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Stages in the development of a timed group

by Tamir Ashman


Any attempt to describe the development of the life of a group or organization   through distinct stages, reduces and misses the actual group reality. Every group moment is unique, one-time and cannot be reproduced. However, it is important for the group leader to know and be familiar with the universal stages of group development, but be careful not to use them rigidly and decisively.cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3 b-136bad5cf58d_

A group, like an individual, goes through a kind of developmental stages. In fact, in the group reality, a phase does not really begin and does not really end. It is more correct to refer to these stages as a layer or as a state of accumulation, which continues to live throughout the life of the group.

Knowing the stages for a young parent's visit to a drop of milk station can be simulated - knowing the percentile in the baby's growth curve will not change the child's growth rate, but it can instill a sense of security in the parent that the child is developing normally, and if a deviation from this line of development is detected, the parent knows how to direct attention Lev  to a certain developmental difficulty and to provide a more accurate response to his child's development.

Knowing the steps can help the facilitators   in a number of ways:

- Understanding the changing needs of the group at each stage can improve and refine the quality of the facilitator's input.

- Knowing the stages helps to safely overcome situations of resistance or frustration in the group, and helps to improve the facilitator's ability to bear and contain complex situations in the group experience. 

- Understanding the stages can produce a certain sense of order and a sense of control within the sense of chaos, anxiety and uncertainty in the group.

- Understanding the stages allows the facilitator to validate the experience for the participants at the group level.

- Understanding that home can provide a feeling of normality, concern and security among the participants. In this way it is possible to improve the group atmosphere and the ability of the group to remain in the group present, around the main goals for which the group was established.

It is more effective, in my opinion, to refer to the developmental stages of the group, through basic and universal questions that engage the participants at a given moment:

First group phase  (the consolidation phase)- Who are we? And how will we know?

Second stage (separation stage) - am I alone or together? How do we fight?  And who am I in the group?

Third stage (the intimate stage) - how do we hug? And how will we deepen the contact?

Fourth stage (the parting and finishing stage)  - How will we part? And how will we package the experience?

It is important to emphasize that there is no connection between the number of group meetings and the transition in its development stages. A group can stay at a certain stage or certain questions for several sessions, a group can pass a stage in the middle of a session, it can retreat to a previous stage and it can stay at a certain stage throughout its life.

It is important to understand that the questions are universal and found them, I assume, in any group/organizational process, the search _Cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3B-136Bad5c58D_B38D58D after answers that provide participants in relation to the central group question _cc781905-bb314 -31114 F58D_ is a unique and one -time process for any group whatsoever.

Likewise, a group can always return to previous stages or to previous group questions, in order to perform healing in the group past that was created or when the solutions that the group was satisfied with in relation to the central question in the past, no longer satisfy or nourish the participants.

In a somewhat paradoxical formulation, if we understand that there are no structured stages in the development of a group, we have deeply understood the stages approach, because everything is embodied in everything. If we understand that these questions are not looking for absolute answers, they are more temporary solutions or ways of organizing the group in the face of any developmental question, we will understand more deeply the approach of the stages.

In this article, I choose to adopt parts of Mackenzie and Livesley's (1983) stepwise model as a structure. conceptual organizer._cc781905-5cde-3194- I reduced the construction to four stages.


The first stage - 'contact stage' 


"Because we all are, yes we all are
We are all one living human tissue"

(Motti Hamer)

Who we are? How will we get to know each other? How will we get a seat?

The first meeting of the group was created by the agreement of people (at least four) to sit down at a specified place and time in order to achieve a goal on which they agree. The first meeting brings together the group members with a strong basic need to find their way in the uncertain space that opens before them, and in the first minutes of the meeting the participants will wait expectantly for the first instructions from the facilitator, first certainty is created, the facilitator is distinguished and defined in the circle. The aim of the facilitator in the initial phase is   to create an initial 'skin' and 'skeleton' through which the group will be differentiated and defined.

To belong to a group, so that the us is born. The group must be demarcated, there is a need to create a 'fence' and definitions that distinguish between the inside and the outside of the group.  In this initial phase, the facilitator defines the boundaries and goals of the group, and sets initial outlines that will be delimited_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_ the structure. The group separates the facilitator from its ranks, and through the facilitator a common leaning area is created for all group members.

