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Group Analysis Paper
Anika D. Davis
Wayne State University
October 29, 2014



Group Analysis Paper
This group was formed as a support group for battered women. Group members join the
group on a voluntary basis both by invitation and their own inquiries. During the first group
session there were 4 members and the facilitator. The group members arrived to the meeting and
sat in chairs that had been positioned in a circle. One group member moved her chair back
slightly out of the circle.
The facilitator began the meeting by introducing herself to the group and then asking
them to introduce themselves and tell something about themselves. No one responded
immediately, so she asked if anyone would volunteer to go first. Mandy (pseudonym)
volunteered to go first. Mandy introduced herself and said that she was 26 with two kids. Penny
(pseudonym) then introduced herself and said that she was 29 married with three kids. Alexis
(pseudonym) introduced herself by name but did not give any more information. Next Brenda
(pseudonym) told the group that she was 27 with four kids. The facilitator then explained to the
group that she would like all of them to get to know each other and share some experiences
between them. She confided that she hopes that sharing with each other will help each of them in
some way. She then said she wanted to lay down some ground rules before getting started. She
said that this group is a safe haven for all of us. Everything shared in this group is confidential
and I am sure that we would all appreciate our stories not being shared with any person outside
the group. She went on to request that each person express themselves freely within the group
with the exception of disrespecting another group member. She asked that all group members
always remain respectful of the opinions and experiences of the other. Alexis interrupted and
said, so we can’t disagree with nobody? The facilitator explained that it is perfectly fine to
disagree or even challenge someone on something but we need to remain respectful in expressing



our disagreements. She asked if everyone understood and they responded both nonverbally and
verbally with nods and by saying yes.
The facilitator asked if anyone wants to share why they are here today and Mandy said
that she would. Mandy told the group that her boyfriend was abusive and she has been attending
different meetings like this for a few years. Alexis asked her why she had been going to
meetings for so long. Mandy responded because she’s been in more than one abusive
relationship over the years and the groups make her feel better. Alexis responded by saying, yeah
but if you gotta keep going to meetings then they must not be doing you any good. The facilitator
interjected and said, Alexis do you think that she comes because she is getting what she needs
from the groups? Maybe her purpose for coming to groups is different from your purpose. Alexis
responded, yeah but I thought you come to get out of the relationship. Penny chimed in and said,
not necessarily, because maybe she don’t want to get out of her relationship. She said it makes
her feel better. The facilitator did not interject because she wanted to allow the members to
continue to explore their feelings on the reasons they might attend the meetings and what they
would like to get from them. She also did not want to appear to be taking sides.
The facilitator offered everyone an opportunity to share her story. Brenda shared with the
group that her ex-boyfriend, and father of three of her children, had verbally and physically
abused her for years. She told the group about a time when she said she was leaving him and he
beat her and kicked her multiple times in the stomach. The other group members asked her
questions about the incident and she answered. Alexis asked Brenda if she was still with him and
she told her that she was trying to stay away from him. The remainder of the session went on
with different members talking vaguely about at least one instance of abuse but no serious
details. Alexis did not share any experiences but she did participate by asking questions of the



other members. The facilitator wrapped up the meeting by advising the members approximately
five minutes prior that they were approaching the end of their meeting. She asked if anyone had
any questions or suggestions for the rest of the group. None of the members gave any feedback
on the question. Brenda and Mandy started to have a little light conversation among themselves
then the facilitator said they group would be meeting there the same time next Monday and that
she hoped to see them all then.
The next session began with the facilitator introducing herself again. This session there
were two new members. Instead of the facilitator asking the new members to introduce
themselves she asked for volunteers to introduce themselves. Mandy introduced herself first
again and told the group how many children she had. The new member, Nicole (pseudonym),
told the group that she was 27 with two children. Next, Alexis disclosed to the group that she
was 26 with four children. She also told them that she was divorced. Tanya (pseudonym)
introduced herself as a 25 year old with three children. The remaining members reintroduced
To get this session started the facilitator asked if one of the newer members would like to
share their reason for coming to the group meeting today. Tanya volunteered and begun to tell
her story. She explained how she had been dating a married man for three years and when his
wife became aware of the affair he became physically abusive. She explained that he will not
leave her alone but he often gets angry and hits her. She said she doesn’t think it’s that bad but
she hoped the group could help her find a way to get him to stop. She believed because he did
not leave any bruises that she was not in real danger. Penny challenged her thoughts by asking
her if she thought he couldn’t kill her because he did not leave bruises. Tanya admitted that it
was possible for him to kill her without leaving a bruise.



