This paper will offer an analysis of the group dynamics in the video clip provided. The paper will focus on the main tensions in the group and the central theme of the session. Next will be a consideration of individual participants in terms of their roles within the group.
The group has two Professors who act intermittently as group facilitators and group therapists. The group is sitting in chairs in a small circle in a relatively large and empty room. The circle immediately sets the group up to manage issues around closeness and distance. The circle formed allows the members to make (or not make) eye contact. Additionally, who is to say that people are comfortable sitting at such close proximity to each other In a physical structure where members might feel they can't manage the intensity of the group experience physically, i.e. physically move away from the group, the members are left to find other ways to regulate their experience. Let us look at how the members of this group manage being in a group and what the group is most interested in.
The group's primary focus is personal survival and the self-regulation of emotions. The group initially focuses on films which tell stories of survival. However, as time passes, it becomes clear that the group members are talking about their own survival, their own struggles in life, and whether 'breaking down' will leave them weak and overwhelmed.
The group sets the pitch early on by discussing very emotional challenges in their life through the objective vehicle of 'favorite film'. This sets the pitch and the group is involved early on in a struggle of regulation. How much emotion How much is too much Professor Rullo's role is to encourage and facilitate emotion and self-disclosure. Meanwhile, Professor Smith's role is to sum up emotional experiences for the group and to contain the boundary for the emotional expressions for the group. The group finds itself moving between the people who are comfortable with emotions (Renee and Amy) and the people who are less comfortable (Roosevelt and Maria.) These two sub-groups within the group are partly generated by the Professors taking opposite positions which leaves the group in the position of taking 'sides'. This tension is difficult for them to experience and there is an obvious tension after Amy cried about her 9-11 experience and Professor Smith interrupts her story and reminds her of Maria's struggle to open up earlier, and how Professor Rullo told Maria, "That's enough". Amy hears Professor Smith say, "that's enough" and she bolts her emotion down. There is some silence in the group and Roosevelt expresses this discomfort and uncertainty by gesturing a thumb to leave the room; he does this approximately three times. At this point, the group is at a crossroads: to disclose or to be objective, to survive or breakdown.
The next significant moment for the group is when Natasha B. responds to Renee's concerns about being, "Scared to open that box." Natasha B. sobs about how tough life is for her and for others in the group and she demonstrates the level of cohesion in the group. Immediately following her sobs, we see two things happen almost simultaneously. Firstly, Taryn smiles, presumably with discomfort. She has done this before when someone else was in distress. Immediately after Taryn's smile, Professor Smith captures the emotion in the room and begins to sum it up again, talking of "The struggle, the accomplishments."
Later on in the session we see this theme of emotional self-regulation once more. In this vignette, we see Professor Rullo redirect the group. Camille says, "I don't want to have an emotional breakdown." Professor ...
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