The beginning stage of group therapy aims to establish processes, norms, and expectations. During it, members are introduced, the group’s purposes are articulated, and working conditions are explained – thus, the group work begins. This stage is characterized by beginners’ anxiety as they are exposed to a new environment. Competent leaders should be supportive and focus on creating a friendly atmosphere and helping people know each other and feel comfortable. They are responsible for either finding individual approaches to every member or perceiving a group’s common demands to provide a basis for efficient cooperation in the future.
The working stage is a cooperative working towards positive and productive changes. It is characterized by members’ commitment to the exploration and solution of particular significant problems by their collective attention to the group’s dynamics. During this stage, people take responsibility for and control over issues that have led them to the therapy (Wahlig, 2018). In this case, leaders should focus on facilitating meaningful discussions between members and address any conflict for its time-sensitive management (Wahlig, 2018). Leaders keep being responsible for the atmosphere within a group mitigating the exaggerated expression of emotions that may lead to misunderstanding.
Finally, during the closing stage, people realize that the therapy is complete and they will not spend time together again, even if they learned and contributed to self-development. It is characterized by strong emotions, such as sadness, satisfaction, or joy, and the necessity to review the results, examine the group’s impact on every person’s individual experience, give and receive feedback, and explore how changes may be applied. Leaders should encourage and support participants, help them formulate their conclusions, and accept and manage their emotions if necessary to create a positive attitude to the therapy.
Wahlig, H. (2018). Leadership skills and strategies for group counseling. Career Trend. Web.