Overcoming Termination Challenges

Overcoming Termination Challenges

One of the most challenging things that individuals are dealing with is the loss of their loved ones. Every individual deals with loss in a different way. Most of them are advised to join social work support groups. These groups provide them with a space to share, find support and express their feeling on how they are dealing with loss (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). A grief support group provides individuals an opportunity to meet other people sharing the same experiences and thus understand what they are going through. As a social worker, I would like to lead a grief support group and help individuals dealing with loss through the grief process.

Description of the group

Talking with other people who are experiencing the same kind of loss can help people navigate their grief. To lead a support group means that I should bring my experiences with grief and my compassionate attention to people who are gathering to find balance in life. According to American Hospice Foundation, a social worker’s ability to recognize other people’s symptoms of grief, willingness to listen, and his or her responses as one who has experienced grief will help in forming critical components in healthy support grief (Norcross et al., 2017). As a leader, I should be able to understand what every individual is going through and help them create effective coping strategies that will help them through the grief process.

A grief support group is a judgment-free zone that focuses on helping people who are going through or have gone through loss interact with other people who have gone through the same experience. The group provides activities and forums ranging from more specific issues such as the loss of a family member to generic loss. The group is open to all public members and licensed social workers and specialists provide workshops for both adults and children going through the grief process (Riva & Smith, 2017). In a supportive and calm environment, this group helps people understand the grief process and help them learn ways of managing grief and find the strength to heal. Most services in this group are offered for free to every individual regardless of where they come from. Led by a social worker this support group brings individuals together to console each other, share feelings, or simply listen and observe. In the interactive group sessions, specific issues and topics are discussed and significant activities are conducted including yoga, writing, and emotional empowerment.

Challenges for termination of the group

There are several issues I might encounter that would create significant challenges for the termination of the grief support group. The approach to termination can be a psychic shock in which group members are likely to react according to their techniques of coping with anxiety. When the group is about to be terminated one of the major issues is how separation can be handled with the least personal discomfort (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). Group members are likely to look for ways that will help them avoid the reality of the group ending and when this fails, it may lead to disorganization. At the time when the group members will be trying, there is likely to be a growing acknowledgment of termination finality and willingness to accomplish termination. However, there may be great tension between these desires which may manifest in different variety of contradictory and confusing behavior.

Denial is also a major issue that can bring significant challenges during the termination of the grief support group. Group members are likely to claim or express surprises that they have forgotten concerning the end of the group (Norcross et al., 2017). This may become challenging to initiate the termination process and it may lead to negative outcomes. Group members may also plan to continue with the group after the formal termination or may look forward to reunions. Another issue that may arise is regression. This may happen when a group member slides back into earlier relationship patterns and group experiences followed by increased dependence on the social worker. As a social worker, I may attempt to reactivate the needs and problems that led to the original formation of the group.

There is also the issue of flight which is an aggressive and destructive behavior directed towards the social worker, activity, equipment, or each other. Group members are more likely to join other groups or drop out early (Riva & Smith, 2017). As the grief support group moves towards the conclusion, as a social worker, I may become the central figure and my main task will be to help members move away and let them off. However, this can be emotionally distressing for not only the members and it can make significant impacts on me as I try to deal with my separation issues. The longer the group the more pronounced and visible in their distress and anger of group rumination. These issues may bring significant challenges during the termination and there is a need for effective strategies.

How to constructively terminate the group

Most of the skills needed to terminate an individual therapy are also needed to terminate group counseling. There are significant aspects I should consider to terminate the grief support group and avoid termination challenges. During the termination stages, the interests and investments of the group members in the group may begin to wane and it is my main job to emphasize moving away from the group and moving towards members’ community, other groups of their workplaces (Norcross et al., 2017). One important thing I will consider is completing all the group tasks. My main aim will be to resolve and complete all the remaining tasks left within the group and attention to all the prolonging and belaying activities. I will be alerted for any overenthusiastic approach from the members which suggests the desire to preclude or deny the group ends. I need to become visible with my expectations that group members should complete all their tasks and join others for the completion of the group therapy.

As a social worker, I should be conscious of my group’ timeline and communicate the timeline to the members of the group group. I will provide a set member of sessions, to allow the group members to anticipate the conclusion of the group session. During the termination stage, participants are likely to become more reliant on advice and group support and may be fearful that the support group reality is removed (Toseland & Rivas, 2017). To end the grief support group successfully, I should consider presenting proposals to group members concerning strategies hey can use and the knowledge gained from the group in their daily lives. I can also help them anticipate and brainstorm the challenges that may arise during the termination stage of the group. It is also critical to allow provide them with enough time for constructive feedback. This includes feedback from the group members as well as leaders. I can also help the group members process their feelings concerning termination and make myself available for members who would need individual counseling.











Norcross, J. C., Zimmerman, B. E., Greenberg, R. P., & Swift, J. K. (2017). Do all therapists do that when saying goodbye? A study of commonalities in termination behaviors. Psychotherapy54(1), 66. https://doi.org/10.1037/pst0000097

Riva, M. T., & Smith, R. D. (2017). Termination in Group Therapy: The Neglected Stage. In The Group Therapist’s Notebook (pp. 245-253). London: Routledge.

Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). Ending the Group’s Work. In An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


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