Working with and facilitating groups (CPD36)

Join our experts to enhance your skills and understanding of the development and dynamics of groups in different contexts

This course is aimed at staff from a range of disciplines and teams currently facilitating a group or with the aspiration to start and facilitate a group. It will provide an opportunity to develop and increase the skills and understanding of those who are already experienced group facilitators. It also provides an opportunity for those wishing to run a group, to learn how they might do this with others, sharing learning and experiences over the duration of the course.

Aims and learning objectives

By the end of the course, participants will have:

  • explored the practicalities of starting and continuing a group or reviewed their current group(s) and experiences, learning through experience with others
  • discussed different types of purpose for groups and their practical and clinical issues
  • considered the referral process, reviewed referrals to the group, the composition of the group, the importance of a group agreement and desired expectations
  • reflected on self and group boundaries, whether face to face or online
  • identified appropriate facilitation interventions that can maximise contributions within the group
  • explored key concepts such as the individual unconscious and the group unconscious when working with groups
  • gained an understanding of relevant therapeutic group theory, to use and reflect upon when working with groups
  • analysed group process through film and visual scenarios
  • examined difficulties that can arise when working with groups in person and online
  • experienced being in different groups
  • identified the need for evaluation and feedback from service users
  • understood the importance of regular supervision to review the group

Who is this course for?

Participants join us from the NHS, social care, local authorities, education and the voluntary and charity sectors. Typical roles can include:

  • art, music and drama psychotherapists
  • clinical psychologists
  • nurses and other medical professionals
  • occupational therapists
  • social work managers
  • social care, children and families NHS teams
  • headteachers and educational professionals

We will draw upon members’ rich experiences from across these varied settings and roles within the programme, to explore the development and dynamics of groups in different contexts.

Course details

2023/24 applications have now closed – please use the “register your interest” button to be kept updated on future opportunities to take this course.

2023/24 Cohort One: now fully booked

SessionsDateStart timeEnd time
Session 1/10Tuesday 19 September 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 2/10Tuesday 26 September 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 3/10Tuesday 3 October 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 4/10Tuesday 10 October 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 5/10Tuesday 17 October 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 6/10Tuesday 31 October 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 7/10Tuesday 7 November 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 8/10Tuesday 14 November 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 9/10Tuesday 21 November 20239.30am1.00pm
Session 10/10Tuesday 28 November 20239.30am1.00pm

2023/24 Cohort Two now fully booked

SessionsDateStart timeEnd time
Session 1/10Tuesday 16 January 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 2/10Tuesday 23 January 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 3/10Tuesday 30 January 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 4/10Tuesday 6 February 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 5/10Tuesday 20 February 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 6/10Tuesday 27 February 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 7/10Tuesday 5 March 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 8/10Tuesday 12 March 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 9/10Tuesday 19 March 20249.30am1.00pm
Session 10/10Tuesday 26 March 20249.30am1.00pm
Cohort 1

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.

This course will focus on thinking about group processes, the dynamics of groups at different stages of development, the position individuals can take up or find themselves allocated, consciously or unconsciously within the group, including that of the facilitator.

It will cover issues that facilitators of face-to-face or online groups need to consider:

  • the dynamic context in which the group takes place and the practicalities of planning, starting and continuing with a group
  • the group purpose
  • the composition of a group
  • the group facilitator’s role alone or with another
  • gender, race, sexuality and diversity
  • boundaries and group agreement and expectations
  • attendance
  • timings and venue

The programme will reflect upon multidisciplinary working within teams and groups of staff or service users/patients. The importance of setting up suitable group supervision before the group commences will be discussed.

The programme is divided into three strands:

  • theory, practicalities and group discussion
  • a work discussion session during which each participant has the opportunity to discuss their group or proposed group
  • participation in an experiential group, as a group member and with the help of a Group facilitator, study what is going on in the here and now of the group.

During the course, participants are expected to be in a private space, where they can engage with other participants and live course learning, without interruption for the duration of the session and with access to a device with a webcam that is turned on.

There is an expectation that participants will set aside sufficient time to read the designated course reading and other set weekly readings. These will be provided by our library and accessible, through an electronic platform called Moodle. This will require a minimum of two-and-a-half hours, set aside for reading each week. Participants will also have access to additional reading if they wish to further explore the areas discussed.

Library membership

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership to the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books.

Our information skills trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying), as well as various online resources including audio/video playlists.


“Good balance of taught/theoretical content and reading along with professional practice discussion and experiential group.”
“Very informative, good resources made available, interesting discussions and opportunity for personal and professional growth.”
“Very well thought out and applied. Format provides great ‘in and out’ of group experience.”
“Full of information both theoretical and experiential, a very high quality course – felt like opening Pandora’s box as there is so much more to learn/study/experience.”
“I will certainly take many aspects of learning back to work with me and it will inform my thinking and leadership style, when facilitating groups. Other colleagues of mine are already asking about the course and are interested in undertaking it.”
“I have attended trainings, courses and CPD at the Tavistock for nearly ten years and this has been the most satisfying ten weeks of all of them.”
“What did you enjoy most from the course? The experiential group, the opportunities for self-reflection and discussion, small groups discussions, learnt a lot, a great course. Having three different kinds of spaces within the day for both personal and professional learning and meeting such a diverse group of participants and learning from them.”
“This challenging, rewarding course brings together rich scholarship in the systems-psychodynamic tradition, the generous professional insight of the talented trainers, and the wealth of knowledge and experience brought to the topic by a diverse student cohort. Incorporating experiential learning with discussion, debate, and the opportunity to share case studies from one’s own work and practice, it is an excellent course for anyone who finds themselves working with groups and needing to attend to “what goes on within and between us”.”
“People complain about Zoom but I think it’s good to see how this kind of work can be done in virtual environments. I felt a strong rapport with staff and students alike, and part of the experience was the learning of how to cope with the different affordances which a digital space offers us. It’s the only reason I joined this course, actually – I was fascinated to see what “Zoom Tavistock” looked like, especially after 2 years of having to facilitate groups on video platforms in my own work. The technical wobbles became part of the learning.”

Course facilitators

Register your interest

Applications are now closed. Register your interest and be the first to hear when this course reopens.

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