The demarcated structure of the group (the setting) is created by pouring meaning into the particular place, time and space of the group.

At the beginning of the process, the participants experience a feeling of foreignness and uncertainty. Group norms and rules of conduct have not yet been created, the group does not yet know   the moderator and a unique group language has not yet been created. This shared group experience creates in the participants an amplification of the concerns and fears of the unexpected group future. 

The need to belong creates intense emotions, in the first breaths of group life, often, the group retreats to a state of dependence, like my children,   on the leader. And usually, the group will wait for proposals and solutions on the part of the guiding authority for the recognition question. This is a situation in which all participants agree to a hidden premise that the authority's role is to alleviate and solve the group's existential problems.   (assumption of dependency by intelligence). The group seems to retreat into a state of childish dependence on the facilitator, meaning that a large part of the participants will regard the facilitator as someone who can rescue the group from its initial anguish and terror, and provide order and organization in the existing situation. The group will try in various ways to tempt the group leader to lead them 'with a level hand' and will feel great frustration, if the leader chooses  not to feed the dependency needs of the members, in such a case the participants will look for an alternative leader from among the participants or will choose Aware through associative conversations in the group about leaders and authorities outside the group room (prime minister, minister, head of the trend, etc.) who will symbolically replace the frustrating directive.

If the facilitator identifies with the hidden premise, that he must satisfy the participants' dependency needs, and feed the participants' recognition needs, group anxiety will temporarily decrease. If the facilitator chooses to frustrate the participants' needs to depend on him and not to provide answers and exercises to the group's questions regarding the introductions, the participants will desperately seek alternative authorities from among them whose leadership will lead to a reduction in the sense of alienation, loneliness and group anxiety. And simply, the group   will adopt situations and leaders from within the group who will travel to its members to start a process of introduction.

One of the group questions that the group must deal with at the beginning of its journey and for the rest of its life, is the question - how will we take a place in the group as participants? , the members of the group will hold covert and overt decision-making processes in relation to the 'game of speech rules'   and the perception of place in the group.

At the beginning of the life of the group, the common solution to the question of the concept of place  is to talk in "rounds",  often the solution is to create a round_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad 5cf58d_ Group recognition is effective for reducing anxiety in the group In the short term, but it may stifle group instinct and creativity in the long term.  Talking in "circles"  mainly comes to obscure the instinctive competition for a place in the group, it creates an illusion that everyone is equal in the group circle, and that there is a place for everyone. As a facilitator, I usually try to avoid proposing this solution on my own initiative.   But I treat this group solution with equanimity, knowing and hoping that this is a temporary and local solution to the question of how will we get to know each other? How will we take a place in the group?

Another common answer to the first recognition question is speaking in generalizations, the participants seem to create a distinct group identity through mechanisms of generalization and universality. As the group members choose to play a social game whose purpose is to find the common ground between the members. The group is captive to an illusion, that if we understand how we are related and similar to each other, it will be more pleasant, safe and clear in the group.  The individual uniqueness seems to be sacrificed for the sake of the collective. The goal of the participant at this stage is to become part of a group and not remain isolated and alienated (herd principle).  One of the basic assumptions of group work is that the group is a kind of emotional and creative 'amplifier' for the participants. At the beginning of its journey, the group deepens and increases the sense of foreignness, detachment, anxiety   and the lack of belonging of the participants   which leads to _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-13 6bad5cf58d_The members of the group look for anything that will reduce the feelings The increased, one of the effective solutions for this situation, is 'consolation  in the herd',  created through  Superficial initial contact in the group. Any member who distracts the group to chat, or any other active suggestion will be received with sympathy among the participants.

The coalescing phase is important for the continuation of the group's life in the future, the group develops and learns about mechanisms for regulating group and personal tensions and anxieties.  the main ones are: dependence/leaning on the facilitator, mechanisms for interpersonal inclusion and finding the imagination between the participants,  blurring and suppression of emotional experience, _cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_and the construction and exposure control the self in the group.   The leadership you will choose within the group in the first stage is a decisive and organizing charismatic leadership.  

Another common solution to the introduction question of the first stage - listening based on giving advice and asking for advice. The group seems to be trying to create meaning and reasons for its existence through the search for quick solutions to complicated problems expressed by the group members. This temporary solution  relieves a little of the feeling of chaos and confusion in the room and creates the illusion that the group has a direction of ability and hope.  

