Effective Groupwork by Michael Preston-Shoot (auth.)

By Michael Preston-Shoot (auth.)

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Whatever is negotiated and planned as a result of offering the group will need to be re-examined once the group has begun since expectations of the group and the reality may differ and since it is only in the first meetings that the extent of a consensus about the group will emerge clearly. In other words, the actual experience of the group may require alterations to be made. The final contract with the group and individual members will emerge only after several sessions of the group. When a contract is concluded, it should include: - why members were referred basic rules for the group details about the structure and purpose of the group statements of the objectives, expectations and responsibilities of members and leaders.

However, the advantages are security and boundaries for members and the ability to plan time after the group. This decision should be based on what is likely to promote the group's work. Two other questions arise here. First, how is the time Planning the Group 43 available to be structured? Is the session to be sub-divided, a technique especially useful in children's groups where their concentration on one task is limited? Again, the structure should be determined by the resources which members bring to the group and the objectives being pursued.

What is discussed will depend on the purpose of the group. For instance, in a group where personal difficulties might be shared, it is important to assess how willing prospective members are to share their thoughts and feelings with others. Information given in the referral form provides a useful beginning for exploring members' expectations of the group and whether the leaders and potential members are out of step or share sufficient common ground. It provides too an opportunity for developing what members would like the group to do for them and for clarifying their difficulties, concerns and strengths.

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