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Introducing social work: a starter kit
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4.3 Group leaders need group ‘skills’

This is a photograph of a group of people in a therapy session.
Figure 16

Some people seem naturally and intuitively to have well developed personal and interactional skills that are effective in groups. However, these skills can be learned in a structured way and improved upon, and they are essential in helping individuals maximise their group experiences and for protecting others who for periods of time may be vulnerable in the group context. Doel and Sawdon (1999) suggest that group skills and interactional techniques for leading groups include:

  • attending to individuals and responding to feelings
  • seeking information, and when required giving information
  • negotiating, re-negotiating, and reinforcing the group agreement
  • gatekeeping the boundaries and expectations of the group
  • focusing the group to keep on task when necessary
  • modelling appropriate behaviour, responses, and group membership
  • rewarding individuals, if appropriate and when required
  • confronting, challenging, and mediating
  • summarising activity and group progress
  • ending.