Experiences in Groups

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Experiences in Groups

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Experiences in Groups:

Experiences in Groups” is the name of a book published in 1961 by Wilfred Ruprecht Bion. It was important for the Encounter groups movement of the 1960s.

Work groups:

In this book, he assumed that to become an efficient, work-oriented group which is involved in defined activity is the normal, healthy goal of small groups of various sorts. He called these “work groups”.

He identified three main patterns of activity which interfered with achieving this goal. Groups which followed these forms of behaviour were called “basic assumption groups”.

Basic assumption groups:

Basic assumptions are unconscious processes which can be seen as a substitute for thinking.

The first, “Fight/Flight“, diverts the energy of the group into one of two directions: hostile reaction to what is perceived as an external threat or flight into protective isolation.

The second, “Pairing“, results in the breakdown of the group when pairs of individuals come into being. The energy that had previously been put into the group is diverted into the couple’s relationship.

The third, “Dependency“, is the attempt to escape into the subservience to a single leader.

These three patterns of activity can be a threat to intentional communities.

Further complications:

In addition to patterning our behaviour on basic assumptions, members of a group can further complicate personal and group interactions through the “crossed transactions” when the three roles of “Parent“, “Adult“, and “Child” postulated in Transactional Analysis get wrongly mixed.

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