The remainder of the group session went on with member sharing their experiences and
the other members listening respectfully. Members would share their story after someone had
just shared a similar story. The session was ended with an invite to the following weeks meeting.
Unfortunately, I was not a part of the planning phase of this group so I am unable to
analyze that phase.
This session was significant to the groups development because it served as an
introduction to the group and its members. Members were oriented to the group by learning how
process would go and being introduced to other group members. The group changed by the end
of session two because they felt comfortable enough with each other to engage in subgroup
conversations. By the end of session two, all group members had shared some aspect of their
lives. This was a positive change because it will promote group cohesion and bonding.
Group Dynamics
The goal of the group is to provide mutual aid for its members and to teach them to
problem solve. Fuhrimman and Burlingame stated that workers often fail to define the purpose of
the group they are leading (as cited in Toseland & Rivas, 2012, p. 204). In my opinion, this
facilitator also failed to clearly state the purpose of the group.
One hidden agenda could be for Mandy. The groups seem to be somewhat of a social
outing for her. She has been attending meetings for so long because she states they make her feel
better. Tanya could have a hidden agenda because she does not want to escape the relationship
with her married boyfriend; she is only seeking skills to persuade him to change his behavior.
At this early stage in the group, I believe the level of cohesiveness was low because the
members did not communicate with each other much. Although the members had a lot in



common, they had not come together to form a bond yet. Some members are in the process of
developing bonds or subgroups. The bond that brings the members together is that they are all
close to the same age, single mothers who have been victims of physical or verbal abuse from a
partner or former partner. During the second group session group cohesion had risen. I believe
this happened because there were new members and the members who attended previously felt a
sense of solidarity. The members communicated among each other more during this session
without the constant need of the facilitator’s input or solicitation.
The group interaction began in maypole style. The facilitator asked questions to get
members talking but after each person responded the facilitator had to ask another question or for
volunteers. By the middle of the second session most of the members had warmed up to each
other. The discussions took on a round robin approach meaning the members were taking turns
talking (Toseland & Rivas, 2012).
Group norms were not strongly developed during the two sessions but were in the early
stages. The way the members introduced themselves could become a norm. Most members stated
their name, age and number of children they had, if any. Some of the members even disclosed if
they were married or divorced. As the sessions go on the group will develop more norms.
The group culture had not been established yet. The members may all believe that it is
wrong for men to abuse women but that has not been established.
I think the group sessions were successful and that the members will continue to attend. I
think Alexis was less trusting and less willing to let others in her private life, which is why she
did not disclose much information about herself initially. I believe she was even testing
boundaries and challenging Mandy because of her lack of trust for people. After she disclosed



that she was on her second marriage, I thought she believed that she was superior to the other
group members. It was almost as though she could not relate to the other women because she did
not understand their process. The facilitator chose not to address Alexis’s ambivalence in the
group probably because it was so early in the process she wanted to give her time to overcome
her feelings as she began to trust group members. In the beginning, the facilitator attempted to
establish the group purpose by telling the members that she would like for them to get to know
each other and share stories that could hopefully help them. I think she could have been clearer
on the group purpose. The facilitator was attempting to contract with the members when she
asked that the group discussions be kept confidential and that each member respected the other.
Again, overall I believe the group process was successful and will be evidenced by the
members’ continued participation.



Toseland, R. W., Rivas, R.F. (2012). An Introduction to Group Work Practice. Boston, MA:
Allyn & Bacon.