Developing a Military Therapeutic Group or a Team Building Concept Research Proposal

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Military Therapeutic Group

Introduction and Type of Grou

Being a military personnel member on active duty is by nature a stressful profession. When the stress of uncertainty, particularly during combat situations, need to be balanced with family life, stress is often compounded. Also exacerbating the problem is the fact that many soldiers do not feel that they can share their stress with their spouses, family members or even friends, because they either do not wish to appear weak or do not feel that the respective listeners would understand their particular situation.

In order to handle this problem, it is proposed that a therapeutic group for military personnel be created where soldiers can freely share their experiences and stressors with others in a supportive and understanding environment. They will also be able to gain skills to deal with their particular situations, helping to mitigate the effect of stress upon themselves and also upon their family members.

Although studies have indicated that such groups do not have an effect upon the later development of post traumatic stress disorder, Kennedy (2009) contends that the duration of therapy is a significant factor in the effectiveness or lack thereof in these groups. In the military setup, any attempt to mitigate stress could prevent the often tragic consequences of indefinitely ignoring the problem.

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The target population will be male and female military personnel, aged between 25 and 40 years old, with families including one or more child. To gain access to this population, advertisement methods such as the Internet and notice boards will be used. Permission will be obtained from the managing body of the military base in question.

II. Rationale.

Research Proposal on Developing a Military Therapeutic Group or a Team Building Concept Assignment

The specific reasons for wanting to develop this group is simply that military personnel form the lifeblood of the protection that civilians enjoy. These personnel members are however often forgotten in terms of their own needs and the difficulties they face during their work on missions, while also having to handle possible stress factors that relate to their family lives. Such stressors often manifest themselves in unacceptable ways when they are simply internalized; military personnel may for example become victims of drug abuse, the urge to abuse family members, or even to commit murder. These tragedies can be prevented by providing a platform from which personnel members who struggle with stress can voice their concerns in a non-judgmental and supportive environment.

Personally, forming this group is important to me because I feel that military personnel form a very important part of our lives, although we hardly even notice them. They deserve much more care, attention and praise than they currently receive. I believe that starting a group like this is a small way to show not only appreciation but also support and understanding for the often dire situations they often have to deal with.

III. Objectives and Outcomes

The objectives of the group will be to create strategies that military personnel can use to handle stress in both the work and home environment; to find a constructive balance between their work and family lives; to handle issues like having to leave for a distant combat zone; to be able to return to normal life when returning from such a combat zone; and to communicate effectively with their family members regarding the traumatic experiences they had.

In order to reach these goals, communication strategies will be learned and exercised within the group. Each member will learn to communicate his or her specific problems within the support of the group setup. This will occur in a repetitive way, so that communicating within the family, where trust and support are also expected, will become a natural process.

When all group members demonstrate a willingness to communicate openly about the stress factors they experience in the workplace and at home; and when they can handle conflict situations within the group with ease, the objectives will be considered to be met.

IV. Marketing or Recruiting

The group will be advertised by means of notice boards at the military base, as well as the online notice board provided by the local service provider for the military. Because it is expected that soldiers will not want to openly indicate their need for such a group, both an email address and phone number will be provided for discreet contact.

V. Screening and Selection of Group Members.

The desired member traits for the group will be the 25-40-year age group. Members should have families including at least one child. They should be aware of experiencing significant stress, and they should feel that they need to work on the problem. They should also be willing to work on the problem within a group setup.

The most desirable number of members in the group is less than 10. New people will be allowed to join up to 15 group members. Group members will be allowed to join voluntarily -- only those who recognize their stress levels as significant and want to resolve their stress-related issues need to apply, but membership is not compulsory.

Screening questions will surround issues of stress and how personnel experience stress in their lives. The main criteria will be that potential group members must feel that they are experiencing significant stress in their lives. They must feel that this is affecting their families, and they must believe it necessary to work on the problem.

Members with a history of mental problems or existing post traumatic stress disorder will be referred to a trained professional who can assign them to groups that are specifically focused to handle such problems. The group to be formed will not cater to severe mental conditions, but is designed only to handle situations where stress is a significant factor that threatens to, but has not yet dislodged mental stability. The aim is to prevent such instability from occurring.

Those who simply wish to work on their communications problems who do not feel that stress is a specific problem will also be referred to other groups for this purpose, as the group in question is designed to specifically work on stress problems and its effect upon the family lives of personnel members.

VI. Selection of Group Leader(s).

The group will be fairly informal, but it is recommended that group leaders have some qualification in psychology, sociology, or other direction related to dealing with stress. It is also expected that team leaders have expertise and skills in team leadership; ideally having led teams within the military workplace.

The most important trait of the required leader is that he or she must inspire trust (Adams and Webb, p.2). The nature of the group's focus will require a considerable investment in trusting not only group leaders, but also the other group members. A team leader must be able to accomplish and inspire such trust among the group members. This will be the basis for the open and honest communication that is the goals of group's meetings.

A collaborative leadership style (Clark, 2005) is expected to be ideal for the group situation in question. The group leader is expected not only to lead the group, but to work with them to achieve the desired outcomes. Hence the importance of implicit trust.

Specifically, I would prefer co-leadership on a rotation basis. Initially, I will act as the team leader, but as the group members begin to function together, natural leaders may emerge. I would like to give each of these leaders an opportunity to act as leader, perhaps on a weekly or biweekly basis. This will be subject to the group dynamic; it is not a certainty that rotating leadership will be a good strategy, especially in terms of trust. I will however let the team itself determine the viability of this strategy.

Preferably, the group meetings should take place at a location on the military premises. This will be discussed and cleared with management. It is important that the location be reasonably private and discreet because of the sensitive nature of the group's premise.

Weekly meetings will be held, where the duration is one or two hours per meeting, depending on the session dynamic. There will be one or two breaks during each meeting, depending upon the duration of the session. Refreshments will be served during each meeting, in the form of drinks and light snacks.

VII. Structure and Ground Rules.

Group members will be prepared for the group experience by first emphasizing the importance not only of interpersonal trust, but also of respect among team members. Rules will for example include no interruption when an individual or the leader is speaking. Each person will however have the opportunity to speak or raise an opinion, as long as this is done in an orderly and respectful way. Feedback will be given by leaders and other group members.

The group structure will be open, with loose seats usually arranged in a circle. The group will sometimes divide into smaller groups of two or three members each -- chairs will be moved appropriately. There will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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