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Working in Groups

Working in Groups

Working in groups is necessary for everyone’s life; be it in a school setting, at work, or seeking healthcare assistance through group counseling. Unfortunately, groups can easily end up being less productive especially if governance is not efficient and members do not agree on various issues (Chen & Rybak, 2017). As such, it is important to have group rules that guide the conduct of every member of the group. At the formation of the group, the leader should work together with the members to establish rules, norms, and ethical guidelines that would govern the group. This essay presents information that may be used when establishing those guidelines and rules.

            Ground rules are crucial for the success of any group and all aspects involved in running the group should be covered when establishing those rules. One of the main aspects that should be considered is about collective responsibility of all members. The group should discuss about how decisions should be made and the importance of collective responsibility. Another aspect that should be discussed is the need for full participation of all members or attendance. Group work relies on the strengths of individual members and as such allocation of tasks should be carried out effectively. The group should focus on allocating tasks based on expertise and experience. The group should also consider dignity and no group member should be hazed, humiliated or abused. Intimidation and violence should never be tolerated. If any member threatens to harm property or persons, they should be asked to leave the group.

Information about confidentiality should also be provided when establishing group rules. Anything that is said between two or more members of the group is considered as part of the group and as such is confidential. All group members should agree to keep secret all things that happen among the group members. Moreover, members should share crucial information that pertains to the group. Everything that happens should be kept secret from the outside but should not be kept secret from the group members. However, there is an exception where the group leader can break this rule if one of the group members is in danger. Another aspect that should be considered when making group rules is privacy. No members should be forced into things that they are uncomfortable. Members should understand that they have the right to refuse or to pass. The group should also discuss the issue of exclusive relationships between group members and this should not be encouraged.

Most of the information discussed above to be considered when developing group rules have an ethical bearing. The guidelines give guidance for ethical conduct in the context of group counseling. The specific ethical codes that are covered include:

  • The principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence: Beneficence (do good) involves providing benefits to all people whereas nonmaleficence (do no harm) is the obligation of not inflicting harm intentionally (Ferreres, 2013). The information about group rules directly relates to this principle. For instance, privacy is associated with protecting members.
  • 10.1 Informed Consent: This code encourages open and active participation of group members and involves an explanation of the rights of members. Looking at the information on rules the right to refuse taking part in something that one is not comfortable is considered as related to this code.
  • 4.01 Maintaining confidentiality: This code involves protecting the group members. The rule is directly related to the information provided in establishing group rules.
  • 4.02 Limits of confidentiality: Confidentiality should have its limits. As has been explained above there is an exception to the confidentiality rule by the group leader if he/she believes that there is a potential danger and hence wants to keep everyone safe.


Chen, M. W., & Rybak, C. (2017). Group leadership skills: Interpersonal process in group counseling and therapy. SAGE Publications.

Ferreres, A. R. (2013). Ethical debate: the ethics of not performing extended lymphadenectomy in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. World journal of surgery, 37(8), 1821-1828.



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