Christian Recovery Group Rule of No Interrupting

Interrupting in Group Counseling Situations has a Negative Impact

Books and a Proverb Photo Background
It is critical in group situations that people are allowed to complete their thoughts. Both the facilitators and the group members should not interrupt for any reason, unless the person talking begins to ramble or veer from the original subject or questions. It is the facilitator's job to monitor conversations and discussions.

Some participants may feel anxious while someone is talking and they tend to interrupt as a way of escaping their feelings. Smiling or smirking can be a form of interrupting, whether subtle or overt. A good facilitator will pay attention to body language and will know how to use certain clues to bring out a core issues.

Some group members will use humor as a way of interrupting. It is good to have a sense of humor, but never allow humor as a defense or to override emotions. It is not appropriate to use humor when someone is talking about deep-rooted issues. They will not heal if the process is interrupted by humor or some other form of side-tracking in uncomfortable situations.

If not properly trained, a co-facilitator can inappropriately interrupt. Since the co-facilitator is modeling group etiquette, this kind of interruption will have others in the group mimicking the behavior. It is better for co-facilitators to stay silent than to speak over the leader or group members.

A good skill for the group facilitator to learn is active listening. In order to be an active listener, the facilitator must pay attention to what is being said and what is not being said. They are looking at body language as well as listening to words. It is attending to the person right where they are at.

Sometimes the facilitator can be interrupting while thinking they are doing their job. If the facilitator is trying to find a clever comeback instead of really listening, they can shut a person down.

A good group counselor needs to be able to summarize and reflect the feelings behind a participant's words. This way, the speaker will know they are being heard and respected. By summarizing instead of interrupting, one is attending to the needs of all the people present in the group. When a counselor feels like interrupting because a person is going on and on, summarizing is a good way to get them to stop talking. The group members will appreciate this skill.

It is important for the facilitator to demonstrate how to be emotionally present during the group process so others can follow their direction.

Facilitators are not there just to hear themselves talk. They need to make their words count. If a facilitator is insecure and needs to be the center of attention, perhaps Christian counseling is not the appropriate ministry or profession for them.

Written by: Sherry Colby