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Session 7 - Groups

Overview of Course

Introductory Session

Family and Values


Individual Counseling 1

Individual Counseling 2

Individual Counseling 3


checkmark Objectives: To learn some of the roles people play in groups, to learn a group problem solving technique and to learn how groups develop and change.


I. Check In5
II. Reports on Challenges 10
III. Warm Up 10
IV. Group Roles Activity 30
V. Group Facilitation 20
VI. Break15
VII. Problem Solving 45
VIII. Stages of Group Development 30
IX.Assign Challenge15



II. Challenge Reports

Process Questions:
  • How did you approach the person?
  • How did the person respond?
  • How was it easier or more difficult than other times when you have discussed difficult issues with this person?

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III. Warm Up - Warp Speed(Source: Silver Bullets, Project Adventure)

Present this as an opportunity to do some group building and problem solving. The group is asked to stand in a circle large enough so there is at least a foot between each person. They are to throw the ball to someone else in the group who is not standing next to them. They need to remember to whom they threw the ball. The second time around, time the action. The goal is to get the ball from person to person as quickly as possible. This can easily be done in under 5 seconds by changing positions, forming ramps with hands, etc

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IV. Group Roles

Either A or B provide a good opportunity to experience group roles.

A. Committee Role Play(Adapted from: Youth Reaching Youth, National Network)

Ask for six volunteers to role play a committee meeting. This committee is to develop publicity for a new community center. At the last meeting you decided on a poster contest for school age children and the goal of this meeting is to decide on a theme for the posters. Ask the observers to watch for what group process is happening.

Give each volunteer a card with one of the following roles:
  • Facilitator. You must keep the group focused on choosing a theme for the poster contest. You are looking for the best topic with the widest appeal.
  • You think the poster contest should focus on family values. You believe that the lack of family values causes the problems in todayís society. You are very strong minded and talkative.
  • You do not like the idea of doing a poster contest. If you do not get your way, you pout.
  • You feel drugs are ruining this country, You want drugs to be the poster contest focus and will not let any other person get in your way.
  • You donít really care. A poster contest is fine with you as long as you donít have to do any work involved with it. You are cooperative as you donít have to do any work.
  • You feel fairly strongly that the poster contest should be about recreational activities, but if someone disagrees with you, itís okay. You are a peacemaker.

Process Questions (Allow the observers to express their impressions first):
  • Who was the facilitator? How could you tell?
  • What personalities were involved
  • What did the facilitator do to help keep the group on track?
  • What worked? What didnít work? Why?
  • Did everyone participate?
  • Were some group members difficult to work with?
  • Can you identify any roles you usually take on in a group?

B. Group Roles Activity.

Each person is given 4 or 5 puzzle pieces. (Previously prepare one puzzle for each person by cutting a piece of 8x11 construction paper into 4 or 5 pieces of varying shapes and sizes. Mix the puzzles up before distributing so that everyone has a mixture of pieces)

The group task is to have a completed puzzle for each person. The activity is not over until everyone has a completed puzzle.

Process questions:
  • What group roles emerged?
  • Did people play the roles they usually play in groups?
  • What was difficult, easy?
  • Were there other roles which would have been helpful in completing the task?

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V. Group Facilitation (Source: Youth Reaching Youth, National Network)

Distribute Group Facilitator Tasks Handout. Review tasks and how to do them. Have each person complete the worksheet by providing an example of a time they have seen a facilitator do this skill well or an example of how they think it could be done well. Members then share their examples. Stress that being a group facilitator takes much patience and practice.


Good Facilitator Will How Example
Keep group on track Remind the group of the topic  
Ensure one person speaks at a time Stop interruptions  
Listen to the needs of the group Be willing to change the agenda at the groupís request  
Clarify when the group seems to be confused Summarize  
Ensure that all group members are given an opportunity to participate in the group activity Encourage everyone to speak up  
Identify common ground between group members Summarize and emphasize areas on which group members agree  

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VII. Problem Solving

Distribute Problem Solving Process Hand Out.

Review each step, stressing the importance of the process to obtain commitment from the entire group. Also discuss that depending on the problem the length of time devoted to each step may vary and the group may have to return to an earlier step .Also mention that this process can be easily used with individuals as it follows well after either Active Listening or I Messages.

Problem Solving Role Play. Assign the group the task of deciding on a topic for a class session. Ask them to use the Problem Solving Process and have one volunteer facilitate each step in the process.


1. IDENTIFY AND DEFINE THE PROBLEM.Everyone in the group should be clear on what the problem is. There may be several problems which need to be solved one at a time or several problems may be grouped under one theme and solved together. However, be careful that you do not define the problem so broadly that it cannot be solved by the group. If the problem is not clearly defined at this stage, you may need to return to defining the problem at a later point in the process.

2. GENERATE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS. This is the brainstorming step. Everyone is encouraged to contribute possible solutions. It is VERY important at this stage that all solutions are accepted with no judgments. All suggestions should be recorded so they are visible to everyone (on a blackboard or newsprint).

3. EVALUATE SOLUTIONS. When the group has no more suggestions, the evaluation stage begins. There are several ways this can be accomplished, for example:
  • weighing the pros and cons of each suggestion
  • eliminating those which no-one thinks will work
  • combining similar suggestions

4. DECIDING ON THE BEST SOLUTION. Usually the possible solutions have been narrowed down to just a few by this step. The group needs to continue to weigh the pros and cons to decide on a solution which everyone can commit to. This may not be the solution that everyone prefers but it must have enough merit that everyone can agree to try it.

5. IMPLEMENTING THE DECISION. This is where the group must decide who does what, how they do it and by when. These decisions should also be written down where they are visible to everyone.

6. FOLLOW-UP EVALUATION. A definite time should be set to evaluate if the solution is working. Some criteria for "how will we know if it is working?" should be set. If the solution is not working, you may have to begin the process from step one.

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VIII. Developmental Stages of Groups

Discuss the stages groups usually go through as they form and develop. Use examples based on experiences this groups has had together. Points to emphasize:
  • all groups will go through these stages although the specifics may look very different
  • groups may return to earlier stages either because of stress within the group or influences such as new members or new leaders
  • facilitators should be aware of these stages and structure activities accordingly - for example complicated tasks or problems should not be assigned to a group who barely know each other

Getting Acquainted
Members learn about each other and the purpose of the group. Lots of icebreakers and "getting to know you" activities are useful in this stage.

Power and Control
During this stage issues related to "who's in charge" and general leadership emerge. The group has difficulty focusing on task completion. Activities which focus on finding commonalities and defining the group's purpose are helpful. Open discussion of the conflicts can also help the group work through this difficult stage

Task Oriented
Here the group accomplishes its purposes whether they be therapy, education, recreation, planning, etc. It is more than a collection of individuals and draws upon individual and group strengths to meet its needs.

The group needs a chance to reflect on its accomplishments and failures and to experience the inevitable feelings of separation and loss.

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IX. Assign Challenge

Please note that this challenge is in a different format than previous ones.

Challenge: Think of an experience you have had in a group which did not go as you would have liked. Answer the following questions about it.

Describe the situation including what you liked and didnít like:

What could you have done differently:

What could the facilitator or person in charge of the group have done differently:

What did you learn from the experience:

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