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I am Jameca Woody Falconer and I am a Counseling Psychologist. I received my B.A from Tougaloo College and both my M.A and Ph.D from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou)(which is one of the top 5 programs in the country in Counseling Psychology). I have worked in Education for many years, having taught at both public and private institutions. Over the years I have taught everything from courses on Psychopathology to courses on the racial strife in Ferguson Missouri. I also continue to have my own psychotherapy Private practice where my specialty is Geriatric Psychotherapy.
I look forward to getting to know you!
Greetings and talofa, I am currently pursuing a Master degree in Human Service. I am from the village of Alao in the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. Army veteran and full-time student. This course is one of the requirement in the program. Looking forward to learn and gain advance knowledge in the Dynamics of Groups in Human Service fields. Good luck everyone and hope to interact with you all in class discussions.
According to the module readings, there are six primary aspects that constitute a small group and its existence. Size, which is commonly comprised of at least three to fifteen members, communication, copresence or the individual awareness of other group members, boundaries, goals, and interdependence which is each member’s responsibility to interact and contribute with other group members ( Argosy University, 2018). The small-group theory is linked to the systems theory which by definition, is the multidisciplinary analysis of systems to investigate phenomena from a holistic approach be they man-made or natural. While the small-group theory is similar to the systems theory of parts or members that interact to form a coherent whole, the small-group theory consists of various phases and models of decision-making when seeking to accomplish a group task unlike the larger systemic perspective of the impossibility of understanding a phenomenon by dismantling it into smaller components (Systems Theory, 2016). In addition, utilization of the Decision Emergence Theory among small group members consisting of orientation, conflict, emergence, and reinforcement proposes that decisions emerge from the verbal interaction between group members (Oregon State, nd). In essence, the three primary factors affecting a group’s cohesion are: environmental, personal, and leadership which closely relates to the interpersonal and stage developmental model of William Schutz (1966) which sees group progression to the next stage according to its ability to resolve issues. Conversely, Tuckman’s Stages proposed that ideal group decision-making should occur by forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Tuckman, 2001).
The current research on the small-group theory supports a past group voluntary service experience that started in my undergrad program a few years ago. Each year a group of students and I volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner, participate in a clothes drive and assist in health screenings, as well as distribute baskets to the elderly and to those in our immediate and surrounding communities who are less fortunate. The theoretical perspective of the group being like-minded in its goals, having appropriate and consistent communication, and our interdependence on each other supported the small-group dynamics in a positive manner because we all had the same goal which was to be of service, become more acquainted with members of our community, encourage other young people who were there performing community service to continue, and to quickly execute the developmental stages of a group (forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning) in a small window of time ( Argosy University, 2018). Lastly, this theory supported that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when all of the elements are working properly.
Schutz, W. ( 1966). The Interpersonal Underworld. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. Systems Theory. (2016). Systems Theory/Therapy Articles Retrieved fromhttps://www.goodtherapy.org/learning
Tuckman, B. (2001). “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups.” Group Facilitation: AResearch and Applications Journal: 71-72.
Interpersonal interaction, interpersonal theory, social psychology along with collective behavior has been the basis for research and is the foundation for many theories and models of group behavior (Poole, 2005). In functional theory, the focus is on how a group communicates, nevertheless, lists 5 task requirements for a group to succeed. (Adams & Galanes, 2012 p. 204). Problem solving always begins by defining the problem, second outlining the steps to solve the problem, discussing those steps to complete understanding, and having an alternate plan. According to Adams & Galanes, (2012), they list communication as the second factor that enhances group cohesion, along with reevaluating decisions while utilizing the procedural model of problem solving (Adams & Galanes, 2012). The Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT) is a theory based on communication and the group consciousness with its shared motives and emotions. According to Adams & Galanes, (2012), “the issue of group diversity and its effects on a group processes and outcomes is more relevant than ever” (p.121). They suggest that the superlative groups have a balance in place highlighting member abilities, with individual approaches that are complementing to each other. As stated before, not all members have the answers to the problems, but each member has a part of the solution (Adams & Galanes, 2012). This theory allows theorists and practitioners to anticipate or predict what will happen and explain what did happen. One thing SCT does not do is allow for prediction and control of human communication. While researching some of the older theories for an example, a group leader having a huge impact on what happens in a group, by announcing that everyone is going to count off by fives and create small groups, some group members will look irritated, some uninterested, others are eager to figure out what’s going on, it’s possible to feel both apprehensive and interested about what is to occur next, this is human behavior.
