is very unusual for me. I realised that I am a very controlled person that can handle and comfort other peoples emotional outbursts better than letting other group members see my vulnerability. I realised that there is always more inner work to do and that it is the right time and the right environment to do it. I have been looking into the work of John Bradshaw and his inner child work and find his work very interesting that I would like to explore in the context of group work in the future .

Involvement in group structured exercises and role-plays

Middleman in Papell (1997) and Sullivan (1995) outlined that group work is most effective if the leader sets up the group with a purpose in mind that is best achieved by the combined forces of a number of individuals. It also emphasises the difference between practice with groups and practice with individuals. Practice with groups is not the same as working with several individuals in a group. Rather, group work is, by definition, working with a group. the necessity for the group worker to keep in mind that, while groups are comprised of individuals, at the same time their coming together may enable the expression of powerful forces reinforcing a sense of community and solidarity. These are the building blocks for the development of trust. Trust, and its counterpart—reciprocity amongst members, may establish the bonds which serve to enable members to achieve their individual and common goals. The task of the group worker is to nurture such...
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