Gerard has just completed his new book on group facilitation. Two years in the writing and 80,000 words in length, the book brings us into the heart of groups.
The book is primarily aimed at those who work, or wish to work, as facilitators in a range of settings. It embarks by looking at what it is like for participants, particularly those from a disadvantaged background, to enter a new group: most feel apprehensive and vulnerable. The facilitator wants to ‘encounter’ said participants and facilitate their becoming part of a cohesive, growthful unit so that they leave the group transformed by their experience.
The book argues that the needs of participants drive the skills, qualities, beliefs and overarching vision that the facilitator needs to acquire in order to practice successfully and meet the needs of the group members. The facilitator, being human, is neither omniscient nor omnipotent and must undergo continual growth and development in seeking to achieve this end.
The book tracks the facilitator as he seeks to identify and acquire said skills, develop clarity as to his overarching vision and work on his own ongoing development. Stories from the author’s journey, including mistakes and successes, backbone the text. The book also looks at the area of group dynamics and deals with conflict in groups. The last chapter presents case studies of groups in action, though the voices of participants pepper the text throughout.
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