ATI residents groups fact sheet 5 starting

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					                          Working with Residents Groups

Fact Sheet 5                                              Starting a Group
After the planning of the group comes starting the group, getting people together
for the first time. This early stage of coming together can be marked with fear of
the unknown and is known as the forming stage.
THESE FEARS MAY BE ABOUT;
 The facilitator, other members, the physical environment and what might happen in
  the group.
 These fears can apply to staff as well as residents.
 As a consequence the first issue that emerges is ‘belonging’. Members are often
  ambivalent about being in the group. This is where residents are often described as
  lacking interest.
 They may also be ambivalent about other participants and will want to connect with
  others but fear the vulnerability that such closeness brings. This applies especially to
  residents who are new to the facility.

MAJOR TASKS FOR THE FACILITATOR
 Fostering members’ attraction to the group
 Establishing structure and control
 Developing trust and cohesion
 Help members to work together
 Help members feel valued by the group
 Make the purpose of the group clear
PHYSICAL LEVEL
 The room should be as comfortable and attractive as possible
 Refreshments should be available. Some facilities attach a social occasion to the
  meeting to encourage attendance
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
 Link and connect people using introductions and small group exercises
 Use nametags to help people get to know the names of members
 As a facilitator establish a nurturing relationship with each member
 Begin to build group norms by contracting around respect, confidentiality and safety
 Create a structure for the group and let participants know what is happening
 Be enthusiastic and energetic
 Spend the majority of time building rapport, sharing and discussing in a positive way
COGNITIVE
 Be clear about the purpose of the group and clarify what people expect from the
  group.

ADVOCACY TASMANIA INC.                   2003                    Residents Groups Fact Sheet 5 of 7
Further information is available from the Advocacy Tasmania web site www.advocacytasmania.org.au
                          Working with Residents Groups

         Developing the Group Through the Difficulties

This stage is known as the storming stage

for reasons that will become apparent below.

 The storming stage is critical in the groups’ development. It can be particularly
  challenging for the facilitator.
 Most groups go through this stage and Residents Groups are no exception.
 Issues of power and control are central and conflict may arise between members and
  between members and the facilitator.
 It is almost as if nothing that the facilitator does is right and there may be doubts
  about whether the group can meet participants’ needs.
 Rather than being a negative, the testing, conflict and adjustment that occurs at this
  stage is a sign that members are starting to feel safe enough to be assertive about
  their own needs.
 This storming stage is a normal process that can be facilitated by the group leader. If
  the conflict is resolved well it will provide a solid foundation for future group dynamics.

GROUP MEMBERS BEHAVING BADLY
 There are a number of clear indicators that a group is storming.
 These include absences, lateness and dropping out from the group.
 There may be stony silences, verbal confrontations, scapegoating and blaming of
  others.
 Some members may dominate communication in the group and subgroups and
  alliances develop.

MAJOR TASKS FOR THE FACILITATOR
 Acknowledge members’ issues and concerns
 Provide a non-defensive response
 Foster group discussion of issues as they arise
 Encourage effective problem solving
 Deal with conflict using conflict resolution and mediation skills where needed
 Provide positive feedback
 Remain calm and optimistic


ADVOCACY TASMANIA INC.                   2003                    Residents Groups Fact Sheet 5 of 7
Further information is available from the Advocacy Tasmania web site www.advocacytasmania.org.au

				
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