Feelings of excitement, anxiety, alienation, hostility, fear, ambiguity, loneliness, disconnection, loss of way, search for goals, embarrassment, worries, doubt, are characteristic of the first stage, and the facilitator is advised to welcome them.

The facilitator's ability to flexibly regulate and manage the levels of control over what is happening in the group has a profound effect on the continued development of the group. When the facilitator chooses in the early stages of the group's life to frustrate the group members   by refusing to control and manage the content and the processes of taking place in the group, this leadership will raise the level of group anxiety, which may create an emotional withdrawal of the participants _cc781905- 5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_which will lead to more instinctive and spontaneous reactions of the participants (refers to and is effective mainly for therapeutic groups).   and on the other hand when the facilitator will manage and control 'with a level hand' at the beginning of the group's life in what is happening in the group  - will determine the group activities, transfer knowledge, establish a culture of discussion, define the division of time and perception The place in the group and more, it will thereby reduce the level of group anxiety, the group will be freer on an emotional level to turn to the defined task of the group. (Relates and is effective to task groups) .

The way in which the group leader manages the 'group anxiety faucet' through his ability to regulate and balance the levels of group tension resulting from the frustration and anxiety of the uncertainty,   is one of the most influencing factors on the nature of the group, the group atmosphere and the ability of the group to realize its goals .

The temporary steps and answers that the group seeks  and finds on its way, are significant for shaping the 'spirit of the group' later in its life. 

At this stage, blockages can arise in the development  of the group or inadequate answers in relation to the existential questions, the effective way to understand those blockages in my view is through understanding the central conflict at a given moment in the group discourse. The developmental blocks can be understood as the victory of the group's fear over the group's wish.

Typical blocks for the first phase of the group:

1.       conflicts that arise prematurely – _cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_The lack of inclusion of group members and judgment.

      Sometimes the solution to the question of cohesion will choose a basic assumption of 'escape attack' (intelligence) , the group will secretly choose participants who will create a fight Or a kind of attack of criticism by several participants against one participant (scapegoat) and his attack through criticism, anger, excessive 'therapeutic' and pity of the group in relation to the participant. I often recognize this behavior as a 'pagan' fantasy to raise a kind of human sacrifice from the group tribe ie, the group will coalesce through creating a common enemy from within the group and sacrificing him metaphorically in order to feed the group's needs for cohesion. Or there may be a   group moment in which the sheikh will get excited between two certain subgroups in the group for an aggressive and unrestrained fight that will create an unprotected feeling at the beginning of the group's life.  

2.   Sharing not adjusted to the pace of the group - sometimes certain participants will try to lead to rapid and risky personal exposure   in a way that is not adjusted to the natural pace of development of the group.   Such premature disclosure may create exposure trauma in the group and trust in the group tool will decrease.

3.       Overfeeding or neglect by the supervisor.


The second stage - the stage of separation and differentiation


"What for you is a dream, for me it is horror

What is peace for me is war for you"

(Ehud Banai)

 How will we fight? Who am I in the group?

In the first stage, the communication, finding the similarity between the participants was an effective unifying and consolidating means. In the second stage of the group - the 'separation stage', the search for the common and similar between the participants numbs the senses, tires and numbs the group instinct.

The essence of the group instinct in the stage of separation is to reveal the personal, the subjective, and to separate from the generalized 'group herd'. The group   At this point decided on the question of its own existence,  As the group realizes that it is able to continue to exist, the dust of its birth has settled, and it is now thirsty to break the norms of politeness, _cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_and the blurring of the 'I', which characterized the beginning of the process. 

The unique voice of the participant wants to be heard, and in order to be heard he has to face the difficult reality that is revealed before his eyes - that he is not alone in his desire to make his voice heard,  there are many more like him._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_ and the room begins to feel crowded, and more instinctive interpersonal contacts begin to form.

The group seems to be dealing with a paradoxical situation,   the only one in the group seems to announce 'I exist, I am present in the group' and naturally the participant waits for a response that will provide recognition and confirmation of his presence and unique existence in the group. But instead of this important resonance, he gains the absence of resonance, he feels that his opinions and feelings are canceled out by feelings that are contrary to his experiences. In fact, a situation occurs where all members of the group need recognition for their uniqueness in the group and therefore no one can provide it.

