Getting the Most Out of Group
- Be yourself. Start from where and who you are, not how you think others want you to be. This might mean asking questions, expressing anger, or communicating confusion and hopelessness. Change begins with whatever you feel free to disclose.
- Take time for yourself. You have the right to take group time to talk about yourself. Many people feel that other’s issues are more important, while some have a difficult time facing feelings, or have fears of appearing “weak.” By recognizing what the reluctance to take space for yourself means, you begin the growth process.
- Be aware of censored thoughts and feelings. Learning to express thoughts and feelings, without censorship, enables exploration and resolution of interpersonal conflicts, and self-affirmation and assertion.
- Give and receive feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is a major aspect of group counseling. The purpose
of feedback is to help others identify patterns, personal presentations, unrecognized
attitudes, and inconsistencies. Feedback can be one of the most effective ways to
deepen any relationship.
- Feedback needs to be concrete and specific, brief but to the point, and representative of both your feelings and thoughts based upon what you have experienced.
- Share both positive and negative feedback
- Give feedback as soon as possible
- The best way to get feedback is to request it from specific individuals, those whose impression means the most to you. Find out from others in the group how they perceive you. What role do they see you taking in the group?
- Respond to others. We often have automatic responses for interacting with others. Be prepared to assess your responses and consider other options. Most group members learn that giving advice, suggestions and solutions is seldom helpful. For advice-givers, it takes time to learn how to express personal reactions, communicate understanding, give support, and listen attentively.
- Give the group time to develop. It can take a number of sessions before members of a group begin to have sufficient trust and security to be open and honest, to disclose their concerns and feelings. Thus, we encourage you to make a commitment to attend at least four sessions. If you are not getting what you want out of the group, then talk about that with the group members.
- Focus on the relationships you have with the group, other group members, and the leader. Put a priority on noticing what is happening inside the group. What is going on that makes you feel closer or more distant towards others? Try and explore with the group what you notice.