Copyright ©1999 All
Commercial use of this material is prohibited .
By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
-W. H. Auden
This booklet explains what Experiential Group Therapy is, how it compliments the work of
Recovery, and the impact it can have on your emotional and spiritual development. The
information contained in this booklet has evolved out of my thirteen years of research and
clinical practice with people in Recovery for Chemical Dependency, ACOA, Co-dependency,
Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Eating Disorder, and Sexual Addiction. I developed my
Experiential Group Therapy program from thirteen years of working with people who wanted
to expand and enrich their Recovery, get beyond the limits created by the vicious cycle of
self-sabotage behavior, crisis oriented living, fear of intimacy, interpersonal mistrust,
emotional paralysis, procrastination, and unfulfilled personal and professional potential.
You know as well as I do that the emotional consequences of your self-imposed
interpersonal prison is despair, loneliness, depression, anxiety, addiction, anger, and
shame. But be encouraged, thousands of people in Recovery have benefited from the programs
that Ive developed. Theyve discovered how to heal the relationship that they
have with their Self, transform the relationships they have with the people in
their life, and developed a significant relationship with their higher power. I appreciate
your interest in my programs and I hope that this information in some way inspires you to
take the most important first step of your life.
Experiential Group Therapy:
An Essential Facilitator of
Healing and Personal Growth
Experiential Group Therapy is a uniquely powerful growth process that facilitates personal
growth and healing. Experiential Group Therapy helps to alleviate feelings of alienation,
isolation, despair, and hopelessness. Experiential Group Therapy fosters a unique
experience that will afford you the opportunity to achieve a better understanding of who
you are, how other people experience who you are, the interpersonal strengths that you
possess and how well you utilize those strengths, and the interpersonal blindspots and how
you perpetuate patterns of behavior that tend to sabotage your interpersonal goals. Listed
below are a number of developmental tasks that you will negotiate in Experiential Group
Therapy. Experiential Group Therapy powerfully facilitates an experience which will
support your efforts:
to learn who you are in the context of an interpersonal situation-how you think, feel, and
act in characteristic interpersonal situations and how others characteristically
think, feel, and act toward you.
2) to learn how to trust yourself and others.
to foster self-knowledge and the development of a unique sense of identity that will allow
you to feel whole, empowered, and worthwhile.
4) to reduce the sense of shame and isolation that you feel by learning from others that
you are not the only one in this world that feels the way that you feel.
5) to reduce shame through the development of self-acceptance, self-confidence, and
self-respect in order to redefine how you think about yourself.
6) to alleviate the chaos and turmoil in your life by learning alternative ways of
resolving normal developmental challenges and conflicts.
7) to create the type of life youve always wished for yourself through increased
self-direction, autonomy, and responsibility toward yourself and the people in your life.
to exercise a new sense of personal power through acquiring the awareness of ones
choices, and to make those choices wisely.
to learn more effective social skills.
to develop the ability to be supportive of others and thus receive more emotional support
in your life through the ability to be more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
to make specific plans for changing certain behaviors and to commit oneself to follow
through with these plans.
to learn how to confront others with care, concern, honesty, and directness.
to develop your own life by moving away from merely meeting others expectations and
to learn to live by your own expectations.
to discover your own genuine self through the development of a value system based upon who
you are and will continue to become.
Objectives of Experiential Group Therapy
A good personal growth program is built with a clear conception of goals. This
program has five long-term growth objectives. These objectives are:
change of a specific problem behavior, such as poor interpersonal skills.
insight or a clear rational and emotional understanding of your strengths and problems.
change in your subjective emotional comfort, including changes in anxiety or tension.
change in your self-perception, including goals, self-confidence, and sense of adequacy.
change in your life-style.
as Compared to other Group Therapy Formats
Experiential Group Therapy is uniquely different than the many
different types of groups that exist today. Group therapy exists within the context
of many different formats, focuses, and purposes. Some group formats are designed to
provide peer support by maximizing the
opportunity for an individual to talk and minimizing the interaction of the group members.
Another type of group format focuses on specific topics that seek to provide an educational experience through structured topic
discussions. A third type of group focus is one in which a forum is provided for emotional ventilation by focusing on the war
stories of the group members past. A fourth type is a group that attempts to provide solutions to members life issues by
focusing on a discussion of the life issues and offering advice so as to fix
Experiential Group Therapy differs greatly from the above mentioned group therapy formats.
