Group vs. Family Dynamics

Respond to two colleagues. Explain whether you agree or disagree with their comparison of group and family dynamics. Provide a suggestion of how to assess dynamics in a group or family and explain why it may be important to understand the dynamic for treatment.

Colleague 1: Stacey

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Group Dynamics

The group dynamics present as connected, cohesion, and communication in which they all were familiar with one another. The group facilitator, Julius, facilitates with structure and honesty. The group dynamics shifted when Pam returned and noticed that Phillip joined the group in her absence. Pam expressed that she was excited to re-join the group but was “floored” when she saw Phillip. Pam expressed that the group was her haven and sanctuary, a place in which she felt safe. Due to Pam’s negative history with Philip, her perspective changed, and she wanted him to recuse himself. However, the fellow group members expressed that Phillip was a great addition to the group.

Furthermore, Julius allowed the group to have a combination of inclusion and respect. According to Drumm (2006), inclusion and respect in a group setting include validating and honoring each member’s opinions and contributions. Gill demonstrated this when she stated that “I think Phillip has helped some of us” when describing the value he brought to the team. Gill participation is a form of free-floating interaction in which group members contribute to a particular topic (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). Lastly, this group demonstrated cohesion due to Pam’s ability to express her negative feelings about Philip, Phillip’s willingness to listen, and group member’s ability to provide feedback and evaluations (Toseland & Rivas, 2017).

Group Experience on Treatment

The group dynamics can either hinder or promote the treatment goals (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). However, this group dynamic can positively influence treatment due to their assertive and constructive style of communication. As shown in the video, Pam disliked toward Phillip, yet the group dynamics allowed Pam to express her feelings in a safe environment. Also, the group provided Phillip with an opportunity to respond to Pam’s criticism. In contrast, the group members advocated for Phillip to remain in the group due to the value he brought.

Family Dynamics

The family group dynamic presented as disconnected, inability to communicate, and an apparent lack of social integration. The family sessions consisted of a stepmother; Kathleen, father; David, adult son, teenage daughter Michele, and a new baby; Jade. This family lacked social integration because Michele did not feel welcomed in the family unit. According to Toseland & Rivas (2017), social integration refers to how members fit together and are accepted in a group. As shown in the video, the family expressed that Michele had an anger problem without gaining clarity. Hence, further creating distance between Michele and the rest of the family. Yet, it was then revealed that Michele did not have an anger problem yet believe that her family did not accept her.

Family Dynamics on Treatment

The family dynamics can negatively impact the course of treatment. According to Toseland & Rivas (2017), negative emotional bonds reduce solidity between members and decrease interpersonal interaction. This is depicted when the consoler asked Michele if anything was upsetting her, and her response was “no.” The lack of cohesion negatively influences treatment because it suppresses personal expressions. In a healthy group setting, group members should feel safe and express themselves without being ostracized (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). Yet, this is evident when Michele’s parents described her behavior.

Group vs. Family Dynamics

In a group dynamic, members have an advantage because they do not have a prior relationship. Hence, a group is less likely to negatively impression of one another, clouding their treatment. In contrast, family dynamics can impact treatment due to their relationship and strained communication patterns. Family and group dynamins can exhibit some similarities within their interactions. For instance, a family and group can have a round-robin discussion during their treatment.


Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Pearson.

Drumm, K. (2006). The essential power of group work. Social Work with Groups, 29(2-3), 17-31. (Producer). (2011a). Group therapy:A live demonstration. [Video file]. Author. (2006a). The legacy of unresolved loss: A family system approach

Colleague 2: Denesha

Group Dynamics

Within (2011), the group set the tone for effective group dynamics by being present and engaging in the conversation with one another. The group members disclosed their feelings to realize some resolve in their issues and exemplified proven cohesion while respecting each member as they allowed each other to speak. Drumm (2003) explains respecting those involved will cultivate effective communication within the group which supports the effectiveness of group sessions. In addition, each member responded to the other appropriately, reflecting communication styles and patterns mentioned within Toseland and Rivas (2017).

On the other hand, the group dynamics shifted as another entered the conversation (, 2011). This reinforced the cohesion as another factor caused a distraction that was not previously present within the group. This social integration experience though apparently a disruption of pattern, did prove favorable as the adverse effect of adding another provided opportunity of knowledge to reflect upon to enhance the group experience.


Group’s Influence on Treatment

As there are no perfect sessions or people, treatment effectiveness is influenced by each dimension of group dynamics (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). Continued assessment from the social worker will prove beneficial as the experiences are reflected upon to promote positive outcomes for the group. Both negative and positive communication and social integrations will support cohesion as each member’s input will influence treatment while contributing to overall goals (Toseland & Rivas, 2017).

Family Dynamics

According to Zastrow et al. (2019) those closer to you i.e., family members may have stronger influence as opposed to others outside. The family presented lacked cohesion which effected the ability to communicate with one another per (2017). The lack of acceptance and understanding of the teenager inhibits social integration and contributed to ineffective communication patterns (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). This lack of understanding has resulting in ignorance of the teenagers presenting issue of feeling detached from the family as opposed to issues with anger (, 2017).


Family’s Influence on Treatment

Family norms influence dynamics as the culture is shaped upon the experiences. These dynamics the influences of family and emotional toll the interactions assume on the members effects treatment outcomes (Toseland & Rivas, 2017; (Zastrow et al., 2019). The social worker can assist by utilizing social work communication skills such as rephrasing and clarification to reiterate each members thoughts to aid the others with understanding everyone which is explained within Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Jr (2018). This can enhance cohesion and respect of others within the family while promoting the effectiveness treatment outcomes.


Group vs Family

The strong bonds and cultural norms within a family follow significant dynamics. The time invested within a family can hinder treatment as opposed to the lesser bond those within a group have not acquired. Socially acceptable norms are almost non-existent within the family as there are no outside standards to be held to. The group culture, due to lack of bonds follow interaction patterns which tend to be more formal while maintaining a sense of decorum in which a family does not tend to consider. Within either style, both have the opportunity to revert back to both positive and negative experiences to utilize with the intent to achieve treatment goals.


Drumm, K. (2006). The essential power of group work. Social Work with Groups, 29(2-3), 17-31.

Karen Kay Kirst-Ashman, & Grafton H Hull, Jr. (2018). Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). Cengage Learning. (Producer). (2011a). Group therapy:A live demonstration. [Video file]. Author. (2006a). The legacy of unresolved loss: A family system approach

Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Pearson.

Zastrow, C., Karen Kay Kirst-Ashman, & Hessenauer, S. L. (2019). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (11th ed.). Cengage.

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