Jessica Benjamin  in her book 'The Chains of Love' was able to formulate something of the essence of the stage - 'The self's desire for complete independence conflicts with the self's need for recognition. This reciprocity, the tension between the expression of the self and the recognition of the other must inevitably be shattered. She is destined to create an unresolvable conflict. The breakdown of this tension creates the mastery.' (Benjamin 2005).

From dealing with the unifier, the group moves to dealing with the differentiator. From preoccupation with acceptance and belonging, the group chooses  to deepen the affiliation through preoccupation   with difference, with activity versus passivity, with control and power. The strong desire of the individual is to make his unique voice heard, and the most effective way to be present is through 'honesty', resistance, or expressing an opinion that differs from that of the other group members. I call the atmosphere at this stage 'as the stage of spreading the peacock's feathers'. There is a strong need to 'show', through creating situations of disagreement, expressing polar and extreme opinions. At this stage there is no room for listening, the group  divides into subgroups or breaks up into individuals for a moment depending on the issues that arise in the group 'here and now'. 

The group tendency splits into a strong need to receive special treatment from the supervisor, on the one hand, and the need to be distinct and different from the participants and yet be accepted by them, on the other hand. At this stage, a dense group reality is created, in which the personal needs of the participant are frustrated. In order to produce distinctness, group members harden and exaggerate their boundaries, attitudes, personal thoughts and the world of subjective emotion.

The 'fragile' personal voice of the only one is currently under constant threat from a presence greater than himself, the participants in group as a whole. The members of the group seem to discover that they are in a 'chamber of mirrors' at an amusement park. And the personal presence loses balance against the feedback, the reverberation, the 'distortions of thinking' from the other participants, which creates an atmosphere of mistrust from the presence of the others in the group. 


At this stage it is unlikely that qualities of listening and empathy will develop in the group. It is important for the facilitator to see this stage as a significant and necessary step that prepares for the continued development of the group and its ability to feel empathy and compassion.         5cf58d_   _cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_       _cc781905-5c de-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_   _cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_      _cc7 81905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

Through the situations and ways of fighting and disputing, the group learns about interpersonal differences and the conflict between different personal needs.

This step helps the group develop mechanisms for resolving conflicts in the group. The members of the group are exposed to anger and aggression between the members. The group leader can use  the group present to deepen the knowledge of the participants regarding how they react to anger and interpersonal aggression, and to learn about  the ways of communication that are more effective in situations of anger, aggression and secrecy daughter Limits.

This step will lead the group members to remember the names of the other group members, develop opinions and attitudes towards the group members, deepen the awareness  about roles and leaderships  in the room, also, this step helps To identify early communication patterns that inhibit group members in interpersonal relationships, which may later help the participants to deepen interpersonal contact.

Another characteristic of this stage is disillusionment with the illusion that the facilitator is omnipotent -   Weaning from the magical thinking towards the facilitator that he sees everything, feels everything, is sensitive to everything. Each of them is the chosen one in the eyes of the supervisor.   It is natural that the process of weaning from the idealization of the supervisor will lead to feelings of anger and aggression towards him. This process is significant for the continued development of the group, as it creates an experience of independence and separation from him. Expressing these feelings in front of the supervisor may reduce the dependent situation that characterized the group at the beginning of the process.

In order to survive this stage, it is important that a beginning of trust is created towards the supervisor. Often the members of the group will experiment with directing hostility towards the facilitator, and only then will they direct the hostility and aggression towards the other members of the group. -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_The most aggressive among them.

Typical feelings of the second stage:

A sense of group rebellion, rapid transitions between moments of control and lack of control, threats of leaving,  criticism of the supervisor, protests and complaints, feeling vulnerable and insulted, insecurity, questioning the meaning of the group, feeling disintegrated, dealing with Anger,   an attack on connections and relationships, and it is recommended that the group leader accept these complex feelings and situations with blessing and equanimity.

The end of the separation phase is characterized  by a deeper sense of cohesion in the group as a distinct social entity. As a result of successful coping at this stage, the group creates primary mechanisms for conflict resolution and means for regulation and emotional/intuitive balance.

Dealing effectively with this stage may lead to the ability to appreciate the diversity that exists in the room. Reduce anxiety from interpersonal stress situations, aggression and conflict. This acceptance of the uniqueness of the group participants leads to the recognition that each participant can play a different and unique role in the group, and the belief of the individual is formed that there is a chance that he too will be accepted, during the process in the group, as a worthy and normal member.


