Engaging with young people: a reflection on groupwork experiences in the light of Wilfred Bion’s early insights into group process.

Gillian Naylor


This article seeks to explore the work of Wilfred Bion in the early stages of his therapeutic explorations of the group process. Focusing on examples from his work in the 2nd World War, the author draws on 3 key themes which epitomise Bion’s thinking; striving for the leaderless group, relinquishing the leadership role and studying the group itself. These themes are then used to inform a reflection of the author’s experiences working with groups of young people who for a variety of reasons are reluctant to engage. Conclusions are drawn regarding the enduring relevance of Bion’s insights and the value that may be gleaned by stepping back from the leadership role and from ensuring that evaluation of group activity includes engaging with not just the ‘what‘, but also the ‘how‘ and ‘why‘ of the experience.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1921/gpwk.v27i2.1130


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