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The word cohesive is derived by the Latin word haesus meaning to cling to. This describes cohesive groups as “unified groups, but their unity is often the result of different causes and processes”. (Forsyth, 2018, p. 128) There are five sources of a groups unity: Social cohesion ( attraction of members and group as a whole), Task cohesion (a shared commitment and goal), Collective cohesion (shared identity and belonging), Emotional cohesion (group-base emotion, overall affective intensity), and Structural cohesion (integrity, clarity of roles, density of relationships). (Forsyth, 2018, p. 128) All of the factors listed above are what create and unify a group.
There are three phases of holding a group session. The three phases are “the warm-up or the beginning phase; the middle or working phase; and the closing phase.” (Jacobs, Schimmel, Masson, & Harvill, 2014, p. 80) The beginning phase is where you begin your introduction and discuss group expectations. The main responsibility of the group leaders are, “helping members get acquainted, setting a positive tone, clarifying the purpose of the group, explaining the leader’s role, explaining how the group will be conducted, addressing questions, facilitating interactions between members, helping members verbalize expectations, and closing the first session.” (Cengage Learning, n.d.) With a new group, the introduction can last no longer than 15 minutes. During a group that has met before, the introduction should be shorter lasting about 10 minutes. Taking too long in the beginning phase can make people lose interest and become bored. Once the beginning phase is complete then we move on to the next phase.
There is a phase that is between the beginning phase and the working phase, also known as the transitional phase. During this phase the leader’s responsibility is to provide a safe space that helps build trust in each member and in the group itself. It is said that the transitional phase during a group session is the hardest phase because this is when the “honeymoon phase” is over and the reality of discussing what is really the reason why they are attending the group sets in. It is uncomfortable for many people and the group leader’s role is to “make is safe to find comfort in our discomfort” (Liberty University, 2017)
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Cengage Learning. (n.d.). Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills Chapter 5 [Video Presentation].
Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group Dynamics (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Jacobs, E. E., Schimmel, C. J., Masson, R. L., & Harvill, R. L. (2014). Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Education.
Liberty University. (2017). Benefits of Group Counseling [Video Presentation].
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