Tavistock

Generally in the Tavistock or English group relations model a "temporary institution" is formed, often over a weekend, sometimes longer. . . A clear structure is provided, within which there is a great deal of freedom. It is the task of the members of the group to study the group itself, attempting to learn about the group's own process. Issues such as authority, power, control, leadership, intergroup activity, boundary management, etc. emerge in the course of the group's life and it is possible for hypotheses to be formulated and tested. Sometimes special issues are examined; gender, interprofessional relationships, communication difficulties, etc. . . The range of possible applications of the method is very broad.


Maybe someone here knows, is there a Tavistock Model for Dummies
My understanding is that Tavistock groups are by their nature very anxiety-provoking for the participants
Usually Group Relations Conferences are temporary institutions which are established: 1) over a specified period of time; 2) with a clear structure, lines of authority, schedule, etc.; 3) with a clear task. Well! We're already pretty different. No time definitions, VERY unclear structure and lines of authority & no schedule at all.
Say -- does this remind anyone else of a Tavistock conference?
It substantially started the "Tavistock approach" and the Training Group (T-Group) movement, and thus bears a good bit of the blame for encounter groups.
...I'd never heard of Tavistock models before, perhaps they were some type of plastic building kit popular in America, I thought
No one has posted a decent description of the Tavistock model,
I wonder if this is one of those "you-only-get-it-when-you-don't-get-it" kind of Zen therapy things where we "touch the essence" of the group experience and then get to lord it over others because we know something ineffable.
In traditional group relations work which has grown out of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London (usually affiliated with the A.K. Rice organization in the USA), there is a clear structure which includes well defined roles for consultation. Maybe some background will be helpful?
In the first place, this work is generally done pretty intensively, in a specified period of time - a weekend wth people commuting usually, sometimes 10 days in a residential setting.
Roles are carefully defined. There are "members", small group consultants, large group consultants, a director, a research team and a team which takes care of household things (food, arrangements, space, etc.) -- I'm blocking on this team's proper name (a history to that).
There is a clear schedule and things begin and end on time. Events generally alternate between activities which take place in the large group -- 60-75 people; and in the small group -- usually 8-10 people.
The point of group relations conferences is generally something like "We have come together to form a temporary institution in order to study its process with special attention to issues of power and authority." Sometimes they are specialized with a focus on such things as gender, medical care, race, etc.
I don't know about anyone else, but the stated purpose never manages to stay in my head. It seems so simple, but it just doesn't stick. I think other people have that trouble too -- that it's not just me. Anyone else?
I've just looked for a group relations conference announcement to quote but can't find one just now, will post this when one turns up. Maybe someone else has one?
I think the reason it is hard to "hold onto" these ideas is probably the same reason we find it hard to "hold onto" the basic assumption and other Bion & Tavi ideas. It would be interesting to try to understand what this is about.
With the background in place, what is the role of the consultants.? Their job is to try to foster the learning of the members. There are particular ways they make comments, usually not to individual members, but to the group as a whole -- whether large or small. Large group consultants consult to the large gatherings. Small group consultants consult to the smaller ones.
There is a sort of formulaic response, not strictly adhered to. . . .eg., "The group is concerned with boundary issues." Members usually (at first) find it quite difficult to make use of what the consultants say, though once you get the hang of it, there begins to be some sense and quite a lot of usefulness.
This is one of those events where you walk into a room with chairs in a circle and someone sitting there who doesn't make eye contact and doesn't say anything. Eventually someone can't stand the silence and breaks the ice and the group is off and running. Content isn't defined in by the consultant, though the consultant will try to help the group keep a focus on the "work."
For instance, the deadpan face of the ftf consultant in a Tavistock conference generally is seen as being harsh and distant by some small group members, while others discern warmth. As the conference progresses, it becomes abundantly obvious that what is going on is projection, based more on the speaker than the observed consultant.
despite the explanation of Tavistock-type methodologies here and available elsewhere, I, for one, don't yet comprehend why Tavistock is holding our interest here.
By the way, Tavistock conferences aren't set up to allow/encourage people to "go crazy" and then study that process.
Well, when I win the lottery it's you and I--and Ron and Marvin--hell everbody--off to the Tavistock Institute in Merry Ole England. We'll learn to our heart's content, visit Bob and do silly tourist stuff as well.
I originally thought it would be a gas to do Tavistock by email, but fairly early on realized it was too _much_ like a gas: unbounded and amorphous. I share your wish, and a modicum of your disappointment, that we could have tried it here.
Is it possible that we have actually learned something here? That we now know that in order to study group process on the internet (or anywhere else ) it is necessary to have a STRUCTURE which takes into account authority, boundary management, etc. and an authorized system of guidance (eg. consultancy).
I think the label "Tavistock" was useful at first, but may be confining now
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