What is a Group?

What is a group? 

Dictionary Definition – a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. “a group of boys approached”


The definition of a group has been debated for many years and each person has their own definition of a group. Some people may think a group is simply a gathering of people, while others may feel it is a social group or individual identity. 

Mills described a group as, “The significance of collectivities like families, friendship circles, and tribes and clans has been long recognized, but it is really only in the last century or so that groups were studied scientifically and theory developed (Mills 1967: 3).”

What makes a Group, how does a group become a team?

What make s a good team?

It’s easy to praise teamwork, but not every group is a team.

to make a group a team you must move away from the thou


The process of “I” and start to think as “We” and start to think as a collective. the power of this collective thinking can be used to solve problems, generate solutions,  the powerful influence that social dynamics in a real team can exert on the behavior and performance of its members.

So what makes a team different from a group? A team is a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common goal and work collaboratively to achieve this.

Key Points of working together are:-

  • Collaborative work
  • Mutual commitment from all members

Collaborative Work – By going beyond mere cooperation and coordination, collective work produces more innovative and productive outcomes.

Mutual commitment –  members hold themselves and each other jointly accountable for the team’s performance. They not only think and act collectively, but the social and emotional bonds among them are compelling.

“We” – the potent concept behind every team, will succeed or fail together, and that no individual can succeed while the team fails.

What breaks up a team or makes it weak?

There are many reason teams fail or do not work to their full potential, below is a collection of research from Bernard Marr (https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=990) that has been collected that shows some key insights to why team sometimes fail:-

Ego. When someone’s ego is more important than the team, the project, or the goal, things break down quickly. This can happen when one person is more interested in “looking good” for the boss than getting the work done, when someone is always placing blame, or when someone feels and acts like they are too good to do the necessary work.

Poor communication. When the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, it causes all sorts of problems: duplicate work, forgotten work, missed deadlines, etc. Communication is absolutely key to a team that works.

Unreasonable expectations. As a member of a team, nothing feels worse than the sinking feeling of knowing that you will never reach your targets, no matter how hard you work.  Goals that are a stretch and require a lot of the team are good, but goals that are way out of reach are depressing. It won’t make employees work harder; it will make them want to give up.

Half-hearted work. Having one or more member of the team who only puts in half an effort — showing up late, leaving early, checking email all day, etc. — has a decidedly negative impact on the whole team. It’s important that everyone is putting in a full, equal effort.

Stubbornness. When members of a team adopt a “my way or the highway” approach, no one benefits. When working in a team, everyone needs to be open to new ideas, new approaches, and experimentation — even, and perhaps especially, the leader. Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it.



I believe these areas are what breaks teams down, also not mentioned was Emotional areas. I believe when some people get to emotionally invested in a project it can sometimes hinder decision making and delegation of tasks.

the above picture is a saying that ways come to my mind when doing group work. Alone a single stick can be broken, but many sticks together working a group/team become nearly unbreakable as they are working at 1 unit.

Teamwork is a lot like this, the collaborative process of working together needs every member to work together to achieve the total goal and that goal is easier together.

Roles within a group

Within many groups, there are various roles that people fall into inherently.

Peter Honey and Alan Mumford Pioneered these roles and they are used in many models today and I personally use them in my paddlesport coaching. (resources.eln.io/honey-and-mumford-learning-styles/)  or (Learning Styles, Peter Honey, and Alan Mumford,1986)

In a coaching and management philosophy, people fall into 4 categories these are as follows:-

  • Activists are people who learn by doing. They like to involve themselves in new experiences, and will ‘try anything once’. They tend to act first and consider the consequences afterward.
  • Reflectors learn by observing and thinking about what happened. They may avoid leaping in and prefer to watch from the sidelines.  Prefer to stand back and view experiences from a number of different perspectives, collecting data and taking the time to work towards an appropriate conclusion.
  • Theorists like to understand the theory behind the actions. They need models, concepts, and facts in order to engage in the learning process. Prefer to analyze and synthesize, drawing new information into a systematic and logical ‘theory’.
  • Pragmatists need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice in the real world. Abstract concepts and games are of limited use unless they can see a way to put the ideas into action in their lives. Experimenters, trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work.

Each person will subconsciously fall into one of these roles and anyone that has been in a group before will understand looking back ho did the work and who sat back and look at it with an open mind.

Art Therapy Groups

The Art therapy groups aim to give people a safe and supportive space, in which they can come together and be creative, explore issues and share thoughts and feelings in both a verbal and non-verbal way.

Through the use of art, the therapist will facilitate people to express their feelings and address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing and that are often very difficult to talk about.

building this trust in critical as stated above for the team to work, without a good team structure, mental attitude, and willingness, the team will appear as “I” instead of “We”. Each person will be doing their own work in a safe environment but the overarching feeling will be a relaxed group who are comfortable to express themselves.


as I have spoken about above each person in the group will take up a different role and how this is acted out will show in the final result in each person artwork. It is important to give each person space to talk in a therapy group as while they are all creating together each are individual and all have different live circumstances that brought them to this group.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s