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The Concept of Ethics in Groups Research Paper


Abstract

Understanding group dynamics plays a crucial role in increasing the level of success in a group. Ethics plays a crucial role in the contemporary society where people are interacting at a higher level. This research paper will discuss the concept of ethics in groups. According to theories of group dynamics, groups have ethical responsibilities that they ought to meet through their objectives and members. Groups also have an ethical responsibility of promoting diversity through its members.

Although groups have collective ethical responsibilities to fulfill, individual members also have their own obligations to fulfill. A group where members lack objectivity has very little chances of achieving success. The reason for this is that people do not feel the responsibility of promoting ethical practices. In the contemporary society, people are increasingly seeking the services of therapists and counselors in dealing with their private matters. People have a choice between group therapy and individual therapy.

Introduction

Group dynamics refers to the general study of group processes and forces that dictate their operations. It entails a coordination of demeanors and mental processes that occur in a group. Understanding group dynamics plays a crucial role in increasing the level of success in a group. Groups constitute a number of individuals with different skills, abilities, needs, interests, level of influence, and demeanors (Corey, Corey, & Callahan, 2006).

A group develops well when all members have a sense of belonging brought about by shared goals and objectives. Once a group has been formed, certain guidelines apply in dictating the manner in which they will be organized, lead, and elevated to a higher position. The guidelines act as norms that dictate attitude and behavior among group members. According to various theories of group dynamics, norms play a crucial role in the development of groups by guiding behavior and reducing uncertainty.

Ethics is a good example of a group norm that characterizes good and bad members (Strain & Robinson, 2005). Ethics plays a crucial role in the contemporary world. Members in a group have an ethical responsibility of ensuring that they uphold moral values. They should be motivated by the desire to remain true each other, as well as uphold the principles of right and wrong. The concept of group dynamics also applies in providing care and treatment. This research paper will discuss the concept of group ethics in terms of the ethical issues unique to group therapy and the way they compare with those of individual therapy.

Ethics in groups

According to theories of group dynamics, groups have ethical responsibilities towards their objectives and individual members. First, groups should ensure that they are aggressively self-assured. Individuals in a group have different abilities that provide the right capacity to be motivated towards meeting their goals and objectives (May, Cheney, & Munshi, 2010). Second, group members should conduct themselves in a manner that promotes the values and interests of their group.

It is important for members to develop a sense of belonging to their social unit because their actions have a direct impact on the development and success of the group. Third, members should show great commitment to promoting equality in their group. It is important to ensure that there is mutual respect between members in a group (Corey et al., 2006). Equality in a group also entails allowing every member an equal chance to contribute to group activities. This helps members to avoid looking down on each other. Fourth, leaders within a group have an ethical responsibility of modeling proper conduct for others to follow.

Groups also have an ethical responsibility of promoting diversity among its members (Berne, 1999). Although group members draw their motivation from having a shared vision, it is important to increase its capacity to achieve prolonged success and stability by ensuring members have different abilities. A group rich in diversity is very successful because they have an easy time in determining the purpose, procedures, and roles played by every member.

Another ethical responsibility that groups have is acknowledgement and effective management of conflicts. Conflicts are very common in groups, especially those with a higher level of diversity (Berne, 1999). However, the difference between successful and unsuccessful groups is the ability to deal with conflicts in a manner that strengthens them rather than weakening them.

One of the most effective ways of managing conflicts in a group is promoting good communication skills (Berne, 1999). An open and inclusive system of communication helps to eliminate any negative impacts of conflicts in a group. Groups should create an environment that promotes open communication, encourages teamwork, and at the same time daunting competition (Strain & Robinson, 2005). Other crucial ethical responsibilities for groups include performance appraisal, advancing an inclusive culture, and even distribution of responsibilities.

Ethical obligations of individuals in a group

Individuals in a group should ensure that they understand their roles in promoting ethical practices. The bible teaches about individual human responsibility by cautioning people against blaming others for their problems. God expects everyone to take full responsibility for his or her life and contribute towards a common interest whenever needed (Barlow, 2013).

First, individuals should ensure that they understand the purpose of the group and the objectives it intends to meet through its members. It is important to ensure that members in a group understand it purpose in order to promote accountability. This increases the capacity of a group to achieve prolonged success because all members will give their maximum output (Corey et al., 2006).

Second, individuals have an ethical responsibility to ensure that they develop an equal distribution between their needs and those of the group. Developing a balance between the two needs ensures that members do not compromise the capacity of the group to achieve its mission and goals within the planned timeframe (Ellis, 2001). It also ensures that both the group and individual members compliment each other in terms of being satisfied.

