What are the Worst Things To Say When Facilitating Groups?
This blog entry will be a lot of fun but also very interesting!!! I want to know what clients and facilitators think are the worst things a facilitator can say when facilitating groups. So we're not just focusing on the negative... I'd also like to know for each entry WHY it is not helpful to say the quote and suggestions about WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD. Note: The wisdom shared in this blog comes from a wide variety of sources and did not necessarily come from facilitators at SYB.
Situation: The facilitator was telling a men's domestic violence group about a situation which was brought up by a group member in another group where apparently the client said, "She baited me." The facilitator told the other group, "She baited him." What is so bad about that? If "she baited me" is the client's explanation for what happened: It doesn't make it accurate and that label isn't a helpful description for anyone--especially whoever "she" is. By a facilitator saying this to another group it demonstrates that the facilitator agrees or buys into or validates that the client was "baited". If you say that in a group full of men it reinforces the idea that women are devious and not to be trusted. It also reinforces that the client is a "victim" which isn't a helpful position for him to be in, convenient though it may be for him to try to portray himself as a victim in an intervention program setting. "Baited" is hopefully the client's word and not the facilitator's interpretation. Facilitators who find themselves buying into clients' stories are not remaining professionally objective and neutral. We only hear the client's perspective for what is happening in their challenging situations. I'm sure her perspective is not that she "baited" him. Our job is also to increase our client's awareness of how other people might experience the challenging situations and our clients' involvement in those situations as well. It is not our job to agree with, believe, or advocate for our clients. Also be careful sharing (even discretely) one client's challenge with another group as it is a small world and highly likely that clients know each other in some capacity. Suggestion: A better phrase if you're going to use this as part of your example might be, "Apparently, his perspective was that he could remain living with his partner as long as he had a steady job but that if he lost his job, his impression was that he would be told to get out." (Depends upon the specific context obviously)