What happens in Group

1. Confidentiality first.

What is said in the group, stays in the group. You may not disclose outside the group anything shared by others. Who attends the group is also confidential. This is important for building a safe place to share.

2. Share feelings and experiences, but not advice.

MAKE “I STATEMENTS”. Avoid using “you” or “we” as one can only speak for oneself. Speak from your own experience, without generalizing.

SHARE FEELINGS. The primary focus is the honest sharing of personal feelings. Each member of the group should be free to express a range of all emotions – joy, anger, sadness (tears), fear, or shame. Be mindful of what triggers each emotion.

3. Respect and Accept each other without making judgments.

Respect is to be shown to each group member by listening attentively with genuine interest. Avoid making judgmental statements, critical remarks, or blaming others. Anyone in the group who recognizes judgmental, blaming, or critical statements may bring the group’s attention to what’s happening.

4. Listen to each other.

Give everyone an opportunity to share.

5. Avoid interrupting or having side conversations.

6. Feedback.

This means giving back to a member your perception of his/her behavior and helping him/her to consider changing that behavior. Feedback focuses on observed behavior. Nonjudgmental feedback is encouraged.

Some criteria for useful feedback:

a. It is descriptive rather than evaluative. e.g. ” When you turned away from me I felt unimportant”. By describing one’s own reaction, it leaves the individual free to use it or not to use it as he sees fit. By avoiding evaluative language, it reduces the need for the individual to react defensively.

b. It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is “dominating” will probably not be as useful as to be told that “Just now when we were deciding the issue you did not listen to what others said and I felt forced to accept your arguments or face attack from you.”

c. It takes into account the needs of both the receiver and the giver of feedback. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only our own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end.

d. It is directed toward behaviour which the receiver can do something about. Frustration is only increased when a person is reminded of some shortcoming over which he has no control.

e. It is suggested, rather than imposed.

f. It is checked to ensure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback he has received to see if it corresponds to what the sender had in mind.

g. When feedback is given in a process group, both giver and receiver have an opportunity to check with others in the group the accuracy of the feedback. Is this one man’s impression or an impression shared by others?

Feedback is a way of giving help; it is a corrective mechanism for the individual who wants to learn how well his behaviour matches his intentions; and it is a means for establishing one’s identity – for answering – ” Who Am I?”

7. Be supportive and encouraging to each other.

8. Refrain from using offensive language.

9. Commit to attendance & arrive on time

When you commit to joining a group, your spot is reserved for the entire rotation. Since each group only accepts a certain number of members, the group recognizes and misses each member not present. It is important that you are able to attend every session, come on time, and stay the entire length of the group. The group process becomes interrupted when there is irregular attendance, or when people are coming late or leaving early. We ask you to schedule your time so that even during busy weeks, you commit to attend.

10. Silence all cell phones prior to group

11. Always be honest.

 Group Goals

We are here to:

1) Listen to you and to ourselves.
2) Help you discover what you are feeling, not to make your feelings go away.
3) Help you identify your options, not decide for you what you should do. (No advice-giving, even if another asks for it.)
4) Discuss steps you could take in a specific situation, not take the steps for you.
5) Help you discover your own strength, not to rescue you and leave you still vulnerable.
6) Help you discover that you can take responsibility and help yourself, not to take responsibility for you or from you.
7) Help you learn to choose, not to make it unnecessary to make difficult decisions.
8) Provide support for change, growth and encourage you to take risks.

Rules for the Group Process  

1. I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings, actions, ideas, and style of life.
2. Use first person singular tense. (Make I statements.)
3. Talk about the “here and now”.
4. Talk about present “feelings” about past, present, and future situations in my life.
5. Do not use cop-out words; like maybe, perhaps, think, should, might, do not know, I guess, and probably.
6. Deal not with “why” I have a problem, but how do I feel about it and how will I deal with it in my life.

Warm up for Process Group

Ten minutes before the group- I “warm-up”. For the first 5 minutes, I identify a feeling in my “gut” or body and name it. For the second 5 minutes, I say the name of the FEELING out loud. I then hang onto the feeling and share the feeling with the group when the group begins. I ask myself, “What problems or situations am I feeling about.”

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