Third, individuals in a group should ensure that they remain together for the sake of achieving the common good. It is very important to ensure that all members in a group stick together at all times. However, the ability of a group to achieve this feat depends on how individual members will conduct themselves. Ensuring mutual respect among group members plays a crucial role in promoting cohesiveness (May et al., 2010).

Individual members also have a huge responsibility of ensuring that they understand their roles in a democratic system. Groups apply a democratic system, which requires all members to actively, participate in promoting its values through their engagements. The process also has certain limitations and all members have a responsibility to understand them to ensure that they do not negatively influence important processes such as decision-making (Strain & Robinson, 2005).

Finally, individual members have an ethical responsibility to ensure that they develop an objective towards the functions of a group. Judgment based on observable phenomena and influenced by personal prejudice plays a crucial role in the dynamics of a group. A group where members lack objectivity endures a number of challenges in terms of achieving success because people do not feel the responsibility of ensuring that they have to play their role effectively for others to do the same (Corey et al., 2006). Developing an emotional attachment towards a group’s element is very crucial to success.

Ethical issues in group therapy and individual counseling

In the contemporary society, people are increasingly seeking the services of therapists and counselors in dealing with their private matters. Therapists and counselors do a very delicate job that requires them to observe a high degree of ethical behavior. They often deal with issues affecting groups or individuals. Counseling an individual or a group has numerous ethical challenges (Slavson, 2004).

Therapists and counselors work under professions that have certain ethical values, which they promote through their work. In every profession, ethics apply in articulating the required qualities that an individual ought to demonstrate through his or her work. The ethical values may be different, but they all serve a common goal of making the good and avoiding the bad (Volkmann, 2010).

Therapists and counselors have different experiences when they work with individuals or groups. The two sets of clients have different demands, capacity for achieving success, and degree of comprehension. Both group and individual therapy focus on improving the personal strength, attitude, confidence, and self-esteem of individuals (Slavson, 2004).

Group therapy refers to the process of providing care to clients through interaction with a group of people beyond their usual social circles. It involves socializing and sharing ones issues with strangers. This means that people involved in group therapy can either have similar needs or have different backgrounds and issues (Barlow, 2013).

A therapist has an ethical responsibility of ensuring that they consider the needs of all individuals in a group. A therapist who engages in dealing with groups have specialized training on important aspects of group dynamics. This enables them to have a quick comprehension of the different needs within a group and the best approach to apply. In group therapy, the general ethical principles apply (Barlow, 2013).

Group therapists have an ethical responsibility to ensure that all members have an equal opportunity to express themselves (Slavson, 2004). Even the bible teaches against radical individualism. They should also ensure that members do not feel victimized because of their experiences or shortcomings. Group therapists are concerned with identifying the characteristic elements of their immediate group of clients and dealing with their dynamics.

Group therapists have the ability to identify all the engagements that emerge from the interactions between clients, the best feedback to give, and analyzing the reaction of clients depending on the submission offered. Studies have shown that most therapists prefer to use the group therapy to the individual therapy because it is cost effective (Volkmann, 2010).

On the other hand, individual therapy involves the provision of services to clients by engaging them one on one with a therapist. This approach is quite different from group therapy because it allows a therapist to concentrate fully on one client and offer their best output (Slavson, 2004). A client presents a set of specific concerns that a therapist can focus on resolving without having to worry about anything else. The interaction between a client and a therapist has its own dynamics.

The causal effect of these dynamics is a therapeutic feeling by the client who feels relieved and more concerned about improving his or her situation. Individual therapy applies on a short-term basis because a therapist only needs to interact with a client for a short period. In addition, individual therapy has a higher chance of solving an individual’s problem compared to group therapy (Barlow, 2013). The reason being that in individual therapy helps an individual to establish the problem, explore their feelings, acknowledging any impending obstacles, and setting goals that help in resolving the problem.

Another advantage of individual therapy is that it helps an individual to increase his or her emotional and personal strength through the physical interaction with a therapist. Some of the factors that can influence the effectiveness of individual therapy include attitude, location, passion, and the work experience of a therapist among others (Strain & Robinson, 2005). Therapist have an ethical responsibility to ensure that there clients are comfortable with the location of their interactive session. This is important because choosing a favorable location will allow a client to have a positive attitude towards the process.

Group therapy vs. Individual therapy

Studies have shown that therapist choose to either use group therapy or individual therapy because of certain reasons. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, which influence the choice of therapists (DeRubeis, & Crits-Christoph, 2006). A therapy group comprises a few specially trained therapists who interact with an average group of seven people. The therapists offer group members a chance to express themselves and offer feedback to each other depending on how they comprehend their situations.

The first requirement for members when they start their therapy is to state the reason why Group therapy provides individuals suffering from various situations with a free and secure environment in which they experiment on new things that can help in breaking their challenging patterns (Slavson, 2004). The same case applies with individual therapy, only that in its case only one individual gets involved in the interaction with a therapist.

