Patrick B. McGinnis, PhD, LMHC

Psychotherapy, Sex Therapy, Couple's Counseling, Addictions Counseling, Psychological & Psychosexual Assessment and Polygraph Testing


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Group Rules & Norms


Group has to be a safe place for members to come and work on their issues. Certain rules have to be put into place to help establish the space effectively.


Rules (you may be asked not to return to group for a violation of a rule):


1. Confidentiality of all group members must be maintained. Nothing said in the group by another member may be disclosed to anyone outside group.


2. Being verbally threatening or assaultive toward any member.  (Revealing anger appropriately is encouraged)


3. Attending any group meeting under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


4. Excessive absence or tardiness is disruptive to the whole group. Weekly attendance is expected.


Norms (behavior that enhances the group experience. These are not rules they may be modified or added to by the group over time):


1. The group starts and ends on time.


2. Phone in advance of missing a group or announce it beforehand.


3. Stay the whole session if possible. Leaving early or going to the restroom is disruptive.


4. Eating in group is discouraged as it distracts everyone (including you).


5. Give the person speaking your undivided attention. Do not interrupt each other. Taking notes while someone is talking is discourteous and threatening.


6. Focus on your present thoughts, feelings and reactions.


7. Feelings are more important than thoughts, their responsible expression is encouraged.


8. Speak directly to other group members (not the leader) and use self-responsible “I statements,” rather than over-responsible “you statements,” or under-responsible “we statements.”


9. Give feedback often by sharing your honest observations to other members and be able to give concrete evidence.


10. Confront others with the spirit of “Self Discovery.” Ask yourself what you can learn about yourself from the confrontation.


11. Conflicts are handled by both members “mirroring” back the other’s viewpoint with the goal of understanding the other person’s viewpoint. Resolution often comes from understanding each other clearly.


12. Advice giving is discouraged and is rarely taken by others.  A better technique is to share your own similar challenges, and/or ask questions to fully understand the issue (this often helps the other person to become more clear about their situation and options).


13. Relationships between members outside the group setting is discouraged as they may “muddy” your ability to be authentic in group. Such relationships are disclosed to the group.


14. Plans to withdraw from the group are brought up (at a minimum) at the start of the meeting prior to your last meeting.  This allows everyone the opportunity to practice doing closure in their relationships.


15. New members will be brought in only once per month once the group has stabilized in order to minimize disruption or compromise safety.



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Copyright © 1991 Patrick B. McGinnis, PhD. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/09/09.

Hit Counter Last modified: 10/12/09