This chapter will focus on group dynamics and their relevance in understanding the relationships of people with learning disabilities. A group is defined by Barnes et al. (1999) as simply a collection of people who come together with a common aim. Once this boundary is created then the group becomes distinct from the non-group. Groups can have any chosen aim and the dynamics created by groups are evident in all groups, whether formal or informal. The first part of this chapter will explore some of the theories that have had a major influence on the understanding of group dynamics. The second part of the chapter will aim to explore the processes that can occur in the development and running of formal therapeutic groups. Finally, less formal group situations will be considered. Through discussing friendships and relationships that can develop within a group home the chapter will aim to explore how group dynamics can help understand difficulties that people with learning disabilities might experience in such informal relationships.
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