Re-Cycling Through the Group Process
Groups may proceed through the three stages quickly or slowly; they may fixate at any given stage, or they may move quickly through some and slowly through others. If they do indeed complete all three stages, however, and have sufficient time left in their life together, they will again recycle through the stages. This additional development will lead to deeper insight, accomplishment of each significant task (or lack thereof). the group must again address the issues of inclusion (What does it mean to be a member now?); control (Who will influence now? How?); and affection (How close and personal can we be? How much can we trust each other?) If the group has learned from its past experiences, following cycles will be substantially easier.
As in any human development process, the group development cycle has pitfalls. Inattention to possible traps may result in more frustration and anxiety than is needed in the respective stage. If no learning or insight is gained along the way through the cycle, groups will ponder, “Why are we doing or going through all of this again?” Groups must be attentive to their process and learn through it.
Groups may also re-cycle back to a previous stage before completing the full cycle for a number of reasons.
Additions or deletions may require returning to Stage I
- Change in the composition of the group.
- Change in the charge of the group back to Stage I
- Inattention to the needed activities in a stage will sooner or later require a return to that stage.