The third stage - the intimate stage

"People make people sick and people make people get well again" 

(Harry Stack Sullivan)

How do we hug? How will we deepen the contact? 

In the advanced stages of the separation process there is a renewed longing for closeness and harmony. When the boundaries of the individual are clear and relatively protected, the participant can risk and reveal his curiosity again towards other group members. The listening returns to the room. The need to crowd the circle of chairs begins to be heard. Group members share together the group history available to them.

The group is able to understand itself more deeply. Interpersonal interactions become more complex and deeper. There is an experience where you can talk about everything. The group uses the knowledge accumulated by the individual, in order to expand personal and group awareness. Conditions of affection are created.

In the intimate stage - the group's ambition is for the criticism or feedback to be perceived as giving and not as an attack. There is a return to issues from the past, but the treatment of these issues is deeper. The group quickly moves from states of peace, relaxation and mutual love, to imbalance,  emptiness,  helplessness and vulnerability.   most of the members  the group  feel belonging, care, and interpersonal concern and there is an appreciation of the uniqueness of each Participant.

The wish of the group in the intimate stage is that the facilitator will become one of the leaders in the group and leave his place as a distinct and unique leader of the group. The quality of relationships with the supervisor   deepens,  transfers and distortions  perception and thinking that served the members in the phase The first ones of the group  Going through a process of disillusionment. The members of the group aspire  to see him as an egalitarian guide, enabling the group to expand and grow and realize the power of its members.

There are ever increasing attempts to create a direct dialogue with him, and unlike the second group phase, mistakes or inaccuracies on the part of the facilitator are treated with patience and acceptance. The large amount of information created from the shared group past,   deepens  the mutual relations between the participants  and the quality of the inter Actions. The members of the group find more meaning  from observing the presence of the individual in the group existence,   and finding the connection between the group and the actual life outside the group.

At this stage the group container as it grows, the group can contain patterns of behavior and ways of communication and difficult experiences of the participants, the level of intelligibility and mutual recognition is high. And the participant, experiences himself understood as 'normal', through his reflection through the eyes of the other group members,   and thus the group members have the opportunity to expand the 'personal space of acceptance'.

The meaning  for an individual at this stage, is not only to experience his acceptance by the group, but also  to feel the power of giving inherent in him. The threat to the individual in the intimate stage is the fear of exploitation, rejection and abandonment. Dangers of the intimate stage My days in the group are in the area of boundaries. The sacrifice  may blur the boundaries of the participants. 

As a result of the process of deepening trust in the group, the participants at this stage are more exposed, and have less control over their personal defense mechanisms, and moments of expansion and growth of the participant in the face of his contraction and vulnerability are present at every moment.        cf58d_

At this stage  the group structure (SETTING) has been internalized by the group participants, and there is no need to invest energy on the part of the facilitator in strictly maintaining the group boundaries.  Group attention is invested in self-awareness, intrapersonal and interpersonal. The group invests less energy in acting out, and more in verbal expression.

The group members feel belonging and care in the group, and the participants appreciate the uniqueness of each participant. The quality of relationships between friends varies. An individual who was reserved and strongly confronted with another friend, may discover in the intimate stage, that his feelings towards that friend have changed. The shared time that is 'forced' on them to live together, expands the limits of acceptance of the individual. .

From the   reality of the survival of the participants in the phase of separation (state of mind of  'either or' - either I exist in a group or you exist in a group) the participants   b- 136bad5cf58d_Moving into a state of mind  of 'both and' -  Both you and I exist in the group and we both have a place in the group circle.  

This step helps the group members to develop and improve  the ability of the participants to listen to the personal desires and needs of the participants and helps the participants to get out of their own egocentric place. At the same time, the group members learn and practice improving their ability to listen to other members of the other and warmth in a cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3B-136Bad5c58D. ; _cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_To live in peace with the internal contradictions, thus expanding the participant's personal space of acceptance (the participant is less critical, alienated, and separated inside and outside). 

The individual in the group goes through a process of expanding his perceptions, from a judgmental point of view in relation to interpersonal existence, to a curious, questioning, less judgmental and expanding point of view.


The fourth stage: separation and termination processes

"What will we do with all our memories?

