Interventional Goal And Technique

The goal of this intervention is quite simple in theory. The group therapist wants to keep the group members actively in the "present" disclosing their relationships to one another, their relationship to the person of the group therapist, and the relationship they are having with themselves in a particular moment in time-the "present" (Bernard & MacKenzie, 1994; Carroll & Wiggins, 1997; Fehr, 2003; Rutan & Stone, 1993). The group therapist does this by theoretically altering time. He or she brings the client from existing in either the past or the future into the "now" by creating interpersonal relationships thus providing opportunities for clients to become aware of their interpersonal style and relatedness, which is often the source of their interpersonal difficulties.

Although keeping the group in the "present," sounds rather simple, in actuality it is not. As previously stated, keeping the group-as-a-whole and group members in the moment can be, at times, a daunting task. Ormont (1992) suggested a rather simple tool, a question, labeled "bridging." This technique creates a bridge between the clients in group by asking them direct questions such as:

• "How do you feel about what John has said or John how do you feel about what Mary had said to you concerning your disclosure?"

• "Steve, how do you feel when Sally appears disgusted whenever one of the men speaks about his relationship with women?"

All of these questions are in the "present" and will bring the client, to whom they are directed, into the present with his or her response.

"Remember Be Here Now"

These are direct questions to the client and the goal is for the client to be equally direct, at that moment, in his or her response.

Group-as-a-whole questions can be asked, such as:

• "How does the group feel each time Nico walks in late?"

• "Nico how do you feel toward the group each time you walk in late?"

There is no end to the many questions that can be directly asked to the individual group members or to the group-as-a-whole. It is very important that the client(s) do not answer you directly unless the question is about yourself. The meaning of this is that you feel there is something unspoken from the client to you and you inquire into what that may be.

If the question is not in relation to you, you want the client to directly express his or her answer to the object of the question such as:

• "Steve how do you feel about Gary?" Gary in this case is the object of the question posed. Very often clients, due to their anxiety, will begin to answer your question directly to you. This type of response will remain as such until they become more comfortable adapting to this focused type of relatedness. They, too, will have the opportunity of experiencing that they will not "fall apart" when speaking directly to another person and neither will the other person "fall apart."

This is a tremendous growth for the majority of clients who have rendered themselves passive to others throughout most of their lives and never truly expressed what they felt and thought about another individual.

Until the client becomes more comfortable speaking directly to others, you will probably repeat this phrase many times over and that is "please tell the other person." In the above case the other person is Gary and you would, of course, use the person's name.

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