Group Relations Learning

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Group Relations Learning has a long history of development in the UK and rest of the world. It is something unique and special, that is new and fresh in China. It is to be seen as vital and important learning to anybody leading, managing and working in groups.



The History and Foundation of Group Relations Learning


In 1945, social scientists in the Tavistock Clinic in London came together around the issue of understanding group dynamics. Principal among these were Dr. Wilfred Bion, Dr. Pierre Turquet and Dr. A. Kenneth Rice. They were later joined by Dr. Eric Miller, who joined the Tavistock Institute staff in 1958. He and A.K. Rice worked together in developing the Institute's Group Relations Training Programme, including the Leicester Conference, which was first held in 1957. Eric was convinced of the value in enabling individuals to find authority within themselves; to question assumptions; and to extract themselves from irrational situations imposed by a group. When A.K. Rice died in 1969, Eric became the sole Director of the Institute's Group Relations Training Programme. Eric directed and developed the Programme successfully for many years.


From his position as the Director of the Group Relations Training Programme, Eric became highly influential throughout the world, being very active in the development of highly competent Group Relations consultants. For example, Dr. Shmuel Erlich in Israel, Dr. Laurence Gould in the US, and Dr. Alastair Bain in Australia, and others in Scandinavia. And supported the development of OFEK in Israel.


In 1988, Lionel Stapley attended his first Group Relations event at the Tavistock Institute and later attended the Leicester Training Group. In 1989, he completed an MSc in Organizational Development. Starting in 1990, he was supervised by Eric Miller when he commenced his Ph.D. research. During this period in 1989 and 1990, Lionel Stapley was invited to take up staff roles in the Leicester Conference. He completed his PhD in 1994 when he was appointed as the Director of OPUS (an Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society) where Eric was the Policy Adviser. He worked very closely with Eric and participated in several Group Relations events directed by Eric, who was at this time the unchallenged world guru in Group Relations. Dr. Stapley therefore had a unique and wonderful personal development in the field of Group Relations Learning.


Introduction to China


In 2014, Yujia ZHANG and Han LIU were working together and came to realize the benefits of Group Relations learning. Having attended the Leicester Conference in the UK and having experienced this learning, they planned to introduce it to China. In 2017, they attended an Advanced Training in London, where they met with Prof. Lionel Stapley and agreed that they would work together to create Group Relations China. Yujia and Han then co-founded Group Relations China, with Prof. Stapley as the Policy and Development Adviser. An essential aim is to develope high-quality consultancy and competent Chinese consultants to provide GR learning to Chinese people.