Working More Creatively with Groups

Working More Creatively with Groups

Working More Creatively with Groups

Working More Creatively with Groups


This text presents the basic knowledge required to set up and work with a group. It looks at how to plan and lead a group successfully and how to intervene skillfully.


How to plan the group

The importance of planning cannot be emphasized enough—as our traditional folk wisdom shows. Foresight and organization are the basis of many of our favourite proverbs: ‘Look before you leap’, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, and so on.

Yet despite the abundance and richness of these traditional insights many groups still fail to get off the ground or splutter into anonymity after a few sessions, due simply to the fact that not enough attention was given, before the group even started, to its planning and organization. There are many reasons for this. From time to time, I still come across the ‘it’ll be all right on the day’ types or the leaders who believe that planning the group is manipulative or will detract from the involvement of members. Even some who do conscientiously try to organize their thinking about their reasons and purposes for using groupwork, often generate goals and objectives for a group that are unrealistic or grandiose. Much of the conflict and hostility which can then ensue in those groups is simply a product of the leaders’ resentment and frustration with members who won’t seem to ‘work’, and members’ anger and confusion about the discrepancy between what they are capable of, or willing to do, and what is expected of them.

Before we go on to look at some procedures for planning the group let me say a bit more about why it is important to plan.

Why plan a group?

Whatever their ages, interests, or concerns, individual members come to the group with their own perception of what they want, or do not want from the experience. As the group develops, a common perception of need or interest emerges, which may or may not be

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