My Experiential Group Therapy format serves more complex and encompassing goals than those
listed above. The incredible power of Experiential Group Therapy transcends the more one
dimensional aspects of the above mentioned group formats. The purpose of Experiential
Group Therapy is to explore the intrapersonal and interpersonal world of the groups
members. The purpose of this exploration is to identify self-sustaining patterns of
behavior that serve you well, to identify self-defeating patterns of behavior that
perpetuate cycles of self-sabotage, and to alleviate the pain and suffering associated
with these self-defeating patterns. Participation in this process will allow you to
develop a more healthy life style based upon emotional honesty with yourself and others, a
deeper understanding of who you are, a deeper understanding of your behavioral choices and
the hidden goals that they serve, and finally self-responsibility for getting your needs
Experiential Group Therapy is a powerful agent of change
because it is an ACTIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE. The unique dynamics of group therapy combine
to help the motivated individual transcend the attitudes, beliefs, and rigid patterns of
behavior established over a lifetime. The mutual support of the other group members
provides you with a sense of safety and belonging that allows you to take risks and grow
as a result of your new risk taking behaviors. The lifting of depression and anxiety
associated with isolation and alienation results from the sense of belonging developed in
the group. Despair and hopelessness diminish as you share in the growth and development of
other group members. Passive learning through reading and thinking are replaced by active
experiential learning. Active experiential learning facilitates a learning experience that
allows the you to incorporate new ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving into your new
The Benefits Of Experiential Group
will be able to use Experiential Group Therapy to make new choices about old patterns of
behavior that are no longer working as well for you and reinforce those patterns of
behavior that are allowing you to get your needs met. Out of these new choices, you can
expect to develop a lifestyle that is congruent with the goals that you have established
for yourself. Emotional intimacy, professional development, and a higher sense of purpose
are easily obtainable once you master a few of the rudimentary goals mentioned.
How Experiential Group Therapy
Facilitates The Achievement of
Your Personal Growth Goals
Experiential Group Therapy fosters the achievement of these
goals in the following ways:
by providing an opportunity for you to develop a deeper understanding of who you are
as an individual and as a participant in a larger interpersonal context.
2.) by providing you the opportunity to acquire an awareness of your level of competence
in interpersonal skills.
3.) by providing you the opportunity to acquire and develop fundamental interpersonal
4.) by providing you the opportunity to change the way you act interpersonally in ways
that you consider important for yourself (including shedding those patterns that are
self-defeating and developing more self-supporting behavior).
by providing you with feedback from other group members. This component is essential for
change because feedback is an important AGENT OF CHANGE.
The Basic Agents of Change
Contained Within The Group Process:
Social Microcosm, Experiential Learning,
The Here-and-Now, and Exploration
of Your Interpersonal World
The group process exists as its own social microcosm. This dynamic is crucial to the
facilitation of healing and growth for the group members. Within the context of this
social microcosm, you will experience and manifest interpersonal relationships
similar to those that you experience in your everyday life. Given enough time, every
group member will begin to be himself/herself. Group members will interact with each other
the way they do in their own social sphere. Thus, you will get to experience first hand
those interpersonal patterns of behavior that support your personal growth and those
interpersonal patterns that sabotage your personal growth. The corrective experience of
having a safe place to make those choices can not be overstated in its therapeutic
The next two dynamics of Experiential Group Therapy that enhance its powerfulness is the
emphasis of EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING provided through an exclusive focus on the
HERE-AND-NOW. The premise of this powerful agent of change is that the past is gone and
the future has not yet arrived. Most people distance themselves from the here-and-now
present. Rumination about the past or engaging in endless plans and resolutions for the
future are examples of how this is accomplished. Because Experiential Group Therapy is an
experiential process, not a verbal or interpretive process, the group members are
encouraged to make contact with each other and their experience in the immediacy of the
the focus is on what you experience in the here-and-now and the blocks that you must
overcome to achieve full awareness of the here-and-now, you will be challenged to risk
more and more. You will be challenged to learn how you create emotional intimacy, to learn
how you avoid emotional intimacy, interpersonal connectiveness, and taking responsibility
for getting your needs met. An important part of your learning experience will be to
develop and utilize your internal resources as opposed to relying solely on your external
world for support, comfort, and responsibility for your well-being.
healing process emerges out of the context of your ability to live in the
here-and-now. The ability to separate the here-and-now from the there-and-then for
yourself is a crucial part of the process of healing. As you become more adept at living
in the here-and-now and acquiring a clearer perception of the blocks and conflicts
involved that have removed you from the here-and-now, significant unfinished business
emerges. The underlying assumption of the Experiential Group Therapy is that the way to
become an autonomous person is to identify and deal with this unfinished business from the
past that interferes with your current functioning. By reexperiencing past conflicts as if
they were occurring in the present, you will be able to expand your level of awareness,
sometimes gradually and sometimes explosively, and thereby be able to face, recognize, and
integrate denied and fragmented parts of yourself, thus becoming unified and whole.
