Working with Focal and Focus Groups
In the past decade, there has been a tremendous expansion in the area of homogeneous or focal groups. Focal groups share characteristics in common including: a high degree of structure, specific target issue, goal-orientation, assigned homework and structured exercises to promote rapid change, inclusion of education components, and discouragement of attention to transference issues. Some of the most popular focal groups discussed in this chapter concern codependency, depression, eating disorders, rape and sexual abuse, domestic violence, parenting, anger and aggression management, anxiety, HIV, cancer, critical incident-stress debriefing, chemical dependence, obsessive-compulsive disorder, pain and fatigue, and hospital transition.
Codependency is characterized by preoccupation and extreme dependence on another person. Dysfunctional parenting passes from generation to generation, teaching children to put their own needs aside, discount their own feelings, and use unclear and confusing communication. The only way to stop codependency is to break the cycle and learn new methods of communication.
There are four primary goals for a codependency group: (1) helping clients understand what codependency is and how it affects them negatively, (2) improving boundaries by helping clients to own their feelings and to identify their own needs and wants, (3) increasing member self-esteem by helping them to learn assertiveness and self-nurturing behaviors and decrease self-critical thoughts, and (4) helping group members begin to express feelings appropriately.
Each session begins with a brief check-in, except the first session, which is used for each group member to make a brief