In understanding further that the session referenced is focused on imparting ways in which group members may improve their own lives, group members additionally view John not as a friend but as an enemy capable only of passing judgment upon them.
Leader Interventions and Potential Outcomes
At this point, in viewing the severe lapse in productivity due to power structure and lack of trust within the group, it is clear that an intervention must be undertaken by John in order to move the group forward into the realm of positive outcomes. There are two main routes that John can take in order to alter the dynamics within the group. The first would highly ineffective, but can be seen as a route John would take based on his initial choice to ignore the comment directed toward him about the group's unhappiness from being "lectured to" each week. Such ineffective group leadership strategies involve using warnings and threats to control the group, giving excessive advice to group members, and the requirement of group members to behave in prescribed ways. In continuing on with his "lecture," John would do nothing but add salt to the wounds of an already-disjointed and therefore dysfunctional group.
In order to shift the direction of the session and thereby the upcoming 5 weeks, John must alter the manner in which his and future leader's knowledge is imparted upon group members. In exhibiting respect for group members, John must not only show patience in allowing members to voice their concerns, but must not brush off the current tensions within the group. One of the most valued traits of an effective group leader, especially in the field of counseling is the ability to be criticized by group members without becoming angry and perceive group process issues accurately (Gallon 2004, pp.1).
John's decision to act in one way or another in this instance will likely determine how the group progresses for the next 5 weeks. The outcome, dependent upon his decision to alter the way in which the sessions are handled, has the capacity to throw the group into an increased state of anger and disarray, or restructure it completely into one of unity and respect for one another. The ultimate goal of the group and hand is clearly to better the lives of the individuals partaking in the counseling series, and in treating these individuals like children, leaders will do nothing but fuel the fire of distrust that group members likely already possess.
In viewing the case at hand, it is clear that significant changes must be made within the group to alter group dynamics and allow group members to work through their issues in a collaborative manner rather than in a manner which centers on the lecturing of standards for adherence in group members' own lives. Group members' presence in such counseling groups can be linked to an aversion to dictatorial structure in aspects of their own lives -- especially in viewing members with psychological disturbances -- and in keeping this type of structure in a setting which is meant to better them, the goal will be sabotaged, ultimately by the leaders who set the goal in the first place. As the group at stake is still in the beginnings of its work together, the group dynamic can be altered in a manner that allows productive communication and the imparting of information to group members in future sessions. The decision as to whether this productivity is possible lies now in the hands of the group leaders.
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