The fourth agent of change is the EXPLORATION OF THE
INTERPERSONAL WORLD of the group members. This dimension is crucial to your growth
process. The following list enumerates the reasons that this dimension is explored:
1) you are by nature a social individual who is relational and longs for a place of
interpersonal belonging and safety, validation, acceptance, importance, and well-being
characterized by being able to get ones emotional needs met in a relationship.
2.) who you are as an individual is the relatively enduring pattern of
interpersonal situations which characterize your life.
3.) emotional intimacy is a pivotal criterion of emotional and psychological well-being.
The ability to achieve and maintain emotional closeness with others is a uniquely
important index of emotional wellness.
4) interpersonal avoidance is central to psychological dysfunction.
Avoidance of whatever triggers off unpleasant emotions may not be the origin of all
emotional turmoil and dysfunction but it certainly
seems to perpetuate a large amount of emotional pain and loneliness.
5) unhealthy behavior is the consequence of self-defeating patterns in interpersonal
relationships that are motivated by fear, self-protection, control, and avoidance. These
patterns are characterized by turmoil, chaos, blame, shame, addiction, and fear.
6) unhealthy relationships are a product of disordered interpersonal
behavior and the blending of the there-and-then with the here-and-now.
7) avoidance of the here-and-now perpetuates a life of loneliness, depression, anxiety,
obsessional/ addictive behavior, emotional avoidance or numbness, confusion, and
separation from your genuine-self.
8) the issues of the group process, while unique to the group, in many ways mirror the
issues that are currently being experienced by you in your life.
who you are in the group is no different than who you are elsewhere. Because of this
you will recreate in the group experience everything that you have created
elsewhere in your life; in the most distant past being your childhood and the most recent
past being your adult life.
Examples of How Experiential Group
Therapy Therapy Works
The following poem by Portia Nelson is an excellent metaphor for how Experiential Group
Therapy facilitates change.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am hopeless.
It isnt my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I dont see it.
I fall in again.
I cant believe I am in the same
isnt my fault.
It still takes a long time to get
walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... its a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I
It is my fault
I get out immediately.
walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
Experiential Group Therapy facilitates an experience much like the poem above. You will
experience all the familiar holes that you fall into in your life in the group. You will
be constantly challenged by your participation to learn about those holes and how it is
that you wind up back in them. Through your interpersonal learning, you will develop other
strategies to not make the hole, not fall into the hole, be able to walk around the hole,
and ultimately walk down another street.
The following short story provides a second way of understanding how Experiential Group
Therapy can effect powerful and long-lasting changes in your life.
One morning, Eve decided it was time to clean her fishbowl. Unable to find a container in
which to put her two fish, Yin and Yang, while the bowl was being cleaned, Eve let about
two inches of water into her bathtub, and lovingly placed the little creatures there. When
she finished scrubbing the bowl and putting the ceramic deep-sea diver in a new position,
Eve returned to find Yin and Yang engaged in a very thought provoking behavior: the two
fish were swimming around in one little corner of the bathtub, in a circle no bigger than
In many ways, we humans are like the fish. We develop patterns, our habits, and our taught
lifestyles (which we have adopted from families and friends), and then, when we have the
chance to go beyond them to discover a new and freer dimension, we prefer to remain in our
tiny corner of the world, though it offers us little joy, a lot of anxiety, and no
Experiential Group Therapy is very much like the story of the two fish. The group is very
much like the bathtub. It allows you to live in an expanded environment that takes you
beyond the confines of your rigid habits, attitudes, values, and beliefs about yourself
and others. It allows you to observe yourself firsthand how you either restrict yourself
to old ways in a new environment or how you take risks and discover a bigger interpersonal
world for yourself.
Growth Areas Activated By
Experiential Group Therapy
Awareness is facilitated by participation in the group process. Awareness is the process
of recognizing what one is thinking about and what one is feeling, sensing, and doing.
