Some of the resistive behavior that I would find most problematic in one of my groups is silence and non-participation displayed by one or some of the group members. This is because most members of group consultations are not willing to open up during the first few sessions of the group. Silence might be caused by the fear in some of the group members in talking about their problems in the presence of strangers. This fear is usually out of anxiety about how the group and group leader would react to their problems. There are cases when the group member is not prepared for or they are confused so they choose to be silent (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009).
Some members also become silent after a group activity because they are thinking and reflecting about their problems. Although this is very rare, there are naturally quiet group members. They probably grew up listening more than speaking and are therefore not in the habit of saying much (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). Other group members are silent because they are not mentally present as they might be thinking about their families or other worries. Some silent group members feel intimidated by the dominating group members and sometimes by the group leader.
As a group leader, I would try to draw out silent group members so that they can realize who they are. However, I would be careful not to make the particular member feel like am picking on him or her. I would use drawing-out sentences such as “you seem to be reacting to something. Would you like to share your thoughts?” (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). This would help them to overcome their silence issues and possibly say more in the group. I would allow silent members a few minutes to talk about what is on their minds so that they can focus more on the group. I would incorporate motivational activities like interactive games and warm up sessions in the group to enhance their participation.
There are skills that group leaders need to acquire in order to deal with challenging situations in groups. Listening to all the members of the group by observing their non-verbal gestures like facial expressions. A good group leader ensures that group members clarify their statements for the sake of the rest of the group members. Clarification can be done through questioning and restating. Members do nota always remember everything from the session so it is paramount the group leader summarizes after every session. Group leaders must have adequate information about the group and its purposes and they have to share this information with the members of their groups (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009).
A group leader must provide encouragement and support to each member of the group, as this will help the members deal with the feeling of sharing their feelings and problems with the others. This encouragement has to be reliable and genuine and the voice has to be warm and pleasant. Every group leader needs to set the tone before every group session to avoid dullness and boredom. The group has to be relaxed and supportive for best results. Group leaders must learn to use their eyes to collect information from the group members. The leader can use his voice to set the tone of the group and to energize the group (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). These skills can only be developed if they are constantly put into practice by the group leaders. The more the group leader uses these skills, the more his or her groups will continue to prosper and produce positive results.
Jacobs, E. E., Masson, R. L., & Harvill, R. L. (2009). Group counseling: Strategies and skills. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole. Print.