Client Responses

When initially presenting the task to the group, the members tended to flood the leaders with questions about how to complete the task. Withholding specific answers caused a certain degree of stress, but after a couple of minutes the group understood the idea and started working. In our case the task led to a heated debate between a few of the members. Some took very active roles, others seemed not to be able to find their own voice unless asked directly by another group member, and quite a few negotiations took place that allowed the group to reach a final ranking. The fact that the task invoked passionate participation led to a lively discussion and perhaps also increased the motivation to learn about negotiation skills in the following session.


What seems to be most effective about this activity is that it can be tailored to a variety of settings and goals. Its strength lies in its ability to encourage the manifestations of specific behavioral skills and patterns in a psychologically safe environment thus eliciting behaviors and disclosures in what seems to be a natural manner of expression. Although this exercise was administered only once due to its recent inception, the feedback from the participants, as well as from the therapists working with individual group members, was exceptionally positive and very reinforcing.

As of this date, there seems to be no evidence of possible contraindications. It is not a frightening task for the clients but the therapist must be cognizant that the more active and verbal members may take over the entire discussion in the group. The therapist needs to help and encourage the more silent members to find their own voices if the other group members do not elicit that response from the nonverbal client. It too is suggested that the introduction of this exercise be implemented after the group enters into a viable working phase, where members are willing to try new group experiences.


Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Higher Education. Retrieved May 6, 2007, from .pdf.

Fieldong, J.M. (1983). Verbal participation and group therapy outcome. British

Journal of Psychiatiy, 142, 524-528. Finch, B. E. & Wallace, C. J. (1977). Successful interpersonal skills training with schizophrenic inpatients. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 45, 885890.

Mueser, K. T„ Levine, S„ Bellack, A, S. & Douglas, M.S. (1990). Skills training for acute psychiatric inpatients. Hospital & Community Psychiatiy, 41(11), 12491251.

Powell, M„ Illovsky, M„ O'Leary, W. & Gazda, G. M. (1988). Life-skills training with hospitalized psychiatric patients. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 38, 109-117.

Zappe, C. (1987). Assertive training. Journal of psychosocial nursing and mental health services, 25(8), 23-26.

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