Using Groups to Help People

Using Groups to Help People

Using Groups to Help People

Using Groups to Help People


This new edition of Using Groups to Help People has been written with the interests, needs, and concerns of group therapists and group workers in mind. It is designed to help practitioners to plan and conduct therapeutic groups of diverse kinds, and it presents frameworks to assist practitioners to understand and judge how to respond to the unique situations which arise during group sessions.It deals with such issues as:* Choosing groups formats and structures to match the needs and capabilities if different populations of people* Observing and listening to groups, and making sense of what one sees and hears.* Problem situations, and how they can be turned into opportunities why, how and when to intervene in a group.* Events which can occur in therapeutic groups which cannot occur in individual psychotherapy, and implications for the therapist uses and misuses of theory when planning and conducting groups* Planning and conducting research on one's own groups and those of colleagues.This practical, up-to-date, and readable book will prove valuable to all those involved in making use of small face-to-face groups to benefit their members.It takes into account new developments in the field during the past fifteen years, including new writing and the author's further experiences and thinking during this time.


When I was invited to prepare a second edition of Using Groups to Help People I asked myself the following questions: (a) What have I done or experienced or given special thought to in the past fifteen years which would warrant a second edition? (2) What has happened in the field during this same period which should be referred to and discussed? (c) in what ways ought a second edition therefore to differ from the first one?

In answer to the first question: every year for the past fifteen years I have participated as a member of staff in courses at the University of York about therapeutic groups, which have been attended by people who are currently engaged in practice. the members of the course are psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and others. They work in diverse settings, with different populations of people, using different group structures and various leadership approaches. Some of the course members have had previous training in group psychotherapy or group work, but most of them have not. the course includes lectures and experiential groups. Time is also set aside for course members to share their experiences with one another and with staff, to examine episodes of practice, and to plan learning opportunities for themselves. Although I had taught about therapeutic groups for many years before this, it had been at postgraduate level with people with little or no practice experience. This past fifteen years' teaching has helped me to learn about a wider range of groups than those which I have worked with previously, and has put me in closer touch with the concerns and interests of practitioners, and with what they want to learn about.

During the past fifteen years I have also been engaged in 'learning programmes' for experienced practitioners and first-line managers, which helped participants to plan and conduct small-scale pieces of research on issues of special interest to them arising from their own work activity. the work done with participants on these programmes made evident the practical value of conducting research into issues arising in and from one's work, and moreover demonstrated that it is feasible to conduct such research whilst remaining engaged in the work itself.

During this same time I have found myself increasingly interested in connections between theory and practice. This interest goes back a long way, ever since I realised that group focal conflict theory and Ezriel's thinking about groups have much in

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