Strengths and Weakness as a Therapy Group Leader
Strengths and Weakness as a Therapy Group Leader
One of the fundamental choices facing each group therapy leader is whether leadership will be done as an individual or partnership. Each approach offers advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of individual leadership might be that you often make many of the decisions regarding the facilitation of the therapy group and its membership. For example, you decide on the size, member selection, length, theme, treatment goals, fees/insurance, and leadership style. In addition, as the therapy proceeds, you likely will continue to be the primary decision-maker in the group.
A disadvantage of individual group leadership might be collusion by the therapy group against you if the members disagree with your approach. Some group members may have issues with authority or can be resistant to treatment. In such cases, the group members can act out toward you. As an individual group leader, you might not have others to rely on to help you through such situations.
Co-leadership offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Group therapy sessions can be longer than individual sessions, sometimes lasting 90 minutes or even two hours, as opposed to 45-50 minutes for the average individual session. In a larger therapy group, such as eight to 12 people, there can be a lot to attend to. Thus, group co-leaders can divide up the work. For example, the focus might be on two or three group members. One group leader can help facilitate the process with those two to three group members while the co-leader observes what is happening in the rest of the group. Therapy group co-leaders can be a lot like parental figures. The co-leaders can work together to demonstrate a healthy relationship, and this can be an effective source of modeling for clients who might not have much experience with healthy relationships. Further, co-leaders can demonstrate other relationship skills, such as how to resolve conflict. Finally, if one co-leader is absent, the therapy group can still meet.
A disadvantage of group co-leadership is that it is based on a relationship. As such, it may suffer from basic relationship problems. What if you don’t like your co-leader? What if you or your co-leader have some dysfunctional behaviors? In such cases, these problems can come out in therapy and become the focus of the therapy group rather than issues of the members.
For this Discussion, review the week’s Learning Resources and complete the media titled “Leadership Styles Quiz.” With your quiz results in mind, consider the strengths and weaknesses you might have as a group therapy leader. Think about the challenges you might experience when working with a co-leader and how you might overcome these challenges.
With these thoughts in mind:
a brief summary of your strengths and weaknesses as a group therapy leader. Then, explain how two aspects of your personality might present challenges when working with a co-leader. Finally, explain how you might address these challenges. Be specific and use the Learning Resources and current literature to support your response.
Types of Leadership and Patterns of Management
The following 18 statements are about leadership styles or patterns of organization. Think of a therapy group with which you are familiar or an “ideal” type of therapy group you would like to work with. Then, note each statement that represents the types of leadership or patterns within the therapy group you selected. Choose ALL statements that represent the types of leadership or patterns of organization you selected.
1. The group leader’s main focus is on people. He or she motivates, provides incentives, delegates authority, empowers, consults, and involves others.
2. Emphasis on the roles of planning, coordination, administrative communication, budgeting, and decision making.
3. Leadership style is authoritative, centralized; no delegation of authority and no involvement of group members in decision making.
4. Tight control and supervision, closely linked to processes and outcomes.
5. The group leader does not tolerate deviations from the rules and processes that regulate the therapy group. Very low tolerance for ambiguity.
6. Group leader’s behavior focuses on achieving group’s goals and attaining legitimation from the external environment.
7. The group leader motivates group members to seek self-fulfillment, sets challenging goals, and encourages self development.
8. Group leader is task oriented, without considering the human factor. The human factor is a means to achieve his/her goals.
9. Decision-making and problem-solving processes are based on the group leader’s formal authority.
10. Emphasis on achieving group’s goals, taking the therapy group’s structure and internal procedures into account.
11. Efforts focused on selecting, developing, building, and guiding the group members to achieve the goals of the therapy group.
© Laureate Education 2012
12. Emphasis on division of labor and roles, including decision making and enrichment.
13. Leadership style is authoritative, centralized, directive, and focused on achieving the therapy group’s goals.
14. The group leader utilizes tools, mechanisms, methods, and technologies for problem solving and conflict resolution.
15. Emphasis on managing the external environment, reducing member’s dependency on agents in the environment, and increasing member’s control over their environment.
16. Considerable investment in developing resources, training, and preparing members to cope with constraints imposed by the external environment.
17. The group leader and administrative staff engage in alliances and coalitions with various elements outside the therapy group. Emphasis on reducing the impact of outside pressures; screening the environment to identify opportunities, risks, and threats.
18. Emphasis on the importance and contribution of the human factor, invest in developing the functional maturity of the group members in order to allow for improved interactions with the external environment.
Results will be mapped into four quadrants:
1) Task Oriented— Internal 2) Task Oriented — External, 3) People Oriented — Internal 4) People Oriented — External
Each of the 18 statements above belongs in one of these quadrants. The quadrant that contains the most statements that you selected is the style that best represents you as a leader. As you look over your results, remember that leadership is a continuum. Very few individuals fall under a single category (i.e., only Task Oriented — Internal). Instead, most individuals show leadership characteristics that overlap several different aspects
© Laureate Education 2012
(i.e., predominantly Task Oriented — Internal with lesser tendencies toward Task Oriented — External and People Oriented — Internal). Also, there might be times when a leader deliberately shifts between leadership styles based on the situation or the stage of the therapy group. With your results in mind, complete the Week 3 Discussion Assignment.
Task Oriented — Internal: Statements # 2, 4, 5, 10, and 13
Task Oriented — External: Statements # 3, 6, 8, and 9
People Oriented — Internal: Statements # 1, 7, 11, 12, and 14
People Oriented — External: Statements # 15, 16, 17, and 18
Task Oriented Task oriented leaders see themselves as the master organizer and driver for the therapy group. It is their responsibility to “get the job done.” They actively manage aspects of the therapy group, including defining tasks, assigning roles, creating structure, planning, and organizing. The task oriented leader’s focus on completing the task risks overlooking the impact their policies have on therapy group members.
People Oriented People oriented leaders see themselves as caretakers of the therapy group. It is their responsibility to provide support to the therapy group members. They focus their energy on motivating, supporting, and developing the people in the therapy group. People oriented leaders often encourage a participatory approach to group therapy, while placing less emphasis on processes or goals.
External An external approach places importance on the external environment and its impact on therapy group members. Decisions are often made in response to factors that occur outside of the therapy group.
Internal An internal approach places importance on the therapy group’s environment over the “outside world.” Decisions are often made in response to immediate group needs rather than based on factors outside of the therapy group. Strengths and Weakness as a Therapy Group Leader