Disentangling dynamics: Group sensitivity and supervision

G. Winship, S. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In order to contextualize Altschul's interest in group dynamics we present a brief history of staff group work approaches in the UK and USA. Using case examples, the work of staff group sensitivity and group supervision is described. The difficulties of working in staff groups are highlighted and the antipathy towards group practice is discussed. It is argued that learning about conflict resolution in staff groups prepares nurses for dealing with conflicts in clinical practice. The case for re-invigorating interest in group theory and practice is presented. In presenting our reflections on staff group work, we hope not only to re-kindle the type of interest in groups that inspired Altschul but also to represent the case that it is ill conceived to attempt the work of mental health nursing without recourse to the supervisory resources of group theory, practice and support. It is through group feedback that mental health nurses and other health professionals can extend their learning about interpersonal relations, achieve quality standardization through peer feedback and reflect on practice in truly collaborative ways (Schon 1983).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2001


  • Group dynamics
  • Sensitivity
  • Staff support
  • Supervision groups

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