We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of talking with experts about the difficulties we sometimes face in life, and how such conversations can help us to overcome these difficulties, or at least make them more manageable for us.
Perhaps you’ll be interested to learn that the same principles apply to groups of people as they do to individuals. There are many reasons why a group might not be functioning well, and there are many consequences for the group itself as well of course as for the individuals within it. The field is often referred to as “group dynamics”, and it’s a vast topic!
Different experts will have slightly different views on the reasons that a group might not “work” (for all or some members), but most agree that there are some very common traits:
- internal competition – some degree of competition is healthy, and creates a stimulating working environment. Too much, however, and it can become toxic and lead to internal divisions
- extreme loyalty – it sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it, but if people are too loyal to a group they may ignore its shortcomings for fear of disapproval
- lack of recognition – people then feel under-valued, that their contribution is insignificant, and they begin to work less hard … prolonging and strengthening the negative cycle
- negative attitude – people’s moods and the way they communicate can have a large impact on other people’s moods and behaviours
All of these can lead to conflict, which can be very destructive. Examples might be people damaging the reputation of others, and trying to recruit support. This escalates, people react to what they see as an attack, and the situation worsens: group cohesion is severely compromised.
What do we mean by a group?
Quite literally, it’s any collection of people, formal or informal. It could be a work team, but equally it could be a family, room-mates, a club of some description, anything in fact.
So what are the benefits of group therapy?
They are numerous, and can be broken down as follows:
- it helps you realise that you are not alone
- it facilitates giving and receiving support
- it helps you find your own “voice” in the group
- it provides a sounding board
- it helps you relate to others (and yourself) in healthier ways
- it teaches you about yourself
- it promotes social skills
- it propels you forward
- it provides a safety net
Many people find that group therapy is more enriching than individual therapy. People learn that they have things in common with others that they didn’t realise, and empathy and understanding can be built: “sharing is healing”
It may take a little time, and be a little uncomfortable at first, but honest, open, respectful dialogue – however insurmountable the problems may seem at first – can certainly help to recreate a healthy and fulfilling group environment that is a pleasure to be a part of.
Group psychology in London
All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.
If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:
by phone 07797 952 950
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or via our contact page Group psychology in London
Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.
In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!