Checking in with the members of the group kicks off the third session. During the check-in, one of the members, Jesse stated: “I am not feeling very good about myself today.”
Group Leader: “Do you want to tell us why you are not feeling good about yourself today?”
Jesse: “Not really.”
Group Leader: “Jesse we are here for you and we want to support you. We can only support you if you are open and honest with us. Tell us what is going on?”
Jesse: “I used meth over the weekend. I put myself in a vulnerable situation and I relapsed.”
Group Leader: “Ok, do you want to share with us what happened?”
Jesse: “I went out on Saturday night with a few of my friends. We ended up at a party and before I knew it, I was high!”
Group Leader: “Does anyone have anything to say to Jesse?”
Jackie: “Jesse what were you thinking? You should have called me. I told you that I would be here for you if you were ever in a vulnerable situation!”
Jesse: “I know Jackie, I think that deep down I knew that I was going to come across meth if I went out with my friends.”
Jackie: “Why do you think that you put yourself in that situation?”
The group leader’s responsibility was to dig deeper and find out what was bothering Jesse. After further questioning, Jesse opened up and shared to the group that he had relapsed. The members of the group must be willing to share and be open with the group in order to have meaningful interactions with other members (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). Jesse getting honest with the group continues to build group cohesion. Jackie stepping in and offering support shows that group cohesion is getting stronger.
Also during the check-in, another member, Michelle stated, “I was sexually abused as a child.”
Group Leader: “Do you want to share with us what happened?”
Michelle: “When I was 13 years old, my uncle Tom sexually abused me. He used to take care of me when my parents were out of town. He would get drunk and sexually abuse me.”
Group Leader: “I am really sorry to hear that Michelle. How are you feeling right now?”
Michelle: “I’m angry!”
Jackie: “I was also sexually abused as a child, so I can relate. I too was angry. I did not trust men until I finally was able to work through the trauma.”
Michelle: “How were you able to work through the trauma?”
There are many fears that the group members could potentially have including the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of self-disclosure, or the fear of being judged (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). Michelle opening up and sharing such a thing shows that she is feeling trusting and comfortable with the group. It is the group leader’s job to make Michelle feel safe, to fully recognize what happened to her, and to assist her in working through the event (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). Depending on how severely Michelle is affected, it might be best to refer her to individual therapy to work through this traumatic event.
The third session closes with homework being given, to complete a Relapse Prevention Plan, which will be due in one week.
During the fourth session check-in, Mike states, “I got wasted at the game on Sunday. Not only did I get wasted, but I also drove home.”
Group Leader: “Wow Mike! That came out of the blue. Do you want to share with the group what happened?”
Mike: “I went to the game with a bunch of guys from work, and they were all drinking. I didn’t want to tell them that I didn’t drink. Therefore, I thought it would be okay to have a couple of beers. Next thing you know, I was wasted. I drove home after the game because I did not want to have to call my wife to come and pick me up.”
Group Leader: “So how are you feeling about yourself right now?”
Mike: “I feel like a loser. I let myself down, I let my wife down, and I let you guys down.”
Group Leader: “Mike we are here to support you and love you. Does anyone else want to say anything to Mike?”
Jesse: “Mike, I am here to support you in anyway that I can. I wish that you would have called me prior to taking that first drink.”
Jackie: “You could have called me Mike. I would have given you a ride home.”
Michelle: “How were you feeling prior to the game? What was going on that you were in a vulnerable place?”
The group leader’s job is to provide a balance between confrontation and support. It is the group leader’s job to support Mike in taking a risk and opening up to the group. Getting him to reflect on his behavior will promote a deeper level of self-exploration (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2010). The members of the group want to love an support Mike as well. The group leader does a good job getting the members of the group to speak up.