By Fiona McDermott
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Additional resources for Inside Group Work: A Guide to Reflective Practice
The group leader takes a somewhat non-interactive and distant stance which facilitates participants’ projections and fantasies. These often unconsciously derived projections are evident in transference and 44 THEORETICAL BASIS OF GROUP WORK counter-transference reactions. The group leader’s role is to offer interpretations which focus on these unconscious productions, enabling members’ anxieties and distortions to become visible and, in this way, assist the participant to gain insight into him/herself.
23 INSIDE GROUP WORK Getting started These brief introductions and accounts of their group work and participation give us a hint of the depth of knowledge and experience each person holds. For the most part, their purposes in forming or joining a group have arisen from personal experience and reflection, reinforced by their continued participation in the work of the group. Heather, for example, exemplifies the reflective practitioner, mining her knowledge base for different and more meaningful ways to meet the needs of her service users.
Why? How? ’ Criticisms of group work practice drawing on structural accounts of social and political relations refer to the absence of focus on individual problems, and a tendency to ignore the ‘inner workings’ of groups. One of the limitations of this approach might be that it fails to adequately encompass individuals’ thoughts, feelings and explanations about how they see themselves and how they manage their individual ‘problems in living’. This suggests that, in some situations—for example, where participants are confronting lifethreatening illness—this theoretical approach might not be the primary perspective underlying the group’s formation.