The Working Stage
Consider the following questions as you draft Sessions 5 and 6 focusing on Stage 4, the Working Stage (see Assignment 14.1: Group Manual).
Identify how you, as a group leader, would recognize and identify characteristics of the working stage within your group.
Discuss some interventions you, as the group leader, might employ during the working phase of the group process.
Corey identifies several therapeutic factors of the group. Discuss one of these characteristics and what processes in your group would illustrate it.
Write a double-spaced 3 page paper with a minimum of three references (two of which are scholarly) in APA format. Note: Since five references are required for your manual, you should use the same references throughout these papers as appropriate.
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The Working Stage
Stage 4: The Working Stage
The working stage has greater productivity and accomplishment within the members compared to the initial stages. The major qualities of the stage are the group's cohesion and productivity. Group cohesion develops from a sense of belonging, solidarity, and an attraction of the group to its members. Recognizing the characteristics of the working stage helps the group leader to guide the group to the required therapeutic effects.
Identifying and Recognizing Characteristics of the Working Stage
The working stage is about increasing commitment among the participants to explore the problems that lead them to seek therapy. Leaders will often identify the member’s commitment to the group’s dynamics (Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004). Unlike the initial and transition stages where the leader's intervention is necessary for process guidance, the degree of intervention in the working stage declines significantly. Although participants often look upon the leader for direction, they tend to initiate a direction towards the group's process (Corey, 2016). Therefore, group leaders will notice that participants have a better understanding of engaging in group interactions without much help.
Also, the group leader may notice improved cohesion and a better understanding of the group's intention among members. They will often show easiness of engaging in intensive interactions and exhibit a clear understanding of their role in changing their lives (Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004). In the initial stages of the group, for example, members are often aware of differences that separate them. However, in the working stage, the group may develop a connection to things that brought them together. According to Corey (2016), members may start making phrases that show that they share in the pain/loneliness, they feel more lovable, and any other feeling that signifies cohesion.
Evidence shows that participants at this stage often focus on the here-and-now with better abilities to talk and develop meaningful interactions (Corey, 2016). They tend to develop a keen interest about happenings in the group than outside matters. Participants show more willingness to do the homework’s and present any challenges they face in thinking, feeling, and behaving.
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Role of the Group Leader
The role of the group leader in the working stage is not intensive like in the initial stages. However, they still have an integral role in promoting the group's success. One of these roles is to balance the feelings and information from the members and their level of interaction (Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004). It is critical because therapy in this stage is about a group’s content and process to promote connections between and among the members (Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004). I will also seek to create a strong therapeutic interaction by focusing on the group’s content and process.
Also, since every member understands their role in changing their lives at this point, I will encourage members on what concerns to explore with the group by taking an active role in group participation while retaining their individuality. It is the member’s responsibility to decide on what information to retain from the group's feedback (Corey, 2016). However, the leader or any group member should not attempt to decide on a course of action or make a prescription for a member.
Genuine intimacy often develops after members engage in full self-disclosure. It helps members identify connections and ways to avoid interpersonal intimacy in and outside the group (Corey, 2016). To help maintain this sense of intimacy and love that develops among participants, I will emphasize the healing power of love and assist in appreciating its dynamics. I will also avoid pushing for self-disclosure unless I have a good understanding of the client's cultural background. Corey (2016) suggests that a leader can only encourage sharing by developing a supportive climate for the member to disclose. My focus on this will be to allow the member to talk about their difficulty in disclosing in the group. I will also demonstrate respect by asking them to express what help they may need from the group.
Corey’s Therapeutic Factors
Therapeutic factors in the working phase ensure that the group moves beyond the security of cohesion and starts engaging in productive work. Hope is a therapeutic factor that promotes group success (Corey, 2016). Hope entails a member's belief that change is possible and they do not need to remain trapped in the past. Such a realization sensitizes the need to take an active role in making life more authentic (Corey, 2016). Consequently, members start taking measures and commitment towards the required activities to achieve change.
The leader's role is to approach the group with a conviction that they can become better. A significant source of hope is the group's success in overcoming their fears and engaging in an open and honest sharing of their problems. By maintaining hope, members trust the group's impact to change their past towards achieving the intended therapeutic effect (Corey, 2016). In turn, the therapist must believe in the group's process to motivate the participants on the required change. The group's high expectations about success are a step towards positive outcomes.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2004). Substance abuse treatment and family therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64265/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK64265.pdf
Corey, G. (2016). Student Manual: Theory & Practice of Group Counseling. Cengage Learning.
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