Awareness should not be confused with introspection or insight. Self-awareness is
facilitated by you expressing yourself in the group. Expressing your own unique feelings
and your subjective views of the world is done largely through verbal and non-verbal
behavioral communication. The focus is on the here-and-now-so that you can become
increasingly aware of the unknown dimensions of your behaviors, emotions, and
thoughts. Responsibility and self-determination is another dimension of development
facilitated by the group process. Self-determination means that you are free to choose
among alternatives. Implied in this freedom of choice is the idea of self-responsibility
for directing your life and the capacity to shape your destiny. A primary tension of the
group experience is being confronted with having to constantly choose the kind of person
you want to become and then behaving in such a manner.
A third dimension of development facilitated by the group process is the continued
discovery of meaning and the development of a new value system. Discarding old values
without finding new and more suitable ones to replace them is a concern that many group
members share. Some people live by a value system that they have never challenged and that
was handed down to them and merely incorporated. Thus, an important part of the group
experience is that you will be confronted by your life choices and the values that these
choices are predicated upon. You may not be responsible for having acquired values that
dont support your life choices today, but the group process certainly
challenges you to choose for the first time perhaps, your own values that support your
life choices for today.Authenticity is an important developmental aspect that serves your
personal growth. Being authentic means doing whatever is necessary to define and affirm
yourself. By leading an authentic life, you will be better able to become the individual
that you are capable of becoming. Authenticity is surrendered by giving up the quest for
self-identification, by submerging ones identity into a relationship, and by
allowing others to determine who and what you will become. This type of individual is
finely tuned to what others expect of him/her. The group experience challenges you to step
out of that trap and develop a sense of personal empowerment.
The Importance of The Development
of Effective Interpersonal Skills
Personal growth and healing is predicated upon the ability of you being able to satisfy
your emotional needs. Interpersonal skills are the tools that you utilize in order to
achieve that end. By developing the ability to express yourself, to respond to others, to
place legitimate demands on others, and to open yourself up to being influenced by others,
these skills help you to satisfy two primary needs. Those needs are safety needs and esteem needs.
Safety needs: this refers to the need that all
individuals have to feel safe in their world. This safety is grounded in the belief that
the individuals world is secure, orderly, dependable, and free from threat.
Esteem needs: the need for both self-respect (for
instance, the kind of self-respect that comes from a sense of interpersonal competence)
and for respect from others.
The ability to satisfy these needs in your interpersonal life will greatly enhance how you
feel about yourself, how you believe others feel about you, and ultimately how safe and
secure you experience your life to be.
From an interpersonal perspective, your self-esteem and fundamental sense of security in
the world are a function of your sense of potential interpersonal relatedness. Conversely,
you experience anxiety when this sense of security or interpersonal relatedness is
threatened. Thus, out of your need for security, you create either healthy functional
relationships that allow for a wide range of choices or an unhealthy dysfunctional range
of behaviors that create rigid self-defeating behaviors. For example, the individual who
anticipates that other people will be aggressive, as a result constantly acts in a
self-protective, aggressive fashion. Another example would be the individual who
anticipates that others are untrustworthy, and as a result is suspicious or has difficulty
trusting other people.
who feel that their lives are working for them the way they want their life to be working
for them tend to come to expect that satisfying interpersonal relationships are reasonably
attainable. This expectation allows you to feel and act in a wide range of ways without
jeopardizing your emotional safety and well-being. Through feeling safe and competent in
your interpersonal world, you are better able to process a wide range of emotions.
This is an important formula for being able to get ones emotional needs met. In
contrast, the individual with rigid expectations of other people and a highly restrictive
sense of how he or she must maintain interpersonal relatedness will be characterized by
rigid, restrictive, stereotypic interpersonal patterns.
I have attempted to explain the philosophy from which I have created Experiential Group
Therapy program that I have developed. I have seen many people use this process as a
springboard for creating the things in their lives that they only dared dream about
before. The participants in these groups have discovered the skills and the essential
parts of who they are to create relationships with people that are caring, nurturing, and
supportive, not destructive, shaming, and blaming. They have been able to develop
relationships that have allowed them to experience new found freedom through empowerment,
autonomy, emotional conncectiveness, and genuineness. The sense of despair, alienation,
fear, loneliness, that brought them into this process has been replaced with hopefulness,
confidence, self-direction, and accomplishment.
