How My Learning On the Group Process Module, Through the BA Programme Has Supported and Impacted On My Personal and Professional Development
Psychotherapy theories offer a framework through which therapists, as well as counsellors, can interpret their clients thoughts, feelings as well behaviours. The attained data is then employed by the psychology specialists to navigate their clients psychotherapy recovery processes, from diagnosis to post-treatment. Today, group dynamics has become a leading area of psychology and a key characteristic of numerous psychotherapy meetings. This dissertation will be an integration of the counselling theory and philosophy of counselling to a personal experience in a group development process. The dissertation will also focus on the group dynamics in psychology by using different models forwarded by William Schutz, Bruce Tuckman as well as Gerald Corey and relating their theories to the personal group experience.
In my defensiveness, I may come across as a defensive person from my facial expression. The expression may look distasteful as if betraying my personal past experiences in interacting with others in groups. Also, I express such challenges through my facial expressions that convey a stronger message of what I am struggling to say but not finding the right words to say it. Moreover, at times when I try to express myself or when I am defending something, my voice tends to crack. My tone goes up a bit betraying my slight defensiveness. Additionally, my uncertainty somehow gets caught up in my voice, and the other persons interacting with me can feel a kind of apology and strain in me as I try to express myself.
Today, I feel the struggle to find the right words to describe how I feel. I also feel I am not getting my message out the right way. I feel that I need to learn how to articulate my messages well because right now I am not able to voice my personal message the way I would like. Nevertheless, I can still write them down so that I can be heard, but I also feel that I need to change therapists as I need someone to meet me properly, challenge me and also hold me in the part that makes me feel very fragile when I am attacked. This will help me slowly let my defences down. However, I feel that I needed the negative transference to emerge so as to attain a better handle in my defences so that I can start working through them. I would prefer not to face this block again especially around the authority since I am okay with it and I believe no one has everything covered.
In my personal account, in the process of growth development, I normally feel the need to form and maintain satisfactory relationships with other group members. I attain this by portraying an interest in the other members of the group, and I am also concerned about the interest they show on me and my personal life experiences. In this case, I feel the need to be attended to, recognized as well as acknowledged as an interesting person within the group. Also, to support my bid to satisfy this personal need, I normally adopt a specified pattern on behaviour in the group that can be characterized by an aggressive group involvement, interaction as well as participation. All these are factors that can be related to the group theory developed by William Schutz in the inclusion stage (Bickmore, et al. 2014).
I can liken this stage of inclusion to my personal experience in a group, after enrolling for the BA degree in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. During the second year of learning, I opened up to my other group members that I have bipolar affective disorder. Arguably, this was a very hard thing for me to do since I have always been a shy person all my life. I am also a person who prefers to keep my personal things to myself, and I have always been uncomfortable to share personal experiences with others. Arguably, the reason for opening up about the condition was to attain satisfaction by being attended to and recognized by the other group members. I was also very interested in learning about the other group members, and I also manifested a high level of involvement, participation as well as interaction with all the group members and functions.
This personal experience during the first stages of grouping experience can also be explained through Gerald Coreys group development process at its first stage of pre-group issues (Humphreys, 1996). This is because, at the stage, my behaviour was characterized by a low level of risk taken and a gradual enactment of group cohesion between the other members and me. I was also, at this time, tried to ascertain who to trust and how much to disclose to my fellow group members. I also felt trust versus mistrust was a co-issue at this stage and my primary efforts inside the group were to try and learn the expectations of the group in my participation. Ultimately, I was optimistic that negative intentions towards me could appear and I also felt periods of silence and awkwardness occurring at certain periods during the group meetings.
In addition, I am a person who likes to belong in a group although at times I feel excluded. However, when I join a group, I do not perceive myself to be a leader in the group. This can be accredited to my past personal experience in my past years of learning in that I am quite a shy person and have always been all my life. At the University during my group development process, at times I felt as if the other group members did not notice me and this made me feel as if I was back in Secondary School. Nevertheless, even after being included in the group, I have never felt the need to lead others in any of the group activities. Instead, I prefer to become a follower of others in the group. As such, my interpersonal needs in a group are not fulfilled through the leadership of others as outlined in Schutzs control stage of his group development process (Boyd 2008; Forsyth 2009).
