Possible Contraindications

It is important to pay attention to the stage of group development both when creating bridges in the group and in working with scapegoating. In an early group where anger, conflict, or other negative affect exists, unless you are attempting to bridge group members together in shared anger directed toward the leader, it is best to work directly with the negative affect and draw it toward yourself as leader. Members in a young group may not have the separation and autonomy from the group leader to support another member if it is perceived as emotionally risky.

A member of a new group who is setting himself or herself up as a potential scapegoat will certainly need an intervention by the leader to avoid being ostracized by the group. In an early stage of group development, this intervention will be most useful for the group if it is direct, and between the leader and the group, to limit the projections rather than exploring the collusive relationship within the group.

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