According to one model, favored by traditional behavioral theorists over the years, human reactions occur either as a stimulus-response, classical conditioning (Ivan Pavlov) process or as a response-stimulus, operant (B. F. Skinner) mode. In the former, the group leader’s directions elicit an automatic response in group members that has been conditioned over time; in the latter case, a particular response the group leader’s observation that the energy level is low in the room—so he creates a stimulus designed to alter current conditions. In both examples, behavior is viewed as linear in nature: One action affects the other in a direct line. However, in comparison even contemporary behaviorists now see this as a simple interpretation of what happens during complex human interactions (Spiegler & Guevremont, 2009). In contrast there are not only internal, cognitive, and affective processes going on within each person that influence how the world is perceived, but behavior in groups follows a much more circular rather than a linear path. “In circular causality, group members’ behavior is simultaneously moving in all directions at once, a continuous series of circular loops or recurring chains of influence” (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2007, p. 16).
In another example, a teacher calls upon a student because he thinks he looks bored, however, he is actually confused, so the student asked a question instead of answering the question the teacher asks; the other students groan, because they thought they were going to leave early. As a linear causality might lead one to say that a student asked a “dumb” question at the end of class, eliciting groans from classmates, frustration in the instructor; and then shame and regret in that student for opening his mouth. If you look at that same incident from a circular perspective, you identify that many more complex interactions were occurring. The student asked the question in the first place because he read a look in the instructor’s eye that seemed to invite such an inquiry. The instructor was actually trying to encourage more student participation because he construed that this particular student was bored when he was really confused, and so the student checked out for a while. The groans from the class may have to do with some students wanting to leave early, another being annoyed by the question, and yet another who is not even paying attention in class but is rather looking at his iPhone and just saw that his favorite team lost. Once you bring in the significant influences and effects of others in the room, you have quite a complex situation, more so than ever imagined (Poole, 2005). Showing these examples highlights the importance of clear communication, in the example, it shows how easily peoples transmission or conveying is misinterpreted.
In my own experience, I worked in groups while obtaining my Bachelors. Our groups were 4 to 5 people. I think that we did very well in a group of 4. In this specific group we stayed together for 5 classes. We had gone through all the developmental stages. We performed well together and were very efficient. However, that 6th class we had to add an additional student because the class was so big. The group just crumbled for the first couple of weeks. Our mistake was, working together for so long we took for granted that the new person would know our expectations, and how we work together. There was a huge blow up, and we had to get the instructor involved. However, we were reminded that we had to figure out how to resolve the issues on our own.
Our first step was go back to step one, clearly state our team ground rules and guidelines, what our expectations, involvement, and time management goals were, and made sure that everyone understood them, we also included special considerations. For instance, our group assignments lasted for 5 weeks, and each of us would take turns performing as the group leader for 1 week. I think what worked best in our group was strong communication, and everyone knowing the expectations.
Adams, K. L., & Galanes, G. J. (2012). Communicating in Groups Applications and Skills (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Goldenberg, I., & Goldenberg, H. (2007). Family therapy: An overview. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.
Poole, S.P. (2005). Theories of Small Groups. Chicago, IL: Sage Publications.
Models of Group and Systems Theories. (2018). Retrieved September 8, 2018, from 2018 Argosy University website:https://myclasses.argosy.edu/d2l/le/content/27339/…
Spiegler, M.D., & Guevremont, D.C. (2009). Contemporary Behavior Therapy (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.