When referring to a group, you must take into account the two great sets, in which they are divided: the operative groups and the psychotherapeutics. In this post, we’re talking about the first one and its specific characteristics.

According to Tubert-Oklander (1986, cit. by Zimerman & Osorio, 1997), an operative group is “a way of thinking and operating within groups, that can be applicable to the coordination of different types of groups.” As you see, it’s not easy to find a concrete definition of the notion, however, an operative group has, mandatorily, a very specific goal, and based on it I will introduce you to the following types of group, to better understand the concept.


Training Groups and Education

These groups are connected to teaching and learning and their founding goal is to learn.

They have many applications and they use their basis (learning) to teach their members, making them reflect and evolve in a positive and healthy way, through the specificity of what they learn.

T Groups (training group)

Introduced in 1949, the training groups (or basic skill training groups) had as their main goal turning the intra-group phenomena into a source of learning.

Reflection Groups

In the reflection groups, the main goal is to enable and develop in their participating members, the ability of thinking the group by the shared experience and the learning that has been established.


Institutional Groups

Groups formed inside companies and lead by an organizational psychologist, in view of promoting a work optimization and an increase of production inside the company.


Community Groups

This kind of group is formed in specific communities with the goal of promoting mental health. They are very specific and their goals widely change depending on the group in question.


Therapeutic Groups

This kind of group is formed according to its members’ pathology and it’s main goal is to control it. One of the most famous examples of this kind of group are the self-help groups.

There are plenty of them and they reach very different people, having experienced an amazing expansion in the field of medicine. In this case, the operative group provides a considerable psychotherapeutic benefit.


ZIMERMAN, David E., OSORIO, Luiz Carlos & Col. (1997). Como Trabalhamos com Grupos. (How to work with groups) Porto Alegre: Artes Médicas.


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