Can an individual get lost in a group? An exploration of group theory and its application in the context of wider society

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Dobosz, Katarzyna
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this research was to investigate group dynamics that may arise at a Travistock-style group relations conference. An attempt has been made to explore the experiences of the individual member and interpersonal dynamics in a small and large study groups. The aim of the research was to identify whether individuality is compromised when an individual participates in a group. The research looked at unconscious processes that guide the dynamic of both small and large groups. The question of whether or not an individual loses oneself in a group was explored, taking into account Bion’s basic assumptions theory and further group assumptions made by subsequent theorists. The research identified that two opposite group assumptions may arise. Turquet’s basic assumption Oneness suggests that an individual merges with the group in a situation that denies differentiation of the members at an emotional level. Lawrence, Bain and Gould suggested otherwise – that basic assumption Me-ness prevents the formation of the group in an attempt to preserve the member’s individuality. These two opposing ideas were applied in the context of understanding the dynamics of modern society and the rise of nationalism.