Helping Group Members with Maladaptive Communication 133 group’s attention. He engages in lengthy descriptions and discussions of his feelings about and reactions to his brother’s death, and he rarely lets the others speak. When others are talking, he frequently interrupts and turns the focus back on himself. You have also noticed that other mem- bers appear to be getting uncomfortable and losing patience with Jack, although no one has said anything to him directly. Jack seems unaware of the other members’ reactions. So far, you have tried subtle ways of manag- ing this dynamic: reminding everyone that no one interrupts when some- one is talking, helping other members to speak up in group, and limiting Jack’s disclosures. These interventions have made no difference. In fact, you sense that the group’s resentment is increasing. b. You have had your first meeting with interested family members of your developmentally challenged clients. There seems to be a core group of 15, who will be active participants. Others have said that they will help out with any actions the group decides to undertake. At your suggestion, a chairperson, a vice chair, and a secretary were selected. Those in atten- dance agreed that they needed to meet several more times to work out a strategy to protest proposed state budget cuts to funding for services to the developmentally challenged and to generate community support for their cause. You agree to attend these meetings as a consultant and facilitator. Three more meetings are scheduled over the next month. Other meetings may be required. The final budget hearing is in seven weeks. You are concerned about the impact on the group of one individual, Sylvia, whose daughter is a client in your program. Sylvia was outspoken throughout the entire first meeting, suggesting one strategy after another and minimizing the ideas of others. She frequently stated that her “suc- cessful marketing career” made her an “expert” in dealing with “people in power.” You sense that Sylvia intimidated some individuals, while others were exasperated and turned off. Sylvia volunteered to be chair. How- ever, another individual, with much more time available, ultimately took on this responsibility. Sylvia made it clear that she feels an obligation to attend all meetings since, unlike others in the group, she “has had experi- ence with this kind of thing before.” c. In your group meeting on the inpatient unit of a psychiatric hospital, you have 12 people in attendance for the daily community meeting. The meetings last 60 minutes. Most members are in the hospital for an acute depressive episode, and almost all of them have a dual diagnosis. Patients range in age from 22 to 48, and there are 8 men and 4 women. Two indi- viduals are new to this group, having just come on the ward. The others have attended this group together for the last three sessions. Three other patients were just discharged. The discussions focus on “getting out” and the fears of some members about staying clean (several other patients in
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