This is my reply to a Group Therapy client [edited for clarity], who was very frustrated at getting negative feedback from a romantic partner about an issue he/she had worked long and hard on in group. Rating this goal and discussing it with the group helped the client understand that they Had made excellent progress, and to take responsibility only for their own behavior, not for their friend’s difficulties noticing the changes.
Your progress has brought you to an appropriate and powerful way to use written Goals in Group therapy, partly because rating oneself usually brings realistic re-focusing.
“10” on our 1 to 10 scale needs to represent “Good Enough” that I don’t want or need therapy for this goal anymore, certainly not Perfection, but “good enough”. My criteria for a Goal do change as I change, hopefully becoming more refined, with clearer, more specific, measurable behavioral definitions of a “10” This Greatly increases the probability of fulfilling my commitment to my desired outcomes. Reviewing the Goals handout, which can be Searched among my blog posts, will offer a more complete guide to effective goal construction in any kind of psychotherapy.
Refreshed/different motivation frequently results from rating my Goals, since now that I’ve progressed and/or “plateau-ed”, I see myself and my preferred outcome differently. I can feel good about my hard work and hard won progress, and realize I can discover new ways to move beyond this point.
The best way to pursue this is discussing during Group all thoughts and feelings about one’s self in relation to a particular goal. This usually brings strong support, as well as many different responses and perspectives from the leader and other member [who are your Co-Therapists], suggesting options and choices not previously considered. I have several ideas about how to move ahead with this fairly frequent goal in Group Therapy.
Group members’: 1] Thinking about that handout before next session will likely enhance the process; and 2] Reviewing the Goal Definition/Construction handout will also help everyone rate, and refine/clarify their own written goals, to help accomplish the changes wanted in their lives. I regularly and strongly suggest this exercise to all Group members.