One of the main advantages of having therapy is that it increases the capacity of an individual to lead a life that they can enjoy. Therapy also helps an individual to have better relationships because they are able to reflect on their mistakes and develop better connections with people. However, these benefits can be acquired through either individual therapy or group therapy (DeRubeis, & Crits-Christoph, 2006). The therapist can choose either of the approaches depending on the objective and mission they want to fulfill.

Therapists can choose a group therapy over individual therapy for a number of reasons. First, group therapy is more effective because individuals can learn to deal better with problems as they easily learn from others. Individuals involved in group therapy have a higher chance of dealing with their problems in an effective manner because they will learn numerous strategies from others (DeRubeis, & Crits-Christoph, 2006).

Second, group therapy is better because it provides individuals with emotional support on the basis that there are others undergoing a similar experience as theirs. It is easier for people to deal with their challenges when they know their situations are not exclusive. Group therapy brings together people with similar needs and interests. The exposure they receive on the problems of others makes them accept their situation and agree to seek help (Ellis, 2001).

Third, group therapy plays a crucial role in helping individuals who go for therapy sessions to move on from their past and embrace a new opportunity to start all over again (Fals-Stewart, Marks, & Schafer, 1993). However, it is important to understand that group therapy does not guarantee to entirely, solve an individual’s problem, but it provides a better avenue for managing them effectively through professional assistance. Group therapy provides individuals who have lost hope and direction with a chance to communicate freely and express themselves without any fear of prejudice (Volkmann, 2010).

On the other hand, individual therapy also has benefits that make certain therapists and individuals to choose it over group therapy. First, individual therapy helps an individual to enhance their life skills and develop a different approach to life (Fals-Stewart et al., 1993). These skills and perspectives enable people to break patterns of the problems troubling them.

Some of the problems addressed through individual therapy include apprehension, hopelessness, and low self-esteem among others. Second, individual therapy allows an individual to restore their ability to be responsible and in control of their life. Unlike in group therapy where everything is done collectively, individual therapy allows for a deep analysis of individual situations life (Fals-Stewart et al., 1993). This makes it easy for therapists to develop an effective treatment plan for the patient.

Third, individual therapy allows an individual to have a personalized schedule for attending to various needs. The attention given to a patient in individual therapy makes it easy for therapists to guide them on the best way to plan their time to accommodate all their needs life (Fals-Stewart et al., 1993). However, the challenge with individual therapy is that people do not get a chance to meet people with similar needs and situations as theirs, thus slowing the healing process.

Conclusion

Over the last couple of years, people have turned to the services of professional psychotherapists to help them in solving their problems. People undergo numerous life experiences that often lead to an imbalance in their wholeness. Studies have shown that people tend to organize themselves into moral support groups, which help them in dealing with their situations. These groups are formed based on similar needs, problems, and interests.

Understanding group dynamics and their ethical responsibilities go a long way in helping individuals gain benefits from their social groups. However, others do not fancy the need to be in groups, and opt to receive their therapy directly from therapists. Individual therapy may also provide the healing, but does not offer the same experience as group therapy. Therapy is important because it helps people to boost their self-esteem, confidence, have better relationships, reduce stress, and develop different perceptions about life. Some of the problems addressed through individual therapy include apprehension, hopelessness, and low self-esteem among others.

References

Barlow, S. (2013). Specialty competences in group psychology. British Journal of Psychology, 104(4), 234-257.

Berne, E. (1999). Transactional analysis in psychotherapy: A systematic individual and social psychiatry. American Psychological Association Journal, 23(9), 102-125.

Corey, G., Corey, M., & Callahan, P. (2006). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. British Journal of Psychology, 100(2), 101-114.

DeRubeis, R. J., & Crits-Christoph, P. (2006). Empirically supported individual and group psychological treatments for adult mental disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(1), 37-52.

Ellis, A. (2001). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. American Psychological Association Journal, 30(2), 40-52.

Fals-Stewart, W., Marks, A. P., & Schafer, J. (1993). A comparison of behavioral group therapy and individual behavior in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 181(3), 26-67.

May, S., Cheney, G., & Munshi, D. (2010). Ethics in counseling & psychotherapy. British

Journal of Psychology, 101(5), 23-79.

Slavson, S. R. (2004). An introduction to group therapy. American Psychological Association Journal, 3(6), 21-36.

Strain, J., & Robinson, S. (2005). The teaching and practice of professional ethics. The

Journal of Physiology, 522(4), 45-69.

Volkmann, J. (2010). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling. American Association of

Critical-Care Nurses Journal, 5(1), 30-88.

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