In addition, my personal group experience at this stage can also be likened to Coreys initial and transitional stages. This is because my personal behaviours in the groups were characterized by feelings of anxiety as well as defences through various forms of behavioural patterns. I was also more concerned about what I thought about myself and on what other people thought about me. I preferred to play it safe, and I was also reluctant of taking risks in the group. Ultimately, I was also focused on learning the expression levels of other persons in the group towards any input I made during the group meetings.
Nevertheless, I also believe that my experience in a group development process can be likened to the Schutzs group development process in the affection stage (Boyd 2008; Winstanley 2005). In my group, during my second year at the university, despite being a shy person, I had to confront my fear of others in order to share my personal challenges in living with the bipolar affective disorder. This was a hard thing for me because I did not know whether the other group members would accept or reject me after the revelation. Nevertheless, since I felt the need to fulfill my interpersonal need of affection in the group, I told them about my breakdown with the condition alone in France. I also told them about my first visit to a psychiatric hospital and how frightened I was at the time.
When I cried during the group meeting, a classmate who was next to me comforted me. From his action, I can state that this fulfilled my need for affection in the group as outlined by the Schutzs affection phase (Floyd, et al. 2007; Guerrero, et al. 2013). Additionally, my affection need was furthered by a fellow group member who confessed that he was very inspired to share his story with the group because of my honesty. In addition, from his revelation, I felt the affection of the other group members towards me, and as such, I did not feel regretful for having shared my personal experience with the bipolar affective disorder with them. This level of honesty also made me form a closer relationship with the group, an aspect that is also outlined in Schutzs affection stage in the group development process (Schutz, 1978).
From my personal experience, I have always had a dysfunctional pattern in making friends in a new group. Its a phenomenon that I really felt that I needed to change in order to fulfil my social needs within a group. When forming a group, my initial meeting with group members is normally great. This is because I am always jolly and interested in them. I also like that they have an interest in me and I do not portray any negative feeling towards them essentially because I do not know them well at the time. Nevertheless, as time passes in the group, I start noticing that little groups are formed within the group. Such small groups do not include me. As a result, I start becoming resentful and also project negativity towards members of the little groups. This is even when they have not done anything wrong towards me.
This change in behaviour can be related to Tuckmans theory of group development in its forming stage (Tuckman, 1963; Myers & Anderson 2008). At this stage of my group developing process, a person goes through the testing and dependency phase in an effort to acclimatize to the new group (Murray, et al. 2006; DiZazzo-Miller & Pellerito 2010). At this time, I am hesitant in participating in the group and also attempt to discover the various acceptable behaviours within the group. This is important as it helps me to be in a position to evaluate my relationship with the rest of the group members and the relationships of others within the group. However, I do not like it when some members of the group start forming smaller groups within the main group. I feel bad if such group members fail to include me in their smaller groups.
Additionally, unlike in the group development process by Tuckmans group development theory as outlined in the storming stage I do not participate in group conflicts that are focused on attaining leadership positions in the group. This is because I have never been interested in acquiring any leadership position inside the group. Nevertheless, such group members start to see the usefulness of the group and then starts paying attention to its structure and activities. Just like explained by Tuckmans storming theory, occasionally, group members tend to attack each other directly. However, I do not participate in such attacks, and I normally fell resentful to those that attack me.
My resentfulness of conflict can also be explained by my personal experience in the group process in my third year at the university. In that period, I found it immensely difficult to share what was going on in my life with the other group members. Instead, I kept to myself most of the time especially in the third year to avoid conflicts or being attacked directly or indirectly by the other group members. Moreover, I shared very little about my personal life in the past, mostly because the second year was a big deal for me. Additionally, I believe my behaviour can be attributed to my past experiences in the lower schools in which case I was affected by little actions such as clicks of girls and teases from gangs in school.
Moreover, from my past experience, I have always felt all my life that most people, especially those in authority, are patronising towards me. I tend to get defensive when people challenge me, and this is something I need to work on in therapy. This is also a primary obstacle that other people in the class sensed and it was difficult for the tutor to hold me in the bit that makes me very fragile when I feel I am at...
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