Step 3

If beginning a new group, consider informing potential members that one of the tasks of group will be recognizing and exploring how sociopolitical realities are reflected in group and affect group process and attainment of therapeutic goals. If this is an existing group, consider introducing this idea as something worth exploring together as a group from this point forward.

Step 4

Develop a framework or template for recognizing instances of power, oppression, competition of resources (e.g., the leader's attention), etc., in the group process. For example, ask yourself the following types of questions: "How is the group process reflecting injustices (or oppression, etc.) in our society?" "How may this conflict between members reflect sociopolitical conflicts and tensions?" "How am I as leader a symbol (or actual source) of oppression and how might this be influencing the process?" "Whose voice is being silenced and who is doing the silencing (e.g., the leader, the group, particular members)?" "Who is being privileged by the group and why?"

Step 5

Recognize and illuminate positive ways the group shares power, gives voice, recognizes oppression, and takes action to eradicate it in their personal and social settings.

Step 6

Consider first identifying your own actions as contributing to injustice, unearned privilege, or oppression in group when it occurs. This may help alleviate fears about this process and prevent the group from going on a "witch hunt." However, if a witch hunt or active censoring ensues it is another instance of how oppression dehumanizes and creates conflict (Freire, 1970/1995). Thus, this kind of experience is grist for the mill of group discussion and exploration.

Caution: Leaders may become a scapegoat in the group for initiating this type of discourse. Be open to criticism, be willing to hold these types of accusations, and actively explore any reactions members may have. Demonstrate your willingness to engage actively in searching out your own contributions to injustice and oppression. Emphasize for the group that no one is immune and that you are fellow sojourners when it comes to eradicating oppression from our personal lives and society.

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