Group Work Training Programme

Merchants Quay Ireland will be running a five-week Group Work training programme for people in the fields of addiction, homelessness, residential care, youth work, social care and more. This training programme is suited to those who are looking to develop or expand their group work skills and widen their knowledge base.

This training programme is an opportunity for individuals to gain an understanding of both conscious and unconscious processes and dynamics that permeate all groups. It will offer participants opportunities to reflect on their own experiences of and in groups and on their professional practice.  The programme will commence on 15th November 2019 – 13th December 2019 and will run for 5 weeks in total. It offers fifteen CPD points. This training is for anyone with a serious interest in and a deep curiosity about groups and working with them on either a paid or voluntary basis.

Title: Exploring the efficacy of group work as a medium for change in addiction settings

Course leader: Peter Kelly MSc Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Venue:  The Carmelite Centre, 56 Aungier St, D.2

Time: 10.00 a.m.—1 .00 p.m. 5 × weeks

Schedule: 5 × Friday mornings from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. commencing on Friday 15th November 2019—13th December 2019

Eligibility: This training is for anyone with a serious interest in the area of group work and who interacts in either a paid or voluntary capacity with people in a variety of professional settings.

Cost: €250.00. €50.00 non-refundable to secure your place on the programme   €200.00 on first day of the event

How to apply: Please download the course application form by clicking here. You can send the completed form to Peter at

Closing Date: Closing date for receipt of application forms is Friday 1st November  2019.


Aims of the Group Work Training are to:

  • Give participants a theoretical and practical understanding of group processes from interpersonal and relational perspectives and their linkages to addiction contexts
  • Explore the efficacy of group work as a treatment modality and vehicle for change in addiction settings
  • Reflect on the preconditions that facilitate the group work modality as an effective treatment approach.
  • Provide an understanding and experience of the conscious and unconscious, here-and-now processes at work in groups, and how these influence group behaviour and dynamics
  • Develop an awareness of the role of authority and power in groups in terms of the dynamics between group members and facilitators (transference and transparency) and how these get ‘played out’ in group interactions via managing conflict/hostility in groups.
  • Facilitate a learning experience whereby participants can integrate the theoretical, application, and process aspects of group work both from conscious and unconscious perspectives, but also from within the overall framework of addiction and its mechanisms
  • Reflect on the utility of group psychoeducation techniques i.e. RT/REBT in helping clients to use the group process to manage addiction symptoms

Learning Outcomes – On completion participants will:

  • Understand the rationale for group work from both relational and unconscious perspectives and its connection to addiction pathologies.
  • Appreciate the efficacy of group work as a treatment modality in terms of both strengths and challenges and be able to distinguish between process and task, styles of facilitation, and stages of group development
  • Recognise the therapeutic factors that make for a good group experience, the shaping of a helpful group culture, and the necessary decisions that are important when forming a group
  • Be more attuned to the role of transference and transparency in groups, authority and power, and how to engage these dynamics in terms of managing conflict and hostility in groups
  • Recognise and understand the range of emotional dynamics at play within the group especially the less obvious and hidden dynamics that are difficult to identify and name. These ‘here-and-now’ issues that can often be hard to recognise and get in the way of group/team cohesion and effectiveness
  • Be more aware of one’s own stance in groups, the characteristic role one adopts, and learn to ‘take up’ one’s role in a more conscious and mindful way
  • Have gained a competency in the use of group therapeutic factors i.e. psychoeducation/use of RT/REBT to enable clients to manage addiction symptoms, such as managing compulsions and urges, and dealing with ambivalence.


Group Work Training Programme Details:

15th November  2019 – 13th December 2019

Session 1: Introduction/Experience of Groups/Hopes/Fears/Task.

Theory: What is group work/Why group work/What is facilitation?

Process and Task, Styles of facilitation, Stages of Group.

Application Best Experience/Worst Experience         

Process Thinking about the here-and- now of this group


Session 2:Creating a Group Culture/Preparing for Group.

Theory Basic Task of the Facilitator

Session 2: Therapeutic Factors that make for a Good Group Experience.

Application Applying learning to my work                     

Process Thinking about the here-and-now of this group


Session 3: Transference and Transparency in Groups.

Theory: Exploring transference/transparency in group

Application Applying learning to my work

Process Thinking about the here-and now of this group


Session 4: Working in the here-and-now.

Theory: Group Experience of the here-and-now.

Application  How does this get played out in my work?

Process Thinking about the here-and-now of this group


Session 5: Dealing with Conflict/Hostility in Groups.

Theory Conflict/Hostility in a Group

Application How does this get played out in my work?

Session 5: Evaluation/Wind down/group discussion.

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