Ending the Group’s Work

Are goodbyes hard for you? The end of the group can be a sensitive time for members of support and treatment groups, especially when a significant amount of work has been accomplished. For task groups, the end can be a time of celebration, especially if the goal of the group was attained.

Endings can be expected and planned or unexpected. Planned endings happen in closed groups where there is a specific ending date that all members knew about from the beginning of the group. A planned ending is not a surprise, but it can, nonetheless, can be an emotional time. Unexpected endings happen when group members leave the group or the facilitator must leave the group prematurely.

For this discussion, let’s talk about endings, what they mean, how people can benefit from the ending expereince, and how group facilitators can guide the process.

Answer the following questions

1. What does the following statement mean to you? “It is important to keep the end of the group in mind from the beginning.”

2. Why are endings important in group work? What are the differences in planned and unplanned endings in groups?

How can you help group members to utilize problem solving skills when the group is ending? Why is this important for a group member?

What are some strategies for dealing with these feelings with group members?

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