May they rest in peace. for our benefit"  

(Haim Guri)

 How shall we part? How will we package the group experience?

When a book comes to an end, in the epilogue, what is left for the reader? It remains for him   to summarize the experience, to let the 'inner number' tell the reading experience, was he thrilled and discovered a new country? New people? Did   the reader learn new ways of thinking about a reality that resembled him? Were you fascinated by the reading journey? Were you disappointed? Bored? Feel a sense of foreignness throughout the book?

In timed  groups, the end date of the group is fixed within the SETTING of the group.   At this stage there is an opportunity to perform a separation process. The wish of the participants at the end stage is to finish in an integrative place on a personal, interpersonal level, in front of the authority and in front of the group. 

The goals of the separation process are to help the individual unravel the process he went through in the group, and to leave him with tools to deal with life outside the group. Also, looking at the individual and group goals of the group and examining the way that the group and the individual performed.

At this stage the group mainly has  the past in which you can observe  the achievements achieved and  the achievements_ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ that were not achieved.   The final stage invites a confrontation with what is and what is not in the overall group experience. In the final phase, it is important to encourage the group members to process their feelings about the impending separation.


The feelings that arise with the final phase:

Grief, sadness, anger, rejection, fear of the future, disappointment, relief, despondency, gratitude, disappointment, gratitude, love, a sense of fulfillment and empowerment.

At the end stage, group cohesion is not a process goal, on the contrary, the group should enter into a primal process.

Each participant comes to the group with patterns and patterns that are characteristic of him, regarding how he learned and got used to saying goodbye to situations and moments in his life. The final stage gives a rare opportunity to examine these patterns and patterns of separation.

Typical patterns for a participant's departure at the last meeting:

1. Denial-  "So we'll see you next week, right?".

2. Suppression - "What is today's last meeting?".

3. Escaping - a participant does not come with various excuses, or a detached silence stares at the daylight, or a desire to change the location of the meeting and turn it into a party somewhere else.

4. Rationalization - "Well that's clear, we knew it was ending, what are you doing?"

5. Demonization -   "It was terrible, I didn't get anything here" or a way back to behavior patterns that characterized him at the beginning of the process.

6. Idealization - "It was amazing, everything was just perfect"

 At the parting stage,  the wish of the group members is  to explore and examine _cc781905- 5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_The meaning and presence of each participant as a subject , among the other group members. Also, there is a wish   to go back and process unresolved events from the group past and ventilate blocked areas on an interpersonal level. And it is necessary for the participants to recall and review significant moments that took place in the group. The group atmosphere in the last meeting is reminiscent of the atmosphere in the first meeting, the group returns  to rub shoulders within the confines of the group's premises.

Sometimes, there is a need for the members of the group to create transparency with regard to the private life of the facilitator, and to take a look at the 'behind the scenes' of the facilitator, to ask him personal questions, to know more about his life story, and to hear towards the end the 'real experience' he had during the facilitation of the group. Also, there is often a wish among the participants to receive from the moderator a kind of 'certificate of participation' in which the moderator will tell the participant how he experienced the participant, to receive advice, the moderator's personal opinion. Any 'side by side' given by the instructor to the participant will be gladly accepted.

In conclusion

A group on its journey, going through  a process of development, this fact cannot be argued with. But the attempt to generalize and describe the group's development as a continuous and step-by-step process does produce an understanding of the process and a sense of logic, but it is not precise in its definition, and as Irwin Yalom put it so well - "There are times when the group's development seems linear; at other times the development is cyclical, with the nature of repetition circular or spiral. It is also quite clear that the boundaries between stages are not sharp and clear, and a group does not advance definitively and fully from stage to stage while leaving the previous stages behind."

However, a flexible understanding of the stages or existential questions that occupy the group members greatly helps the facilitator to lead the group, to understand in a deeper way  the group present, to understand more the continuous tension between the content and the process,_cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ to understand the 'relationships' forged in the group in relation to the 'task'  of the group.  

The facilitator's ability to understand the questions that preoccupy the group at a given moment and his ability to guide the group's search process for good enough answers that inform the group's opinion,   helps to distinguish the uniqueness of each participant and help the group realize its goals.

Format for bibliographic citation (APA):

Ashman, T. (2010).Stages in the development of a timed group [electronic version]. Nadela on 24/10/2010, from the website  articles -


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