Impact therapy applied to groups

Four Situations That Warrant Cutting Off

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Four Situations That Warrant Cutting Off

  1. When a member starts in on a story when you are wanting a brief comment

  1. When a member shifts the focus away from a person or topic and the discussion taking place is valuable

  1. When a member attacks another member or says something that is inaccurate

  1. When a member has the focus of the group but is rambling

Cutting Off a Member Who Is Rambling

When you cut off a member who is rambling or not focusing or funneling, you do one of three things: cut and stay with the person; cut and stay with the topic; or cut and leave the person and the topic.

1. Cut and Stay With the Person

A. Ask person clarifying questions: the leader or members can do this

B. Have person do some focused activity (use chair, drama, etc.)
C. Have person complete an in-depth round
D. Have members give person feedback
E. Have one member role-play the person working
2. Cut and Stay With the Topic
3. Cut and Leave the Person and the Topic

  1. Cut off quickly. Listen to the tone of voice.

  2. Use your own non-verbal cues to cut off: your hands; your eyes

3. Use rounds as a way to allow you to cut off.

Although members should not be forced to talk, group members usually feel more comfortable when all members share. Also, if a member shares very little, other members are uncomfortable and misunderstand the member’s quiet behavior. Usually the quiet member is afraid to talk so using the various techniques listed below can be very helpful.

  1. Use written exercises such as sentence completions so that you can ask the member to read his/her answer.

  1. Use rounds (Quiet members will usually be willing to say one or two words during a round.)

  1. End the round on the person you want to draw out.

4. Use movement exercises as a way to draw out. People speak with their movements.

5. Use dyads and pair yourself with the quiet member in order to find out why the person is being quiet.

6. Gently “nudge” the person to speak by calling on him or her but make sure the person does not feel on the spot. Often I do this by calling on two people.

“Joe, you haven’t said much (pause). Nor have you Amy. Do either of you want to comment? (pause—if they seem uncomfortable, move on).
7. DO NOT SPOTLIGHT. An example of spotlighting would be:
“Jane, what do you think?”
If Jane is uncomfortable in the group, calling on her like this often will not help. (In many instances this is an appropriate question to ask but asking this of a very quiet member can cause that member to feel like she is under a spotlight.)

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