Project – Exercises, Activities, and Rounds

In counseling especially in a group therapy, people who almost have the same problems usually come together and try to share the different experiences about their problems (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). The group that I am about to form is called ‘Life after Combat.’ It is a group therapy where combat veterans will have an opportunity to share their problems with each other about their life after combat. The main purpose of the group is to help the veterans to cope with problems relating from financial problems, mental health problems, combat exposure, emotional issues, family problems and drug abuse problems. The group is targeting members from all forces who have been in combat and have received military campaign ribbons. The group will take twelve weeks where the members will be meeting every Wednesday from 5.30 PM to 7.00 PM in the training room at the head quarters building on Ft. Meade military installation. The group is only limited to ten people but there need be for an addition groups, they may be started based on interest.

The first stage is the beginning stage, which is usually the first time when the group is meeting (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). At this first time when a group is meeting there is usually a lot of tension from the members. Therefore, the first activity in the group to break the ice will be a ‘working together activity’ where the group is expected to participate together so that they can be able to know one another. The activity is expected to be exciting for the members so that it can break that tension. In this activity, a ball will be used where by the members will be expected to throw it to each other while calling each other by name. As the game begins, the ball is expected to move slowly from one member to another. When the game is still going on, the pace of the ball is expected to increase to create that excitement that will reduce the tension (Writer, 2011).

This group involves serious men and women who have been actively involved in combat. Therefore, this activity will be a good icebreaker because the ball will remove that mood of seriousness. When they start throwing the ball to one another, they will still be very serious but when they start throwing the ball faster, the excitement of it will creep in and the tension will start reducing. Another importance of the activity is that the different group members will get to know each other quickly by name. This activity is usually done the first time the group is meeting. When one is performing the activity, he or she is expected to resist but when the game is continuously played, one tends to forget and at that point, the tension is reduced (Corey, 2008). However, there might be a problem where some members may see this as childish. In such a situation, the member will be shown what he or she is losing. Additionally, he or she will be explained the reasons for the exercises.

In this stage, people in the group fear one another; therefore, they are not able to trust one another. Additionally, it is also at this stage that the rules and regulations of the group are laid down. Therefore, the second activity that is expected is about building trust while at the same time laying down the rules. The ‘secret hat activity’ will be very helpful for the group at this stage. The group members will be provided with a pen and paper where they will write the rules and regulation that they feel the group should have. After they have written the different rules and regulations, they will put their papers in the hat. Lastly, the group leader will read the different rules and regulations aloud to the members who will be expected to follow.

The main purpose of this activity is to help the different members gain the trust of the group since they are the ones who have created their own rules and they have done it in secret. This is because when one creates his or her own rules, he or she becomes more confident in them. Secondly, the members will become aware of the rules. This activity will fit the group because they are usually very secretive people and when they do this, they will start to gain trust because nobody knows who has written what. When one is in a group that tends to create privacy to members, usually he or she starts to gain trust in the group. However, there is a challenge in this activity where some members might tend to create rules, which are ambiguous. In order to solve the problem, a guideline will be created to guide the members on the kind of rules that they are expected to write. This activity is to be done in the first or the second session.

The second stage is the working or the middle stage. This is the stage where the different members will be expected to focus on the purpose of the group (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). The first activity that will be expected in the group is the ‘trust lean activity.’ This activity will be done by the members so that they can learn to trust the other members when it comes to sharing their problems. This is where members of the group will be asked to choose a partner of the same height and weight but the sex is not important. After that, one will be the catcher whereas the other one will be the faller. The faller is expected to stand in front of the catcher. He or she should stand with his or her legs together, with his or her hands folded at the chest. The catcher will be expected to stand with one leg in front of the other, with his arms extended ready to catch the faller. The falls should be small when they start and they move to bigger ones as they continue. After some few minutes, the partners are expected to switch places and repeat the exercise (Neil, 2004).

This exercise will help the members to start gaining more trust because in the line of duty, trust is very important. Therefore, when they are able to trust that the other member will catch them when they fall, it means that he or she has their back incase of anything thus creating trust. Hence, the activity will fit in the group because the different members are able to relate with the activity easily. However, a challenge may be involved where the some members may have problems with trust. This challenge could be overcome by showing the members that the activity is safe so there is no need for them to fear about trusting one another in the activity. This activity would be performed in the fourth session

The other activity that would be helpful in this stage will be the ‘fearing hat.’ In this activity, the members of the group will be expected to write what they fear that is their problems in a piece of paper. They are expected to write them in accordance with the different topics that the group is discussing. After they have done this, the different members are expected to put the papers in a hat where the different members will be chosen randomly to read the different papers. When they read the different problems, they are expected to give a solution of how they were going to solve them if they were in that situation (Widerdom Store, 2006).

Since this stage focuses on the main purposes of the group, this activity will be a better way to start because people still fear the idea of revealing their problems to strangers. The exercise is going to help the members realize that there are many possible solutions to their problems. The activity will fit the group very much because it will be a superb way to let the veterans open up about their problems. The challenge that might be involved in this activity will be about some of the members failing to open up. In order to solve the problem, the exercise should be left to continue so that the different members can learn that their identity will not be revealed when the problems are being read. This activity will be done in the fifth and sixth sessions.

The last activity to be done in this stage would be the ‘open session.’ This is where a member of the group will share his or her personal experiences about the problems that he or she has experienced. The member should start by introducing himself to the group by stating which force he or she has served or is serving in, and where he or she has been deployed in the past. After that, the member is expected to share his or her problem with the group by indicating how it started and how it is affecting him.

This will help those members who have not opened up to start trusting one another. Additionally, this activity helps the members to understand that there are others who have the same problems as theirs so they are not alone. It will fit the group because many veterans tend to keep their problems to themselves and suffer alone. The main challenge will be that a member might refuse to open up to the others. To help such members open up, he or she will be asked why he or she is not opening up so that he or she can be helped. This activity will be performed in the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth sessions.

The last stage of the group therapy is the closing stage. This is where the different members of the group will be parting ways (Jacobs, Masson & Harvill, 2009). The first activity in this group will be the ‘recommendation and changes activity.’ In this activity, members will be expected to give out recommendation about the different problems in reference to the changes they have experienced in solving their problems. For example, if a member had a financial problem, he or she will be expected to describe the problem first. Then he or she is supposed to say what he or she has done to solve the problem. Finally, he or she should state whether it has worked and how it has changed his or her life.

This activity will be helpful to the group because it will act as proof. This means that the members will have proof that their problems have solutions. Therefore, the activity will fit in the group in that, the different veterans work with proof not hearsay. The only problem will be to have a problem that will not have a solution. In this case, the members will be asked to try to give solutions to some of these problems. This activity will be done in the eleventh session.

The last activity in this stage of the group will be ‘closure.’ In this activity, the different members of the group will be expected to share their feelings about the group and say their good byes. At first, each member will be expected to state what he or she felt about the group and whether the group has helped him or her. In the end of the group, the members will socialize by talking to each other may be while taking a cup of tea or coffee.

This activity will help in evaluation as to whether there has been progress. It will fit the group because while in the different forces, the veterans are expected to deliver results. Therefore, they will be able to relate by delivering their different results. However, the main challenge of this activity will be when some of the members fail to gain anything from the group. However, the solution could be increasing the sessions if the members are many and if they are a few like two, personal attention will be recommended.




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