I feel certain that the role of my Experiential Group Therapy
program is nothing more than a facilitator of the dormant potential that lies in all the
participants in the program. There is nothing magical about the process, only something
magical about the potential that lies in you. By discovering that potential and activating
it in a safe environment, thousands have benefited from their active participation in my
Experiential Group Therapy. YOU ARE NOT ANY DIFFERENT OR LESS DESERVING OF THE SAME
OUTCOME FOR YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!
look forward to hearing from you and starting our work together.
The Behavioral Contract of
The following is the actual behavioral contract that is used in the six groups. Please
read this carefully as it may help you get a better understanding of the concrete things
that all group members agree to engage in.
you enter this group experience, you contract for a threefold goal.
1. Exploration: You will use your time in the group,
first of all, to examine your own interpersonal style. This process is designed to help
you come to a practical awareness of your characteristic ways of relating to others,
including both your effective styles and your self-defeating styles.
2. Experimentation: You will also use your time to
alter your interpersonal style in ways you deem appropriate. One mode of altering will be
to check out and strengthen basic interpersonal skills. Your work in the group should help
you consolidate and develop your interpersonal strengths while beginning to work at
eliminating or coming to grips with the means by which you self-sabotage your personal
goals and relationships.
3. The Here-And-Now: The focus of the group will be a
very narrow time frame called the here-and-now. This focus is on what is happening to the
individual and the group at the moment. The concentration is on the action and interaction
as it develops in the group. This orientation brings out members feelings and
thoughts that are part of their present awareness and deals with current behavior. It
maintains that what individuals are like in the group is representative of their
personalities and actions outside the group. The basic assumption is that personality is
consistent in human beings and that the group can use what occurs in the group as material
for helping members resolve problems outside the group. The here-and-now provides a common
starting point and is a necessary component of any effort to increase self-knowledge and
improve social adequacy.
The Two Symbiotic
Dimensions of The Here-And-Now
It is vitally important to emphasize that the here-and-now is effective only when the two
symbiotic dimensions, neither of which has any therapeutic power without the other, are
being utilized by group members. If the group is to be effective both parts of the
here-and-now must be utilized by the group. A powerful process of EXPERIENCING without self-examination does not
create learning. Self-examination, through ILLUMINATION
OF THE PROCESS, without a powerful EXPERIENCING, creates a sterile intellectual
exercise that fosters rigidity, stereotyped behavior, and a lack of growth.
1) DIMENSION ONE: EXPERIENCING: The first
dimension is an experiencing one: the members live in the here-and-now; they
develop strong feelings toward the other group members, the therapist, and the group.
These here-and-now feelings become a major subject for the group to explore. The focus is
ahistoric: the immediate events in the group take precedence over events both in the
current life and in the distant past of the members. But the here-and-now focus rapidly
reaches the limits of its usefulness without the second dimension, which is the
illumination of the process.
2) DIMENSION TWO: ILLUMINATION OF THE PROCESS: If the
powerful therapeutic factor of interpersonal learning is to be set into motion, the group
must recognize, examine, and understand the events and the group members reactions to the
events of the group. THE GROUP MUST EXAMINE ITSELF; IT MUST STUDY ITS OWN TRANSACTIONS; IT
MUST TRANSCEND PURE EXPERIENCE AND APPLY ITSELF TO THE INTEGRATION OF THAT EXPERIENCE.
The There-And-Then Versus
What is The Difference?
Little energy is invested in recalling data from any members interpersonal past, and
little time is spent on what takes place outside the group. Perhaps a better way of
putting it is that you can certainly deal with your past or with what is going on outside
the group PROVIDED THAT YOU RELATE THERE-AND-THEN MATERIAL TO WHAT IS HAPPENING
HERE-AND-NOW IN THE GROUP!!!!!!!! For instance, a person might say Whenever my
wife or children make demands on me, I grow silent and tend to spend less time with
them. Now that you people are beginning to place legitimate demands on me, I notice
the same thing happening here; I cant withdraw physically, but I notice that I can
withdraw psychologically. In this instance, a there-and-then concern is related
immediately to what is happening in the group. Since a major part of your work in the
group will be concentrated on establishing and developing relationships with your fellow
group members through the use of self-disclosure, it is only natural that the conversation
revolve around the here-and-now.
