2020-21 Program

Trainees selected for the 2020-21 program receive intensive training and experience in facilitating groups over the course of four academic quarters.

Winter 2020: Cohort Training

The first quarter consists of intensive cohort training sessions and T-groups, including a weekend retreat. Training sessions begin in January 2020.

Structure of Winter Quarter

Weekly training sessions are structured to track the experience that our students have over the quarter and includes short lecturettes, pair and small group activities, and time for T-grouping. Trainees will receive a student course reader and will experience many of the same activities as the students. Trainees will also do some of the assignments that the students do as a way to prepare for training activities. Toward the end of winter quarter trainees will have a weekend T-group retreat, just as the students do. At the end of the winter quarter, trainees will write a short paper reflecting on what they have learned and will identify learning goals they want to work on in the following quarter. Trainees will meet individually with the training faculty to reflect on the learning, as well as learning goals for the future.

Peer Learning and Support Group

A unique opportunity for trainees is participation in their own ongoing T-group. The T-group format gives trainees an opportunity to examine their own issues in a way that is not possible in student groups - which are, understandably, primarily aimed at student, not facilitator, needs. It is also an opportunity to get to know an amazing group of people and to build a close community. The entire group debriefs the practice facilitation sessions to identify learnings about facilitation.

Journal and Final Paper

Students in the Interpersonal Dynamics course are required to keep a confidential learning journal focusing on their weekly learning goals and their efforts to address their learning goals through their T-group participation. Trainees are strongly encouraged to do the same. The journal will prove invaluable when writing a final paper at the end of the quarter.

Preparation for Spring Quarter

At the end of winter quarter a community session will bring together all trainees with the co-facilitators and faculty with whom they will work in spring quarter. Trainees have time to build relationships with their co-facilitator and begin the process of group formation for spring clinics.

Progress in the Program Is Not Automatic and Is Dependent on Readiness and Fit to the Program, as Determined by the Faculty

Most trainees will complete the program and go on to work in our facilitator community with students. Progress, however, is not automatic. If at any point faculty determine that a trainee is not exhibiting skills and behavior needed to participate in the training activity, or is not ready to work as a facilitator with students, that trainee will be exited from the program, or in limited circumstances offered a development path.

At the end of winter quarter a community session will bring together all trainees with the co-facilitators and faculty with whom they will work in spring quarter. Trainees have time to build relationships with their co-facilitator and begin the process of group formation for spring clinics.

Spring 2020: First Quarter of Facilitating Student Groups

In Spring 2020 trainees begin co-facilitation, weekly clinics, and coursework.

Co-Facilitating

Trainees will co-facilitate with an experienced facilitator, who will serve as a mentor.

Weekly Clinic

Apart from facilitation itself, the most important ongoing learning events are weekly two-hour “clinics.” Trainees and co-facilitators both participate in clinics, which are led by the faculty member teaching their section of the course. Clinic meetings provide a supportive learning environment for all facilitators, both trainees and experienced facilitators. Typically, facilitators surface issues arising in their student group and work with other members of the clinic to explore different ways these issues could be addressed. Specific attention is paid to the “here and now” working relationship of each of the three co-facilitating teams since the quality of this working relationship often reflects group issues and is the best predictor of a trainee’s overall feeling of success with this learning experience.

Course Readings, Class Activities and Homework

Trainees (and facilitators) are expected to read and keep up to date on the course material used by the students over the ten weeks of the class. Facilitators regularly participate in class activities and will need to be current on the reading and homework in order to participate effectively. While class activities and readings are similar across all Interpersonal Dynamics sessions, each faculty member has their own set of readings and concepts they like best. Part of learning to be a Stanford GSB facilitator is recognizing that there is not just one way to teach the class or to facilitate a T-group. Your development as a T-group facilitator will involve learning what works best for you, in alignment with the approach to T-group facilitation we at Stanford are teaching, as well as the nuances of each faculty member’s approach.

Academic Year 2020-21: Facilitation & Reading Journals

Two Further Quarters of Facilitation: After the initial two quarters described above the training continues with two more quarters of facilitating with an experienced co-facilitator, preferably in the following one or two academic years. In these two quarters, trainees continue to be actively mentored, Trainees receive feedback from their clinic faculty after each quarter of facilitation, and are paid, at a training rate, per quarter.

Reading Journals: Every IDFTP Trainee is required to read journals of 6 students during the training period.

Successful completion of all training requirements (facilitating three quarters and reading journals of 6 students) qualifies trainees to join the pool of facilitators that supports the teaching of Interpersonal Dynamics at Stanford GSB on an ongoing basis.

Post-Training Opportunities

Successful completion of the program allows entrance into a larger learning community with a variety of opportunities to work and to continue learning.

Facilitating the Course

Twelve sections of Interpersonal Dynamics are taught in each academic year. These sections are staffed with IDFTP alumni who are paid. The advantage of training multiple times is that one begins to get a feel for the kinds of dynamics and phenomena that are common to all process groups and the kinds of events that may be unique to a particular group. When we experience familiar themes and dynamics coming around again, we tend to be more confident of the territory and have an opportunity to practice and refine our facilitation skills in those areas that recur in the life of most or all groups. (One senior T-group facilitator once said that it took about 60 groups before he felt like he really understood groups as a “living organism.”) Experienced facilitators regularly report good learning from continued facilitation.

Ongoing Development

T-groups are an incredibly rich learning laboratory and to help participants gain the most from the experience, it is important that facilitators have a deep understanding of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group processes (as well as a more complete understanding of one’s self). The initial training program can only provide a first cut at these dimensions. One of the exciting aspects of leading T-groups is that the experience provides continuous learning for the staff as well as the students. (We, the faculty who teach the class, have each trained 50 to 100 groups and are still learning new things about groups, about change and about ourselves.)

To support continuous learning for facilitators, we sponsor regular workshops and community sessions on a range of T-group related topics. Most sessions are offered to facilitators for free or for a minimal fee to cover costs.

In addition to continued development, these programs provide an opportunity to develop connections with other members of a community that shares similar values and goals.