Creative Advances in Groupwork

Edited by Anna Cheshner and Herb Hahn.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1 85302 953 x

This is an edited collection, which begins with the promise of
an “organic” book, developed by means of group dialogue between the

The book covers an intriguing range of topics, including
playback theatre, social dreaming, sociodrama, psycho-political
analysis, deep ecology and “alchemical” transformation, all viewed
through the lens of groupwork. The contributors are trainers,
consultants and analysts, drawing mainly from psychoanalytical

One of the most enlightening passages comes from Angela Eden’s
recommendation that trainers should “invent a consultancy dialect
[which is] near enough to the clients’ language to be understood,
but different enough to create attention”. This guideline reflects
the central dilemma in the book – that much of the dialect is not
quite “near enough” and many group workers will find the language
too distant to engage with.

The book is at its best when it is outward looking and not
self-referential, and when the focus is less on the “I” of the
author of the chapter and more on the “we” of the groups.

Mark Doel is professor of social work and head of the
school of social work and RNIB rehabilitation studies, University
of Central England.

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