This three-day group relations conference offers a unique opportunity to study the conscious and unconscious dynamics involved in how groups organize themselves and interact with each other. This conference is not a passive learning event that relies upon lectures. Instead, the learning is experiential. Participants study how leadership, followership, authority, task, boundaries, and roles operate in the different group experiences they enter during the conference. The conference will weave art and other non-verbal forms of expression into the conference events to illuminate unconscious dynamics operating in the system of group interactions that members and staff will create together.
What is Group Relations?
Group relations conferences provide opportunities for the experiential learning of complex group dynamics. They are designed to help reveal some of the more hidden dynamics of power, authority, leadership, followership and the impact of our multiple identities such as gender, nationality and race on how we operate in the multiple systems to which we belong. Experientially, participants in these conferences often report “ah ha” moments that not only change the way they see the world, but also the way they behave within it (i.e., they often report feeling more empowered to effect change, increased clarity about their roles in life, among other transformations). These transformations occur through learning to practice awareness of “here and now” experience within the dynamics of small groups and large groups in relation to task, authority, roles, boundaries, and the exercise of leadership. Ultimately, participants see how large systems work and increasingly appreciate a growing set of behavioral choices for how they relate in the context of groups (family, school, work, local, national and international communities). In this way, group relations conferences translate conceptual classroom learning into a relational and experiential context.
One might think of these experiences as the social-and-behavioral-analogue-laboratory experiences to those more traditionally found in Physics and other natural sciences; they create a living learning laboratory whereby participants gain experience using the data of their intersubjective experience to make hypotheses and guide decisions and behavior in group settings that have real-world application (as healthcare workers, educators, program managers, business owners, etc.). These high quality, cutting edge experiential learning designs illuminate (in an embodied way) the often covert dynamics of groups relevant to navigating their work tasks in role, as well as the other often encountered organizational pressures.