Group Leadership Skills

By Carolyn Chambers Clark | Go to book overview

4
Special Group Problems

Among the more common group problems that you will have to deal with are monopolizing, scapegoating, silence, the new member, transference and countertransference, physical aggression, nonverbal groups or group members, absences, and manipulation.


MONOPOLIZING

Groups are likely to have one member who talks excessively. In certain situations it may be reasonable to expect one member to do most or at least a major part of the talking in a group session. For example, when a group member is presenting special information to the group, it would be expected that that person would speak more than the others. When the purpose of the group is to share ideas, to learn from one another, or to make group decisions, a member who fails to let others contribute can impede group movement. Novice group leaders tend to become irritated by the overtalkative member and often fail to consider that such behavior occurs because other group members allow it to occur. A systems framework helps the group leader to see how one group member's behavior affects group functioning and vice versa.

Monopolizing can serve as a protective device for the group. The more silent group members may be anxious or fearful, or they may lack trust, and it is somewhat comforting to them that someone else will take responsibility for what happens in the group. At the same time, others in the group may show signs of irritation with the overtalkative person but have mixed feelings about interrupting. Meanwhile, the monopolizer may also have mixed feelings about doing most of the talking. Overtalkativeness can be an effort to decrease anxiety, or an at

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