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Gail Notes

A group is three or more people with related goals.

Characteristics of groups:

  1. Size of the group
  2. Homogeneity or heterogeneity of the members
  3. Stability of the group
  4. Climate of the group (warm, cold, friendly, aloof)
  5. Degree of cohesiveness
  6. Conformity to norms
  7. Degree of agreement with the leader and the groups norms
  8. Ability to deal with members infractions
  9. Goal directness and task orientation of the group’s work

Types of groups:

Primary groups- members have face-to-face contact. They have boundaries, norms, and explicit and implicit interdependent roles. An example would be a family

Secondary groups- an example would be a political party or a business. There are no relationship bonds or emotional ties. They are larger and more impersonal than primary groups.

Formal group-This type of group has structure and authority. Authority stems from above and interaction is usually limited. A faculty meeting would be an example of a formal group.

Informal group- provides much of a person’s education and contributes to his or her cultural values. The members do not depend on each other.

Group norms- over time a pattern of interaction develops within the group to which certain behavioral expectations are attached. Norms affect the scope and functioning of a group. They also help to structure role expectations, provide sanctions, taboos and reference power to the group. A formalized norm is called an agenda of the meeting. Other group norms may be universal such as electing a secretary.

Group leadership- the concepts of power, influence and authority have an impact on leadership

T group (training group)- the purpose is to improve the group members’ ability to communicate or relate to others in the group.

Styles of leadership- It is influenced by several factors including, the personality of the leader; traits, characteristics and purpose of the group; and the degree of cognitive, emotional or mental impairment of the group members.

  1. Autocratic
  2. Democratic
  3. Laissez-faire

In a consensus, all members of the group agree on the decision.

Majority vote- usually occurs n a democracy where consensus is not possible

Minority decision- a subcommittee explores the situation in great depth and reaches a decision.

Roles in groups:

Group task roles- identifies group problems and selects methods to solve those problems. Problem solving helps the group to meet its goal or mission. Example: initiator-contributor

Group building and maintenance roles- orientated to the functioning of the group as a whole. They alter or maintain the way a group works to strengthen, regulate and perpetuate the group. Examples are the following:

  1. Encourager- gives acceptance of the contributions of others
  2. Harmonizer - reconciles differences among group members
  3. Gatekeeper- facilitates the contributions of others and keeps communication open by encouraging remarks about contributions.
  4. Group observer- notes what is occurring in the group and feeds it back to the group with an evaluation or interpretation of the group’s procedure
  5. The follower- goes along with the ideas of other members and takes the role of a spectator.
  6. Individual roles- hampers group functioning
    1. Aggressor
    2. Blocker
    3. Play person
    4. Recognition seeker

Advantages of group therapy:

  1. Cost effective
  2. Members profit by hearing other members talk about their problems. Decreases the feeling that the client is unique and encourages the client to talk about his/her problems.
  3. Clients can explore the way they communicate in a safe environment.
  4. Learn problem solving techniques from other members
  5. Learn about functional roles of individuals.
  6. Understand, confront and identify with more than one person.

Disadvantages of group therapy:

  1. Confidentiality is violated
  2. Clients may be shy or believe they lack the skills to communicate effectively.
  3. Group therapy is not beneficial if the therapist conducts the group as individual therapy.


  1. Instillation of hope- Therapists may enhance this by bringing attention the progress of group members. It helps maintain the clients’ faith in the therapeutic modality.
  2. Universality- prevents the client from feeling unique or different.
  3. Imparting of information- giving information in a planned and structured manner.
  4. Altruism- The act of giving. (Clients helping each other)
  5. Corrective recapitulation of the primary family group- Clients usually perceive the behavior of the other members as being like their siblings and the behavior of the leader like being a parent. When the leader and members do not respond the way the clients family members did in the past the client gains insight into their own behavior.
  6. Development of socializing techniques- Feedback and role-playing are two methods used in group therapy to develop social skills.
  7. Imitative behavior- clients imitate healthy behavior of other group members and the leader. (Demonstrates growth)
  8. Interpersonal learning- corrections of interpersonal distortions is the goal
  9. Group cohesiveness- relates to bonding in the group. The client’s role in the group influences self-esteem. Cohesive groups create positive client results.
  10. Catharsis- expression of feelings and is effective when followed by insight and learning.
  11. Existential factors- emphasizes the present quality, content, subjective awareness, freedom of choice and state of being. Examples are responsibility and recognition or mortality.

Therapeutic factors do not work alone they are interdependent.

Types of Therapy Groups

Psychoanalytic group psychotherapy

Each client in the group has a relationship with the therapist. Group communication is on three levels, unconscious, semi-conscious, and conscious material. The group focuses on interpretation of dreams, free association, and other dormant content produced in the group. The therapist turns these experiences into conscious, healthy learning experiences.

Transactional analysis

The three ego states (parent, child, and adult) are examined. The goal is that the client will communicate with the proper Ego State for the situation.

Rational-emotive therapy

The goal is to increase or maximize the client’s rational thinking.

Rogerian group therapy

Therapist goal is to help clients’ express their feeling towards one another. The therapist encourages the expression of feelings, clarifies feelings with clients, and accepting clients and their feelings in a nonjudgmental way. The clients learn to accept their feelings and gain a positive self-regard.

Gestalt Therapy

Focuses on self-exploration, self-expression, and self-awareness. Emphasizes the here and now. They focus on everyday problems and how to solve them.

Interpersonal group therapy

Focuses on how individuals develop anxiety and how they resolve it. Anxiety arises from interpersonal relationships and is reduced through interpersonal support. The main goal is to promote the individuals comfort with others in the group and transfer it to other relationships.

Psychodrama group

The client brings up a topic to delve into and the therapist directs the client through scenes involving the topic. The audience identifies with the feelings and action on stage. A catharsis occurs for the client and the audience.

Marathon groups

It is a single uninterrupted session lasted from 12 hours to three or more days. These groups allow short periods to be way from the group to eat or sleep. The goal is personal change or growth.

Encounter groups

The purpose of this group is personal change often because of deeply felt experiences.

Community support groups

Self help groups

Stages of Group Development

Initial stage- Members become acquainted with each other. They may be unclear about the goals of the group. Roles, norms, and responsibility begin to takes place. Depend on the leader for direction

Working stage- members are free to approach or attempt to solve their problems. Conflict and cooperation surface.

Mature – development of workable norms and a group culture. Resolves conflict when it occurs. Accepts others’ differences without placing judgment on them. Evaluates own work and individuals take responsibility for their work. Discusses topics and makes decisions with rational behavior. "We feeling"

Termination Stage

Evaluates and summarizes the group experience and explores the positive and negative feelings about the experience.

Group communication:

Latent content- content that is not discussed and occurs on a feeling level

Manifest content- Spoken words

Manifest and latent content should be congruent if not the communication pattern of the group will be affected.