Discussion 1: Group Leadership Skills
Leading a group of individuals who have suffered trauma can be difficult because the shared stories may result in further trauma to some of the members. Assessing the members and deciding how they will introduce themselves at the first meeting can be a difficult task. Helping these members begin the group therapy process is the first step in facilitating the group.
For this Discussion, watch the video of the “Levy” group session.
By Day 3
Post your evaluation of the group’s social worker’s leadership skills, using at least two items from each of the three categories found in the Toseland & Rivas (2017) piece (facilitation of group processes, data gathering and assessment, and action). Suggest another way the social worker might have initiated the group conversation.
By Day 5
Respond to two colleagues who discussed a different leadership skill. Explain the importance of building these skills and how they relate to facilitating the group process.
Colleague 1: Caneisha
Facilitation of group processes
As a facilitator, one must display listening skills while facilitating group. In my observation, I observed the facilitator being mindful and acknowledging the emotions and feelings of each group member. The facilitator displayed active listening skills. Active listening skills was illustrated through the effect of the facilitator. Nodding of the head, emotion of understanding through the eyes, hand gestures, and repeating what the group participate stated. Effective attending skills include repeating or paraphrasing what a member says and responding empathically and enthusiastically to the meaning behind (Toseland & Rivas 2017). The group facilitator acknowledges each group member feelings. An example was after one group member was attacked verbally by another group member. The facilitator allowed conflict within group members to occur while ensuring the conflict does not intensify. The facilitator allowed group members to compare similarities amongst selves to allow group members to convey emotions and feelings. The facilitator allowed members to express their feelings and responded appropriately making sure not to let them escalate into the point of arguing. In facilitating group processes contribute to positive group outcomes when they improve understanding among group members, build open communication channels, and encourage the development of trust so that all members are willing to contribute as much as they can to the problem on which the group is working (Toseland & Rivas 2017).
Data gathering and assessment
Data-gathering and assessment skills are useful in developing a plan for influencing communication patterns as well as in deciding on the action skills to use to accomplish the group’s purposes (Toseland & Rivas 2017). The facilitator collected thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of each group member. After group member spoke, she thanked them for sharing their story. The facilitator responded by observing the actions of each group member. According to Toseland & Rivas (2017), the skills of identifying and describing a situation are essential to workers’ attempts to gather data by requesting information, questioning, and probing. Using these skills, workers can clarify the problem or concern and broaden the scope of the group’s work by obtaining additional information that may be useful to all members (Toseland & Rivas 2017). The facilitator gathers more data by my observation of asking group members questions. The facilitator included questioning and probing for each group member. For example, when Jake made a joke about purchasing alcohol, she inquired if he finds his self-drinking more alcohol than what he normally drinks. In addition, the facilitator engaged group members in identifying personal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The facilitator acknowledges group members trauma that was experienced while serving in the military. The facilitator expressed wanting to allow group members to discuss how they are adjusting back into civilian life.
Group members through my observation were encouraged to express thoughts by providing them the opportunity to publicize their concerns. The facilitator used personal testimonies of group members by soliciting their opinions and by responding accordingly. The facilitator displayed empathy for the challenges the group members have faced from being deployed. This was and is an important factor. The group members will be given the opportunity to feel understood and heard. I believe as a facilitator, this is very important while conducting group. In acknowledging the feelings and emotions of group members, the facilitator was able to allow each group member to feel heard and understood. Each group member was permitted the opportunity to express their feelings and feel validated at the same time. Each group member through the actions of the facilitator, each group member was able to process personal experienced trauma.
Alternative to initiate the group conversation
Another way the social worker could have initiated the group conversation would be to allow group members to express their reason for being there and how they feel they can benefit from the group therapy. This will act as a guide to the direction of the group. The group can express and feel apart of the group. The group members will feel a part of the progress and process of the group. The group members will feel they are apart of the group and not just a participate of the group. To better explain this statement, the group members will feel that they are the ones who have created the group.
“ References: Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013d). Levy (Episode 6) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu “
“ Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Chapter 4, “Leadership” (pp. 97-134). Chapter 5, “Leadership and Diversity”
Colleague 2: Danielle
Happy week 6!
I hope everyone is having a great start to their week. It has been horrible weather here in Rhode Island. We have had lots of rain with cooler temperatures. I am ready for fall, but I am not ready for snow quite yet. In working at the hospital, we don’t have a choice we have to be here for our patients and provide the best possible care despite the weather.
I really enjoyed this week’s material because it was information that not only will apply when we are working within group facilitation but also with anything in our life. We are often going to be part of a team or group when working in our role as a clinician. For example, I work often with two separate teams I have the primary care clinic where I am the only social worker here, but I am also on the social work department team which is made up of about 28 clinicians throughout the hospital bother master’s Level and bachelors.
Facilitation of Group Processes
In working to evaluate the group’s social worker’s leadership skills within the facilitation of group processes I want to highlight working to involve group members and focusing on group communication. Our textbook works to outline that all members should be involved and interested in what is being discussed within the group (Toseland, Rivas, 2017). This facilitator did a fantastic job at working to engage all members and everyone seemed to be receptive to the items in which they were speaking. To involve group members this also means that we must take the lead and continue to facilitate throughout the process (Toseland, Rivas, 2017). We also want to work to empower our patients to feel comfortable with understanding they should feel comfortable to speak and this is a safe space for them to share their thoughts & feelings (Toseland, Rivas, 2017).
From personal experience it can become difficult to facilitate groups. This morning on my way into work I was speaking with my friend who will be facilitating a group later this week for observation for her course. A specific item that we brought up was the difficulties that surround working to ensure your group members are engaged, sticking to the topics of discussion, and wanting to be there. As social workers or any facilitator it is important that we are quick on our feet and understand that not every group will be run the same way. That’s totally okay! No group should be the same simply due in part to the participants everyone will provide different contributions.
Data Gathering and Assessment
In the video of facilitation with the group within the data gathering and assessment portion of the social worker we can see that these are useful in working to influence the communication patterns and decide how to move forward (Toseland, Rivas, 2017). In this section the two items in which I observe from the social worker is working to identify, describe thoughts, feelings and behaviors in addition summarizing and partializing information (Toseland, Rivas, 2017). The facilitator works to gather data (not shared) by asking the individuals questions. The questions are used to keep the facilitation of conversation going but as a facilitator you can know and understand if a question negatively impacts the flow of conversation or continues to promote healthy conversation.
Throughout my observation group members were encouraged to discuss and express their thoughts by providing them the opportunity to each individually speak if they so choose. It was understood that this was a safe space that individuals could speak. I have mentioned this previously, but it is vital that as a facilitator or group leader that you work to understand each group member, how the group functions, and continue to keep the conversations going. These are actions that as social workers we aren’t going to know how to facilitate over night, but we will learn! As we continue to practice these skills, we will get better at honing our craft.
Suggest another way the social worker might have initiated the group conversation.
I think that another way in which the social worker could have initiated the conversation would welcome everyone to the group and say thank you for attending. Next, you will take time to introduce yourself to the group, and maybe share a fun fact about yourself to alleviate the group from thinking you might be better than them. In running inpatient groups at a residential treatment facility while I am someone who has never been in treatment themselves or understand life of addiction from that standpoint it was beneficial for the clients to see and understand I am still a person. In addition, it allowed the group members to feel like they were part of all aspects vs. me just working to ask them who they are, and why they are here.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013d). Levy (Episode 6) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu “
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Chapter 4, “Leadership” (pp. 97-134). Chapter 5, “Leadership and Diversity”
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