GROUP COUNSELING - GROUP DYNAMICS


There are seven areas of internal group dynamics. These include:


1. Communication patterns - attending to verbal and nonverbal communication helps the therapist to effectively move the group toward its goals.


2. Cohesiveness - Irvin Yalom argues that group cohesiveness is a major factor for a successful outcome. The members' strong affinity for each other and toward the group as a whole makes an open, supportive, and accepting group.


3. Social control - this includes norms, roles, expectations, and status that let a group function effectively, if not always smoothly.


4. Norms - rules of behavior may be tacit or explicit, informal or formal, veiled or overt. The therapist tries to head off automatic conforming responses.


5. Role expectations - individual group members perform different functions including task and maintenance roles (helping to keep the group on track) and individual roles (often selfishly at odds with group goals).


6. Status - status outside the group, combined with behavior within the group, contributes to in-group ranking of members. Willingness to conform to group norms is affected by this status.


7. Group culture - arising from beliefs, customs, and values of its members and the environment in which a group is set, group culture influences objectives, tasks, interaction, and methods. Additionally, as Yalom observed, the group is a therapeutic social system in microcosm, making the group an agent of change.