Self-disclosure, even when it does not deal with what is happening in the here-and-now,
should in some way be related to the here-and-now. In the group you are trying to
examine and improve your interpersonal style through the process of establishing and
developing relationships with your fellow group members. This process is centered in the
group and its transactions. It is not centered in any primary way in what takes place
outside the group. This does not mean that you may not talk about your life outside the
group. IT DOES MEAN THAT, WHEN YOU DO TALK ABOUT MATTERS FROM THE PAST OR MATTERS OUTSIDE
THE GROUP, YOU SHOULD TAKE PAINS TO RELATE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT TO WHAT IS HAPPENING
WITHIN THE GROUP.
Here are some examples of how there-and-then material can either distract from or relate
effectively to the here-and-now of the group interaction:
UNRELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: My dad and I
dont get along. Hes usually down on my brother, too. It makes living at home
difficult. Sometimes I just feel like getting an apartment on my own.
RELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: Im reacting to you
just the way I do to my dad. He doesnt listen to me; neither do you. I feel like
turning my back on you, just as I feel like getting my own apartment. Youre older,
but I dont think that has anything to do with it.
UNRELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: Im an
alcoholic. I dont think society is fair to an alcoholic. But then society is
threatened by a lot of things. People have to fit in, to do the things everybody else
RELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: I think I trust you
enough to tell you that Im an alcoholic. The reason Im telling you is not to
have you counsel me. I feel that some of you may reject me, but Im hoping you
wont. Since my self-identity is something big on my mind, and since I fear
rejection, I felt I had to bring it up.
UNRELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: I dont
communicate much with my wife and children, but they let me alone.
RELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: I dont
communicate much with my wife and children at home, and Im falling into the same
pattern here-except that you challenge me, whereas they dont. I should begin to
UNRELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: I have many
fears. Im afraid of strong men. Im afraid of those who dont like me.
Im afraid I wont succeed.
RELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE: I have many
fears. For instance, Im afraid of strong men, Bill, and I see you as strong. I fear
rejection, and, Jane, I feel you dont like me. Im afraid of failure, I think
Im making a mess of this group experience. Well, its out in the open now.
If the members of the group get taken up with the there-and-then concerns listed under the
heading UNRELATED SELF-DISCLOSURE, the group will suffer a loss of immediacy. Therapy
groups often deal extensively with such there-and-then concerns; BUT MUTUALITY , NOT PROBLEM SOLVING, IS THE FOCUS OF
THE WORK IN THIS SPECIFIC EXPERIENTIAL GROUP THERAPY
HOW ARE THOSE GOALS TO BE ACHIEVED?
You contract not only for the goals
outlined above but also for a process to help you achieve these goals. These are the
provisions of the contract.
1. Establishing and developing relationships: Your
first-and overriding-means of achieving these goals is to participate actively in the
process of establishing these goals and developing relationships with your fellow-group
members. This process demands that:
In everything you do, throughout your time in the group, you are attempting to establish
and develop a relationship with every other member of your group.
As you move through the process of attempting to establish and develop these
relationships, you observe at first hand your own interpersonal style.
At the same time, you receive feedback from your fellow group members on your style,
including your strengths and your patterns of behavior that sabotage your verbalized
You have the opportunity to experiment with new behavior-that is, to attempt
to alter dimensions of your interpersonal style in order to become, in your own eyes, more
2. The core interpersonal skills: You will develop a
core set of basic interpersonal skills. This preliminary set of skills will include:
a. Self-presentation skills: Included here are the
skills of appropriate self-disclosure, concreteness, and expression of feeling.
b. Response skills: Included here are the skills of
attending and listening, the communication of empathic understanding, and the behavioral
communication of genuineness and respect.
c. Challenge skills: You will develop a set of
advanced skills, including skills of higher-level empathic understanding, confrontation,
and immediacy (direct you-me talk).
d. Group-specific skills: You will develop skills that
allow you to use both self-presentation and response skills in a larger group.
Initiating is more difficult in a group than in one-to-one dialogue.
The phrase establish and develop relationships of some closeness will be used
repeatedly throughout your group experience. In everyday language, establishing a
spending some time with another
doing things with another (talking, sharing)
beginning to feel comfortable in talking about relatively important issues
developing a respect and perhaps a liking for another
caring about, being concerned about another
developing a sense of give-and-take, or mutuality, in sharing
being willing to discuss at least certain problems with another
feeling comfortable with another
being willing to help another (even though you are not there primarily as a
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.