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“Here and Now” in Group Facilitation


The concept of ‘here and now’ in group facilitation or psychotherapy has more relevance in interpersonal therapy and greatly influences group processes. It refers to the state of the conscious mind of the group members seen as the group reacts to circumstances or issues created in the context of the current situation. During this process, a member will respond emotionally but with great reflection in engaging other members. Others will follow suit; allowing their conscious understanding of what is shared. The topic may be introduced by the therapist who must allow the members to share raw contextual feelings (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 77).

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Phases of working in the ‘Here and Now’

The ‘here and now’ scenario follow norms that usually serve learning processes rather than the “there and then” attitude characteristic of an individual in the absence of another person to share with. The phases may be summarised as self-observation and feedback. Self-observation enables an individual to ‘look into himself’ and analyse self consciously. The result from the self-examination is shared without bias.

This follows an understanding from interpersonal cooperation that ensues. After the member has shared his/ her experience, the others may give the “feedback”. This may come in a personal view, experience, concurrence, or just acknowledging the contribution of the first member. The ‘here and now’ encourages the members to think and react to situations that affect them and their group members at present (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

Indicators of a group’s operation in the ‘Here and Now’

There are several indicators of conformity or otherwise to the ‘here and now’ of a group. These may result from varying views or just complete and unjustified adamant behaviour from a member or members (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141). Indications of operation in the ‘here and now’ state are in the establishment of agreeable rules for goal achievement and communication channels or through the questioning of other’s performance, confirming each other’s roles, discussing risky issues with confidence, being keen listeners and gaining assertiveness in advancing ideas while identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

The group will collectively seek solutions through a practical attempt to create, be flexible and initiative, and create open relationships, show concern, confidence and high morale toward the achievement of success. An example of conformity to the requirements of the “here and now” may be seen in the discussion sessions of a theatre youth group (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

Many individuals may be thinking that they should make friends and relations and possibly go out of the way to show their might to others out-stage, yet another would be thinking of showing the highest respect to the host and panel of judges just if that may add to their basket of qualifications, these may lay into deciding conformity to ‘here and now’ operations in the positive or in the negative. In the positive, the group will be rational to adhere to the purpose of presenting first even before contemplating construing another idea. The group will settle to perform, have another meeting after that to deliberate on another course of action (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

Signs that the group does not conform to the ‘here and now’ include non-involvement or a show of non-commitment, low morale and hidden feelings. The members will show a lack of interest in listening, lack of cohesion, conflicts, possible confrontation anger, resentment and volatility. This results in failure in goal achievement. In the case above, other members will contemplate slipping away without the other’s knowledge to engage in anti-group objectives, pick up quarrels in justification of their decisions or even threaten to derail the efforts so made through underperformance should their wishes not be guaranteed (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

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Activating of the ‘Here and Now’ in group facilitation

Activation of the “here and now” in group facilitation may involve a number of steps but are generally done through helping them to understand the common goal and using strategies to achieve the goal at hand (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141). The facilitator will strive to make understood the purpose and scope of the session by keeping the group on track. He should help them follow the ground rules and remind them time and again to stick to these rules.

This can be done by reminding the members of the deliverables or goals of such a session. The facilitator should ensure a rational environment where all contribute to the creation of ideas while helping them to tolerate and listen to each other’s opinions. Through asking open-ended questions, the facilitator can stimulate the thinking of members. Occasionally, he should repeat verbatim from members to affirm such statements and let them be appreciated by others. In all these, an opportunity should be reserved for the less forceful members to contribute and all actions proposed should be written down (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

The cohesiveness stage of a group process

Group cohesion may be rapid or elusive depending on the understanding formed either by individual variables, environmental influences or the influence of tasks to be achieved by the group. The usual steps in the group may include group forming, the storming process stage, the norming stage and finally, the conforming stage. At the forming stage, members are quite uncertain about their objectives and how to achieve them. They will rely on the facilitator for direction.

The group then starts to ‘storm’ over issues affecting them. This usually causes conflicts and subgroups will arise. Rules may be broken at his stage and members struggle to maintain their identity as individuals (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 53). The norming stage then set in. At this stage, the maturity of the group starts to develop. Norm development takes place as members grow in maturity and understanding develops along with established common bonding rules.

This stage is very much usually referred to as the start of cohesion. The final stage is that of conformity. Individuals have resolved their differences and there is an increased degree of construction. The members direct their energy to the tasks at hand. Cohesion can be seen in the maturity of members through a positive reference for members and their opinions, adaptation to a point that does not necessarily agree with ones, and a liking for compromise. (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 53).

During this period, the therapist may show such strengths as experience that is trusted in the formative stages. The therapist enjoys acceptance from the group members through a show of understanding, confidence and patience. The guidance enjoys the flexibility of the therapist as he/she ensures balanced contribution. Unfortunately, submitting to openness and sharing of greater secrets may expose a therapist as a meddler. In the squabbles characterising formation, the therapist may also lose patience or show a lack of confidence in settling an issue by not being initiative. Indifference to a point of view of members or to the objective being discussed or a show of superiority may also expose the therapist as weak (Yalom and Leszcz, 2005, p. 141).

Cohesion in a group is a function of group maturity and an indication of adherence to norms and rules set by the group members. The therapist should be able to have a greater understanding of the problems at hand more to assist the group more. All actions, therefore, championed by the therapist should reflect on the ultimate goals or deliverables as championed by the groups.

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Works Cited

Yalom, D. and Leszcz, M. (2005). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. 5th Ed. NewYork: Basic Books, pp.1-200.

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