The human being is a product of his relationships and interactions and these tend to form or occur within certain groups, of which the individual is a part and which allow his socialization. Throughout our lives, the groups we belong to are always changing and this change helps us adapt to new and different situations. We are integrated and belong into different groups, which interact with each other and help us form our personality. But after all, what is a group?
1. An entity with its own laws and specific mechanisms
A group is not a mere sum of the different individuals composing it. To be considered a group, these people must have common interests that shape them into a new entity, a group, with implicit rules.
2. Common Goal
The members of a group all have a common goal which should be achieved by the group entity.
The communication is important within a group and should be understood as its whole and its various aspects. Thus, the size of a group (therapeutic or not) must not exceed the limit, which would endanger the communication skills of its members.
4. Physical Environment
The group gathers around a certain physical space, which could be a formal institution, or some specific point in a neighborhood, for example. This space will allow them to define and delimit goals, schedules and even some of the rules or guidelines of said group.
5. The Group is a unit
The group behaves as a whole, giving its members a sense of belonging.
6. A unique and genuine identity
The group has its full identity, but each of the individuals has its own identity, personality and goals that are their own and may not be connected to the group at all. This reality should always be respected by the group.
7. Cohesion and disintegration
In every group, these two forces coexist and help maintain its balance.
8. Group dynamics
The dynamics of each group deals with two contradictory forces, which are struggling to find the balance, as referred in the previous point (no.7). These are, according to Bion (quoted by Zimerman & Osorio, 1997): the conscious intentionality and the influence of unconscious factors.
9. Affective Interaction
Group members interact with each other and the development of relationships and affectivity is inevitable, assuming the most varied and multiple ways.
10. Group Hierarchy
In any group there is a clear hierarchy, more or less explicit, which allows the distribution of the roles that each member will have within it.
11. Group Field
The group field develops (concept developed in The group field and its elements), and in it will most likely be inserted the respective fantasies, anxieties, defense mechanisms, among others, of the group and its members.
ZIMERMAN, David E., OSORIO, Luiz Carlos & Col. (1997). Como Trabalhamos com Grupos. (How to work with groups) Porto Alegre: Artes Médicas.