Group Skills/Tea Group Problems/Solutions: What Doesn't Work/What Works
(Lessons learned in facilitating a Tea Group)
- Problem: Having different people in the group each week.
Solution: Keeping the same people in the group each week - creates cohesiveness and familiarity.
- Problem: Giving each person their own tea bag and cup of water. *problem - some residents were attempting to eat the tea bags or didn't know what to do with them.
Solution: Having a carafe of hot water available. Asking residents: how many tea bags should be used; their preference for strength of tea, weak, medium or strong. Asking an appropriate resident to pour the tea, the others to pass the cups, cream, sugar and cookies.
- Problem: Some residents go to the dining room for the group but leave before others arrive.
Solution: Having one of the facilitators in the dining room to greet the residents as they arrive. Asking the residents to help set the table, help make the tea, greet other residents as they come in etc.
- Problem: Others not in the group wanting to join in and feeling left out.
Solution: Setting up a separate group that anyone can attend in another place for the same time as Tea Group, such as an informal coffee, tea or soda social.
- Problem: Residents leaving the group early.
Solution: Thanking them for coming and welcoming them to come again the next time.
- Problem: One person taking most of the cookies.
Solution: Treating the resident as an adult by politely saying: Mary, there are other people who haven't had cookies yet, could you leave some for them and pass them on? (The answer is usually "Oh, I didn't know. Sure I will.")
- Problem: One person being mean to another in the group.
Solution: Asking for their help in helping everyone to feel good about coming to the group: "We all come here to have a good time and talk to each other. Can you help us to make Jerry feel glad he came?"
- Problem: One person dominating the entire conversation.
Solution: Saying: e.g. "Thank you for sharing that John. Let's see if Mary has anything to add." Ask each resident that has not spoken about a similar subject: "John did you barbeque for your family?"
- Problem: Someone is sleeping, drowsy, or not talking.
Solution: Asking if (s)he would like more tea or cookies. Then, politely asking for their input on the conversation: "John, was talking about cooking hot dogs over the open fire when he went camping. Did you ever go camping?"
- Problem: Others wandering into the dining room.
Solution: Keeping the door shut during Tea Group to prevent distractions and unexpected guests from entering.
- Problem: Staff referring to Tea Group as a tea party that everyone can attend and bringing a resident that does not belong to the group to join.
Solution: Telling the staff person that the resident is welcome to go to the tea social in the other room. Reminding staff that Tea Group works best when the same people, who have been carefully selected for the group, can attend and form a bond with each other. Inviting the staff member to come to the next group.