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March 23, 2010 9:40 PM   Subscribe

PsychologyFilter: Group dynamics courses. Where can I do something like this?

I was on vacation talking to a man from the Netherlands who, as part of his psychology degree, had taken a group dynamics class that sounded fascinating. It was a 12 week course, 4 hours a day, and all they did for the first half was interact, and then for the second two hours they broke down what happened during the first two, with the professor chiming in once and a while.

Are there similar classes to this at universities in the USA, or something like it I could do without being on track for an advanced degree?
posted by ropeladder to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like small group psychology, which I took as either a psych or sociology class at one time a long time ago in Wisconsin. You might be able to find a continuing ed/certification track somewhere. There are probably other names under which this sort of thing exists, undoubtedly.
posted by Ky at 10:06 PM on March 23, 2010

Something available to non-grad-students is family constellation therapy (not just about families).
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:20 PM on March 23, 2010

What your describe sounds like something similar to the Tavistock Institute programs -

I haven't participated in their program myself, but have heard them highly recommended from group practitioners.
posted by laurajo at 5:24 AM on March 24, 2010

ropeladder you do not have geographic information in your question or in your profile. If you google on psychology continuing education + my city there are 3000 hits. If you live near a large city you will have at least 100s hits and you just have to decide on your budget, your schedule, and your preferred therapeutic paradigm. There are dozens paradigms.

The ones that have worked best for me on interpersonal communications are:

1.) gestalt
2.) ericksonian hypnosis

I have not completed the complete set. There are other ways to approach this which are not explicitly psychology. I am looking at trying some Improv.

If the syllabus says you need to be a licensed therapist, do not assume you cannot talk your way in. I have done tens of workshops that were supposedly restricted to licensed therapists. This may depend on the accredidation tight assedness where you are.
posted by bukvich at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2010

Best answer: I think it's fairly common to incorporate in-class group activities into teaching group dynamics / psychology of small groups. I had a group dynamics class (in the US) that was taught this way, but it was less intensive. Classes were about two hours, and group activities made up about a quarter or a third of class time. The rest was mostly standard lecture format. The group activities are fun, it makes the material stick in your head, and helps you connect theories with real life.

Whether you can get into a group dynamics class depends on what your local university's policies are about non-degree-seeking students and what classes they let non-degree-seeking students take. Group dynamics would be a upper-level psych class mostly taken by majors. If it's restricted from non-majors or non-degree-seeking students, you might be able to permission from the instructor to take it.

In light of what some other comments have said, I'll add:

Group dynamics has almost nothing to do with therapy. It's part of social psychology, a research field within psychology that studies interactions between between people. Group dynamics deals with things like leadership and other roles within groups, communication, group decision-making, consensus formation and dissent. It's relevant to therapy only to the extent that the interaction between therapist and client is an interaction and group therapy involves groups. It is relevant to other things, like how committees, teams and informal groups (or, say, communities like MetaFilter) work and don't work.
posted by nangar at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2010

This was how my group dynamics course was run in graduate school.
posted by hworth at 10:03 PM on March 24, 2010

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