Beginning, Guiding, and Terminating the Group
Much of the preparation needed should be done by you before the first group meeting. Three major preparatory tasks leader are: handling administrative details and relationships, making structural decisions about the group, and interviewing or notifying prospective group members.
Novice group leaders may think that the client or work group will be the largest system with which they will need to be concerned (Ojanen and Keski-Luopa, 1995). In reality, group members will be greatly influenced by other systems such as family, community agency, hospital, and other institutional systems. Highly organized bureaucratic institutions such as prisons, long-term hospitals and even schools may present the greatest resistance to innovative suggestions to start a group within their walls. Your first task in such a setting may be simply to locate the appropriate administrator who can grant access to a group population. It is important to note that although highly organized institutions may present the most resistance to groups, smaller community agencies can also be resistant to change.
You may have to educate administrators about how you can function in task, supportive, and teaching groups. Resistance may be decreased if you can clearly spell out objectives for the group experience and potential group content during planning sessions. The clearer expectations and plans, the less likelihood there will be later that administrators may directly or indirect-